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2015 Premier's Sustainability Awards winners and finalists

The winners and finalists were announced at a gala dinner at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre on Thursday 5 November 2015, view a photo gallery from the event.

Premier's Award

Charles Hollingworth, Becher Townshend (Expanded Polystyrene Australia), Minister Steven Miles, Brodie Smith, Shane Gee, Jacob Welch, Warren Issac (Teys Australia)

Charles Hollingworth, Becher Townshend (Expanded Polystyrene Australia), Minister Steven Miles, Brodie Smith, Shane Gee, Jacob Welch, Warren Issac (Teys Australia)

Winner

Teys Australia – Major multi-site renewable energy development and waste water upgrade

Teys Australia, the country’s second largest red meat processor, is working to dramatically reduce its carbon footprint with two new state-of-the-art wastewater treatment systems.

The company’s Beenleigh and Rockhampton facilities feature these systems, which will reduce annual carbon dioxide emissions by 72,000 tonnes—equal to taking 24,000 cars off Queensland roads each year.

These wastewater systems will also deliver a combined reduction in natural gas and coal that is equal to the amount of natural gas used by about 900 Australian homes each year.

Minister's Award for Leadership in Sustainability

David O'Brien (Glencore), Alby Wooler (Junior Landcare) and Minister Steven Miles

David O'Brien (Glencore), Alby Wooler (Junior Landcare) and Minister Steven Miles

Winner

Alby Wooler - Capricorn Coast Junior Landcare Program

Alby Wooler is President of the Capricorn Coast Landcare Group. In 1992, he established the Junior Landcare group to encourage young people to participate in local sustainability, resource efficiency and conservation activities.

Alby established a Passport Program to formalise Junior Landcare activities, reward participants and encourage others to become involved.

Junior Landcarers earn Passport stamps for participating in activities such as Clean Up Australia Day and National Tree Day. After collecting all passport stamps and spending at least 10 hours engaged in activities, participants earn a Capricorn Coast Landcare Badge of Honour and a year's membership.

Finalist

James Brockhurst – The Good Guys

The Good Guys Capalaba continues to take big steps in reducing its carbon footprint by applying a quadruple bottom line effect and aiming to become Australia’s first zero waste business.

The strong emphasis on sustainable business practices has seen waste reduce by 90% since 2006.

An in-store polystyrene recycling program shreds and chips all of the store’s polystyrene waste to make coat hangers and picture frames. This reduces approximately five tonnes of waste from landfill annually.

In 2010, James pioneered an ‘industry first’ program through the Boys Town’s GreenWorks program to provide the opportunity for local youths to complete a Certificate Two in Transport and Logistics. This involved collecting unwanted white goods from customers of The Good Guys Capalaba, which were then disassembled and recycled.

Finalist

Dr Kathy Townsend – The University of Queensland’s Turtles in Trouble project

The University of Queensland's Moreton Bay Research Station's ‘Turtles in Trouble’ project brings together a multidisciplinary research team of experts to determine global and local threats to sea turtle populations from marine debris.

The team, led by Dr Kathy Townsend, uses innovative modelling to determine how drifting objects are affected by ocean currents.

This world-first program helps to better understand where, and how, debris is distributed in the marine environment and how this debris interacts with Australia's sea turtles.

The methodology is now being adapted by many researchers and management bodies outside of Australia and has been used in numerous awareness campaigns since 2007.

Built Environment Award

Neil Harrocks (CitySmart) and Robert McVicker (The Vicker Ridge)

Neil Harrocks (CitySmart) and Robert McVicker (The Vicker Ridge)

Winner

Robert McVicker – The Vicker Ridge

The Vicker Ridge is an owner-built high performance sustainable home in Logan Village.

It achieved Net Positive status in a recent sustainable building performance test by exporting more electricity than it used, and harvesting more rainwater than it consumed.

All wastewater is treated on site without chemicals and reused, making the building one of the most modern-looking, truly sustainable homes in Queensland.

Finalist

Lendlease Building – Kings Gate

Kings Gate is the first commercial building constructed in Brisbane’s new RNA Showgrounds precinct as part of an urban regeneration project on the fringe of the CBD.

The precinct comprises 17 residential towers and five commercial office buildings.

Kings Gate has been awarded a Six Star Green Office Design Rating by the Green Building Council of Australia.

It is also one of the first commercial buildings to have achieved this rating without the provision of either onsite gas-fired cogeneration or a blackwater system.

