Sustainability Levy

almost 8 years ago

The local environment consistently rates as one of the most important features of the City for residents. Access to the lake, coastline, and bushland provides people with an opportunity to enhance health and wellbeing through outdoor activity and enjoyment of our wildlife and natural places.

During development of the 10 Year Community Plan in 2008, community feedback rated Caring for the Environment as the most important of Council’s focus areas. The need for additional funds to deliver environmental programs was identified, as the previous Lake Levy which had been in place for 10 years was due to expire. Council sought and was granted a special variation, which has come to be known as the Sustainability Levy. It was introduced in 2009 to fund environmental projects, including continuation of lake water quality improvement works. The Levy expires in 2014.


The local environment consistently rates as one of the most important features of the City for residents. Access to the lake, coastline, and bushland provides people with an opportunity to enhance health and wellbeing through outdoor activity and enjoyment of our wildlife and natural places.

During development of the 10 Year Community Plan in 2008, community feedback rated Caring for the Environment as the most important of Council's focus areas. The need for additional funds to deliver environmental programs was identified, as the previous Lake Levy which had been in place for 10 years was due to expire.

Council sought and was granted a special variation, which has come to be known as the Sustainability Levy. It was introduced in 2009 to fund environmental projects, including continuation of lake water quality improvement works. The Levy expires in 2014.

What happens under each funding option when the Levy finishes in 2014?

All three funding options include the Sustainability Levy in 2012-2014. As Council intends to continue with its Caring for the Environment programs, it proposes to increase rate income across the 7-year period to enable these works to continue beyond 2014. This increase in rate income is incorporated in Options 2 and 3, but not in Option 1.

Under Option 1, the Levy funding for environmental works and programs stops in 2014/15. This will also be the case if Council's application for a rate increase is not approved by IPART.

Under Options 2 and 3, rate increases for the 7-year period will provide additional income to continue Council's current environmental programs beyond 2014. The expiring variation becomes part of the general rate base beyond 2014/15.

What has been achieved with the Levy?

Key achievements include:

  • 26 on-ground works projects completed to improve lake water quality
  • Clean Up Lake Macquarie collected 28 tonnes of rubbish over 86 sites with 7,146 volunteers
  • Residents were assisted in saving money, including a 3.9% reduction in citywide electricity use in 2009-2010, and an overall saving to the community of $6M through access to rebates and other programs
  • Award winning climate change adaptation program delivered, including the E-shorance web tool to assess the response of the lake foreshore to predicted sea level rise
  • Inaugural Living Smart Festival attracted 8,000 people
  • Waste to landfill reduced by 23% per capita, and commercial recycling increased by 38%
  • 18 sustainable neighbourhood groups established

What is planned for the next 7 years?

In the next 7 years we intend to continue work to:

  • Maintain and improve lake water quality through construction and maintenance of over 70 on-ground works projects
  • Complete over 20 works projects to reduce energy and water consumption in Council and community facilities.
  • Develop local area adaptation plans for all foreshore areas affected by fl ooding and sea level rise
  • Expand our sustainable neighbourhoods program to provide an opportunity for neighbourhoods in the City to work with Council to improve their local environment
  • Continue to support residents and businesses to save money at home and at work through programs to reduce waste generation and resource consumption

Consultation has concluded