Climate Summit for Local Government

Sept 6-8, 2023 | Melbourne

Sorell Council's climate and sustainability commitments

Sorell Council is part of the Cities Power Partnership, Australia's largest network of councils leading the way to a sustainable future

  • Member since 2022
  • Population 16,230

Our journey

Sorell Council is a diverse local government organisation responsible for delivering a range of services for our fast growing community of more than 16,700 residents. Established in 1821, we are one of Tasmania’s oldest communities. Located just 25 kilometres from Hobart in the south-east of Tasmania, our community covers 583 square kilometres of beautiful rolling countryside, low forested hills and the long coastline of the spectacular southern beaches. Our community strongly values our natural open spaces, clean environment and stunning beaches. The Sorell Municipality attracts people with its affordable housing and close proximity to services and the city. We remain firmly as one of Tasmania’s fastest-growing Municipalities, with recent population growth exceeding state averages.

Our Strategic Plan 2019 – 2029 identifies the main priorities and objectives for the future of our community, including Responsible Stewardship and a Sustainable Organisation, and Ensuring a Liveable and Inclusive Community. Our Strategic Plan specifically identifies that success in our objectives will deliver outcomes including sound Natural Resource Management, maintaining the ‘Community, Coast and Country’ lifestyle, and sustainable access to our natural environment.

What Council has achieved in the past in energy efficiency, renewable energy, sustainable transport or broader sustainability

Council has made sound headway into being more energy efficient. We participated in a bulk replacement program to change our residential street lights over to more efficient LED lights. Approximately 530 lights were replaced across the Municipality, with the majority in Sorell and Midway Point. The old lights were dismantled and recycled. Furthermore, we upgraded the internal lights in our main office building to LED lights. Council utilised a recycled asphalt product called Reconophalt in the resurfacing of the Sorell Park and Ride facility. Soft plastics from approximately 252,000 plastic bags and packaging, 93,000 glass bottle equivalents, 5,700 used printer and toner cartridges and 32 tonnes of recycled asphalt were used in this project. We also participated in a demonstration project with six other Tasmanian Councils to increase the use of recycled crumb rubber on local road resurfacing projects in a partnership between local road specialists Fulton Hogan and Tyre Stewardship Australia. A segment of Sugarloaf Road was resurfaced using this material which helped divert more than 1240 end-of-life truck tyres from landfill and mixed with the equivalent of 40,000 recycled glass bottles to produce crumb rubber asphalt in the projects across Tasmania.

Sorell Council also continues to advocate for the Government to invest in greater levels of public transport into our Municipality. An increase in bus services was implemented several years ago from continued lobbying over many years. We’ve constructed and subsequently upgraded the Sorell Park and Ride facility, gained a commitment from the State Government to construct a facility at Midway Point and are lobbying for a facility in the Southern Beaches area to make public transport more widely and easily accessible for our community. A dedicated special item recycling facility was established in our Offices last year. This facility provides our community with a place to recycle small items that are recyclable but are not included in kerbside collection. It diverts materials containing heavy metals from landfill and helps support the circular economy. Council has received funding to promote disaster risk reduction in our Southern Beaches coastal communities. This stormwater project will help deliver safer coastal living in this area by safeguarding erosion prone dunes, remediating already eroded dunes and by providing safe stormwater services. This three year project will deliver a range of improvements and benefits for our local community and environment. Furthermore, our NRM Officer runs targeted projects in our community in collaboration with local environment and volunteer groups.

What Council hopes to achieve in the future in energy efficiency, renewable energy, sustainable transport or broader sustainability

Sorell Council values the opportunity to take the next steps towards a more sustainable future. We hope to educate our community about the effects of climate change and build their resilience to adapting to its impacts, especially in our coastal region. Council is developing a Weeds Strategy, several Reserve Management Plans, and an Environmental Sustainability Policy to guide our actions in these areas.

Further actions include:

  • Introduce a food and organics (FOGO) domestic waste collection service to divert waste from landfill.
  • Establishing climate change KPIs and targets.

What Council hopes to gain from being a member of the Cities Power Partnership

Sorell Council joined the Cities Power Partnership in 2022 to make a commitment to climate change. The Cities Power Partnership will provide us with important opportunities to share knowledge and experiences with other Councils to networking and work cooperatively to achieve outcomes.

Council hopes it will enable us to access opportunities to gain the tools, knowledge and connections to take more meaningful action on climate change within our limited budget and resources. We want to understand more about climate change and its impacts, to help us make informed and sustainable decisions to effect change.

Join now and be part of the groundswell of local governments and communities across Australia tackling climate change.