Finalist

Healthy Waterways – Living Waterways

Living Waterways is a best practice environmental management approach that helps practitioners and government deliver enduring and affordable outdoor spaces that engage the surrounding communities.

The Living Waterways approach has been developed to support water-sensitive urban design by encouraging and incentivising design solutions that embody the natural, historical and cultural elements of a site. They promote interaction with water to inspire, promote adventure and discovery, and to educate visitors about the delicate nature of our ecosystems.

Business Eco-efficiency Award

Warren Issac, Brodie Smith, Minister Steven Miles, Shane Gee, Charlie Foxall (Carlton & United Breweries), Jacob Welch and Charles Hollingworth (Teys Australia)

Warren Issac, Brodie Smith, Minister Steven Miles, Shane Gee, Charlie Foxall (Carlton & United Breweries), Jacob Welch and Charles Hollingworth (Teys Australia)

Winner

Teys Australia – Major multi-site renewable energy development and waste water upgrade

Teys Australia, the country’s second largest red meat processor, is working to dramatically reduce its carbon footprint with two new state-of-the-art waste water treatment systems.

The company’s Beenleigh and Rockhampton facilities feature these systems, which will reduce annual carbon dioxide emissions by 72,000 tonnes—equal to taking 24,000 cars off Queensland roads each year.

These wastewater systems will also deliver a combined reduction in natural gas and coal that is equal to the amount of natural gas used by about 900 Australian homes each year.

Finalist

Mater Misericordiae Health Services Brisbane – Sustainability at Mater

The Mater began its outstanding journey to environmental sustainability in 2012 and now in 2015 its green principles and achievements are obvious wherever you look.

Whether it be duplex printing, saving more than seven and a half million pages since 2010; installing 24 rain water tanks holding 315,000 litres of water; securing bike parking; installing LED lighting in clinical areas; delivering a successful ‘Turn it Off' initiative to encourage staff to turn off lights and electrical appliances when not in use; or providing cups and jugs saving 500,000 bottles a year, The Mater’s environmental values translate into tangible results.

The environment is built into The Mater’s strategic plan, and staff communication and engagement campaigns help embed environmental sustainability thinking into everyday business practices, making dramatic savings in energy, waste and water.

Overall The Mater has 151 initiatives across major themes of energy, water, waste, procurement, facilities design, stakeholder engagement and transport.

Finalist

Sirromet Winery – Sirromet’s Environmentally Sustainable Wine Production Program

From the beginning, Mount Cotton wine-maker Sirromet has been employing environmentally responsible practices throughout its operation.

The company is the first Australian wine maker to release a wine domestically for retail sale in PET bottles. This uses Diamond Clear Technology to retain the premium quality of the wine. The new plastic bottles use less energy than glass, are shatter proof and 100% recyclable.

Sirromet also treats and reuses for irrigation all wastewater from the winery, restaurant and cellar door operations, treats rainwater for use in operations, and treats and uses dam water for non-potable uses.

Revegetation programs are undertaken with around 35 acres of tree plantings in varying stages of growth. All solid/biodegradable organic waste is treated and reused at the Sirromet worm and composting farms.

Sirromet Wines has fitted 800 photovoltaic solar panels, each rated at 250 watts, to the roofs of the two largest buildings at the winery. This 200-kilowatt system will reduce Sirromet’s annual carbon footprint by more than 400 tonnes.

Community Award

Rhondda Alexander (Queensland Water & Land Carers) and  Don Parry (Nambour Rugby Union Club)

Rhondda Alexander (Queensland Water & Land Carers) and Don Parry (Nambour Rugby Union Club)

Winner

Nambour Rugby Union Football Club Inc. – Giving our old landfill a second chance

The Nambour Rugby Union Football Club has created an organically-certified sporting oval on top of an old landfill, and is lighting the field using energy saving LED lights.

The LED lighting has created a 281% improvement in energy productivity, with the system now running for just over $4 per hour. LED fluorescents are used for club house and security lighting.

The club minimises its chemical and fertiliser run off, mulches gardens, uses rainwater tanks, recycles and sells aluminium drink can waste, and uses instant gas for hot water for player showers.

Finalist

Bulimba State School – Tangalooma EcoMarine Program

The EcoMarine project is a partnership between Bulimba State School and Tangalooma Island Resort formed to inspire and motivate students, teachers, parents and the community to care for local waterways and marine life.

