The Central Highlands town of Blackwater has been awarded the first ever 5-star Tidy Towns rating in the Keep Queensland Beautiful accreditation program.
Blackwater is placed at the heart of the region and grew from just a whistle stop on a railway line to Queensland’s coal capital.
According to Keep Queensland Beautiful, a tidy town is more than just a beautiful town or a tidy community. It’s a community that works together to achieve maximum results to enhance and protect the natural environment, build community spirit, and implement sustainable practices and programs.
Blackwater scored highly across all nine focus areas of environmental innovation and protection, heritage and culture, community spirit, litter action, resource recovery, waste management, water conservation and energy efficiency.
Central Highlands Regional Council Mayor Kerry Hayes said the award is an endorsement of the town of Blackwater as a community that has shown great resilience with a willingness to build on its strengths.
‘Whilst Blackwater is recognised predominantly as a resource community, this award and its criteria show that is has plenty to offer and cares about its future,’ he said.
‘The five-star rating is the result of council’s and the community’s passion about where they live.
‘Credit must go to council’s hardworking staff in Blackwater for their dedication to their work and special projects.’
A range of projects and initiatives that resulted in a reduced environmental footprint have contributed to Blackwater’s win.
An upgrade to the local water treatment plant increased efficiency of pumps and reduced power use, LED lights and motion sensors on public buildings improved power use and the multi-award-winning Blackwater Aquatic Centre boasts solar power, bio-filtration technology and rainwater harvesting tanks.
On a strategic level council got on board with changes in the waste industry with the Waste Reduction and Recycling Plan and staff championed the ABC’s War on Waste campaign, focusing on single-use coffee cups.
‘We want all our towns and localities across the Central Highlands to provide better liveability and encourage inclusiveness and Blackwater’s win is a testimony that our work is succeeding,’ the mayor said.
Keep Australia Beautiful (Queensland) Chief Executive Officer David Curtin said council has undertaken major upgrades to key infrastructure that have resulted in a reduced footprint on the environment.
He said council’s projects not only improve facilities, and enhance resident and visitor experiences, they reduce our footprint and build self-sufficient facilities.
‘Initiatives like these, and so many more, are why Blackwater has been awarded the first 5-star Queensland Tidy Towns accreditation.’