EcoMarine Ambassadors and support crew are recruited from the school’s fourth grade, and undertake a mission to ‘Save the Bay’.

Students spend 12 months engaged in activities designed to enhance the school community's appreciation for the environment including reducing use of plastics, recycling and cleaning the waterways of Moreton Bay.

Finalist

Tony Sharp – Substation33

Substation33 is a not-for-profit social enterprise initiative based in Logan that offers a safe and supported work environment for work for the dole participants, special needs youth, and at risk community members.

The community recycling centre accepts electronic waste from the local community, council and businesses.

Last year approximately 100 tonnes of e-waste was diverted from landfill creating more than 9,000 hours of paid employment.

Innovation in Sustainable Technologies Award

Minister Steven Miles, Tim Rose (Southern Oil Refinery),  Karen Fitzgibbon (Chamber of Commerce & Industry Queensland)

Minister Steven Miles, Tim Rose (Southern Oil Refinery), Karen Fitzgibbon (Chamber of Commerce & Industry Queensland)

Winner

Southern Oil Refining – Northern Oil Refinery

The $65 million Northern Oil Refinery at Yarwun, near Gladstone, opened in March last year as the first facility in Queensland that recycles waste lubricating oil back into base lubricating oil for reuse.

It is the most advanced re-refining plant of its kind, and uses ‘cradle to cradle’ treatment of oil to ensure it is kept in productive use, lowering carbon emissions and delivering improved oil security.

The plant can handle 100 million litres of waste oil a year, meaning all of Queensland's annual waste lubricating oil production can be processed through Gladstone, underwriting a new industry and local jobs.

Finalist

Renewable Energy Solutions Australia– VoltLogic

VoltLogic is an automated, intelligent hardware and software technology that integrates battery storage, energy consumption and connection to the national electricity grid.

It delivers energy management and power storage in a way previously not possible or available in the present market.

Customers are able to store excess energy at times of low demand and export to the grid for use at times of peak demand.

This typically increases self-use of renewable energy from 20% to 80% or more, with a corresponding improvement in the financial viability of the system.

Finalist

UnitingCare Health – St. Stephens Private Hospital, Hervey Bay

St Stephen's 96 bed private hospital is UnitingCare Health's newest facility, and Australia's first fully integrated digital hospital.

It’s is an excellent example of how environmentally sustainable principles facilities have been incorporated in the building design, features and functionality of a modern medical facility.

The $96 million, 21st century health facility is flexible, incorporates new technologies and delivers the best value for patients, organisation, community and environment.

Rural Award

Charles Burke (Agforce), Jamie Gordon (Mt Pleasant Station), Minister Steven Miles

Charles Burke (Agforce), Jamie Gordon (Mt Pleasant Station), Minister Steven Miles

Winner

Mt Pleasant Station—purpose driven not profit driven

Mt Pleasant Station straddles the Bogie River west of Bowen and uses sustainable grazing practices to improve soil quality and pasture condition.

Controlled grazing, through high rotation, intensive cell systems, has allowed Mt Pleasant Station to restore D condition land back to A and B conditions while maintaining ground cover at 100 per cent and with 30 per cent residual at the end of the dry season.

It has allowed more efficient water and nutrient cycling systems resulting in better ground cover, less water run off, and less cross travel of water. Native grasses – Golden Beard, Black Spear, Queensland Blue Grass, Kangaroo Grass and Forrest Mitchell are returning again thanks to cell grazing.

When cell grazing was first introduced, 80 per cent of the pasture was Indian Couch and ground cover levels were, at best, 60 percent. Today, only 45 to 50 per cent of pasture is Indian Couch, and more than 90 per cent ground cover is maintained.

Finalist

Gerard Puglisi—a sustainable future for the Australian sugarcane and cocoa industries

Gerard Puglisi is a fourth generation sugarcane farmer from Mossman in Far North Queensland. His family has been farming for almost 100 years and currently farms 188 hectares of sugarcane and two hectares of cocoa.

Gerard and his wife have recently diversified into Sweet Farm Tours—an Australian-first tourist venture combining the cocoa and sugarcane experience for farm visitors keen to learn more about innovative farming practices.

Cocoa and coffee are grown in areas on his property that are unproductive for sugarcane and used to produce high quality chocolate and boutique coffee.

Gerard’s innovative 'Generation Next' program, aims to share his knowledge and entice young farmers into a career in sustainable agriculture.

Finalist

Tony Bugeja – Cane operation Mackay

Brothers Tony and John Bugeja are second generation cane farmers in the Mackay Whitsunday region. They were among the first to sign up to, and be accredited in Smartcane BMP, the sugarcane industry’s best management practice program.

They were also the first in the cane industry to electromagnetically map their property to identify variations in soil. Together with soil testing, which is GPS plotted and entered into a data keeping system, the information is used to target the right mix of inputs directly to the parts of the paddock that need it most.

Nutrient applications are applied directly to the root zone where the cane grows and nothing is applied to the inter-row area.

GPS technology also regulates water flow during herbicide application on the 460-hectare family cane farming operation.

Small Business Award

Di Farmer MP, Minister Steven Miles, Michelle and Emily Coelli (Twisted Gum Wines)

Di Farmer MP, Minister Steven Miles, Michelle and Emily Coelli (Twisted Gum Wines)

Winner

Twisted Gum Wines – Sustainable dry land vineyard

Twisted Gum Wines near Ballendean has introduced a unique and innovative sustainable vineyard management system.

This involved growing the vines in small blocks surrounded by native forest, without using irrigation, maintaining a permanent grass sward between rows, and spreading large amounts of mulch under vines.

The system means there is no need for insecticides, and reduced chemical fertilisers, fungicides and herbicides.

Energy requirements are reduced; there are improved water flows in the river system, reduced greenhouse gases, and improvements in biodiversity.

Finalist

Natural Evolution – Processing waste green bananas into a superfood

Rob Watkins was one of many banana farmers frustrated at throwing away his farm grown bananas because they didn't meet supermarket specifications.

Rob found a solution for the tonnes of wasted green bananas, and in the process has created a superfood, with his green banana flour. The flour is becoming increasingly popular in western paleo and vegan diets.

Natural Evolution has grown from producing six kilograms of flour a week to a burgeoning enterprise now employing four full-time staff in the world’s first pharmaceutical-grade green banana processing plant.

Cold room panels stabilise the temperature, and the main building’s pitched roof captures maximum daylight hours, allowing it to run entirely by solar power.

Finalist

Buyequip–eWaste recycling

Buyequip collects electronic waste from businesses and organisations throughout Queensland, and gives it a new life through recycling or upgrading for reuse.

Most equipment collected by Buyequip would otherwise be sent to landfill or put directly into the recycling system.

For equipment that has reached the end of its life, Buyequip has entered into two innovative partnerships with social enterprises to achieve best practice environmental outcomes, as well as meaningful work for marginalised community members.

Sustainability in Education Award

Prof. Tim Smith (University of the Sunshine Coast), staff and parents from Hilder Road State School, Minister Steven Miles

Prof. Tim Smith (University of the Sunshine Coast), staff and parents from Hilder Road State School, Minister Steven Miles

Winner

Hilder Road State School – The Fish Creek Project

Over the past two years, the Hilder Road State School community in Brisbane’s The Gap has united to clear, replant and restore a section of Fish Creek, which borders the school.

However, the true innovation of The Fish Creek Project is in developing and launching a ground-breaking online environmental education resource that strengthens Australian Curriculum delivery.

Students joined with hundreds of locals, community champions and environmental organisations to create this unique website that has been central to class work.

The student’s commitment to sustainability is clear in other projects—food is grown for the tuckshop, trees have been established for shade and wildlife and landscaping and drainage enhances the school environment.

Finalist

Tinana State School – Encouraging environmentally sustainable practices

Tinana is a Five Star Cleaner Greener School, with a strong school-wide sustainability ethos and real commitment to reducing its environmental footprint.

Students are leading environmental programs that are greatly reducing energy, waste, and water use while increasing biodiversity in the school-grounds and local community.

Initiatives include solar-power systems, energy-efficient fans in the school’s large hall, an energy curriculum, energy wise behaviours, time-controlled irrigation on the oval, six water tanks for rain water collection , and installation of water-saving bathroom fixtures.

Tinana’s Waste Warriors Squad and Tinana Nude Food Shakers undertake waste audits, encourage environmentally friendly lunches, hold clean-up days, and harvest from a bush tucker garden

Finalist

North Keppel Island Environmental Education Centre – Modelling sustainability

The North Keppel Island Environmental Education Centre caters for schools from all over Queensland, with a focus on sustainability principles and ‘living lightly’.

The centre is totally self-sufficient in electricity, water and waste water management.

Its island location in a national park on Queensland’s Great Barrier Reef is unique, and very popular for biology, zoology and marine studies field trips.

Many not-for-profit community groups access the centre to learn and share their environmental focus with the centre staff and each other.

Sustainable Heritage Award

Prof. Peter Coaldrake (Queensland Heritage Council)

Prof. Peter Coaldrake (Queensland Heritage Council)

Winner

Hanworth House – Extensive restoration of Hanworth House

Hanworth House is one of Brisbane's oldest residences, built in 1864 for the settlement’s first Port Master. For more than a century, the residence accommodated women in need.

The 19 bedroom heritage-listed house was purchased by Marisa Vecchio in 2012. Ms Vecchio began initial renovations soon after, however nearly 80 per cent of the home was destroyed by fire later that year.

After a massive fundraising drive, extensive restoration recommenced in late 2013.

The colonial mansion re-opened its doors for its 150th anniversary on 16 July 2014 with a vision to provide boutique accommodation and re-establish its important place in Queensland’s past.

Finalist

PDT Architects – St Paul’s Tower Conservation – Stage 1

PDT Architects’ restoration and conservation works to the stone masonry of the 125 year old St Paul's Presbyterian Church Tower are continuing.

The project aims to restore the masonry of the upper bell tower, while conserving the original stone in place to protect the authenticity of the building materials. Restoration works also include repairing lead flashing, cleaning stonework, re-pointing, mortaring and crack repairs.

The church is of special significance to the architectural heritage of Brisbane as it is one of the remaining buildings of the colonial architect, F.D.G. Stanley.

Finalist

Mackay Regional Council – Refurbishment of the former Pioneer Shire Council building

In 2014, the Australian Government and Mackay Regional Council announced the refurbishment of Mackay’s deteriorating former Pioneer Shire Council Building as part of the $18 million city centre revitalisation project.

The heritage-listed building, constructed in 1935, is a beautiful example of the architecture of that era.

The art deco building has now been refurbished inside and out, and forms the centrepiece of a newly formed inner-city park in Mackay.

Restoration works ensured significant elements of the original building were appropriately preserved and new details such as doors, ceilings and lights were replaced or restored.

Young Achiever's Award

Dr Bronwyn Harch (Queensland University of Technology)

Dr Bronwyn Harch (Queensland University of Technology)

Winner

Bindi Irwin – Australia Zoo Wildlife Warriors

Conservationist and television presenter Bindi Irwin uses her film and television roles, conservation work and social media posts to reach millions of people with her conservation message.

Bindi is an ambassador for the Australia Zoo Wildlife Warriors, a charity organisation founded in 2002 by her parents, Steve and Terri Irwin.

As an ambassador for the charity, Bindi uses her influential position to educate others to protect wildlife and wild places through sustainable, eco-conscious lifestyle choices.

Australia Zoo Wildlife Warriors supports multiple wildlife conservation projects in Australia and around the world.

From Australia to Africa, beyond to the Asian rainforests and the oceans in between, Wildlife Warriors support conservation projects that aim to protect some of our most threatened plants and animals.

Finalist

Isabel Dow – Stow it – don’t throw it!

13 year old Isabel Dow is teaching her peers how to ‘Stow it and Not Throw It’ by recycling disused tennis ball containers into collection containers for fishing enthusiasts to recycle discarded fishing line, hooks and sinkers. This minimises the impact of fishing line injuries on marine life.

Isabel has also been a Joey Ambassador for Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital for seven years and has raised more than $30,000 through fun runs and triathlons for sea turtles treated at the Animal Hospital.

She was recently awarded second place in an International Award for Eco-Heroes and donated the prize money to the Wildlife Hospital.

Finalist

Jacob Welch –Beenleigh wastewater system upgrade

Over the last three years, environmental officer Jacob Welch has been involved in the design, construction and commissioning of a state of the art $12 million wastewater system and renewable energy project at Teys Australia’s Beenleigh facility.

The wastewater system delivers significantly better water quality along with renewable biogas energy.

The amount of renewable energy generated on site is equivalent to the natural gas consumption of 423 homes per annum. The project will also reduce the facility’s carbon emissions by 33,100 tonnes per year.

Jacob’s team has delivered resource efficiency projects resulting in a 40% saving in water, 43% reduction in use of natural gas, and six% reduction in energy use.

Last updated
17 November 2016