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Sustainability at Council

Cowarra Dam Water Drop

Sustainability can be defined as the ability to maintain healthy environmental, social and economic systems to meet the needs of the present without compromising the needs of future generations.

Port Macquarie-Hastings Council understands that sustainability and looking after our environment is important to our community and we are working hard to enhance, manage and maintain our natural resources by supporting biodiversity, planning for the future including an expanding population and pursuing innovative and ecologically sustainable approaches for community living.

Renewable energy

In October 2017, Council adopted a Long Term Energy Strategy, seeking to be a leader in renewable energy and sustainable practices.  The strategy aims to responsibly plan for and manage our long term energy requirements and to date Council have:

  • Completed an upgrade of over 5,000 street lights to LED across the region;
  • Implemented LED lighting across Council's operational facilities such as the Port Macquarie and Wauchope depots, Cowarra Dam and Port Macquarie Dog Pound;
  • Installed variable speed drive units as energy saving devices within existing Council pump facilities; and
  • Installed solar PV units on Council buildings including the Library, the Glasshouse and some Community Halls.


The Port Macquarie-Hastings local government area (LGA) is a wonderfully biodiverse area and its biological assets are highly valued by the community. They contribute to the cultural, lifestyle, aesthetic and recreational identity of our region. The importance of biodiversity to the local economy (e.g. property prices, tourism, agriculture, silviculture) is also highly valued and recognised.

 A major part of sustainability is environmental stewardship and Council has developed a Biodiversity Strategy to guide and enable strategic growth and development while conserving biodiversity values by:

  • Identifying biological priority areas in LGA;
  • Identifying islands/patches of contiguous vegetation and where the key habitat linkages and connections are between this vegetation;
  • Identifying threats to biodiversity;
  • Defining Actions to protect priority areas and reduce threats; and
  • Providing strategic direction and information to guide investment on private and public lands in a voluntary manner.


Council provides a number of waste services & has a Waste Management Strategy that focuses on:

  • Food waste diversion
  • Improving commercial participation in waste diversion
  • Construction & demolition waste disposal & recycling options
  • opportunities for council controlled operations & council generated waste
  • Strategic consideration of councils waste assets & infrastructure
  • Waste education

Council partners with a number of waste collection and recovery providers and they processed:

  • 8500 tonnes of recycling from domestic premises, plus commercial recycling and Kempsey domestic
  • 13,000 tonnes of domestic organics, plus drop off woody waste, biosolids and Kempsey organics (over 30,000 in total)
Other contracts include  collection and processing of tyres, scrap metal, mattresses, e-waste, mulching, bin cleaning and hazardous materials


Council is constantly reviewing future water supply needs and available resources; a detailed 30-year capital works program has been developed to meet anticipated water supply needs. All of these investigations and planning activities involve the basic concepts of both the affordable and sustainable development of our natural resources.

Council is part of the Choose tap Coalition which aims to promote the benefits of drinking tap water as part of a healthy lifestyle and as a positive alternative to bottled water. With over 30 water refill stations installed in parks, public spaces and walking tracks across the Hastings, it is now getting easier for residents and visitors to refill water bottles, supporting the move away from buying bottled water.

Reclaimed Water

Council's Reclaimed Water Treatment Plant provides a valuable, renewable water resource that lessens demand on our drinking water supplies.  Reclaimed water is used by Council and approved businesses for:

  • irrigation and watering of public parks, open space areas, sporting fields, bowling greens, nurseries etc.
  • toilet flushing
  • vehicle washing and detailing
  • commercial laundry washing (subject to satisfactory system performance for health requirements).


 Wastewater1MB pdf(PDF, 1MB) from residential, commercial and industrial properties is collected via a network of pipes and pumping stations, and sent to a Wastewater Treatment Plant (WwTP) in the Hastings area. At the treatment plant, wastewater passes through a number of processes where it is screened, cleaned and treated to separate the solids and the liquids and to remove pollutants. Once cleaned and disinfected, the treated effluent is released back into the environment or recycled for non-drinking purposes. 

  • 8,000 mega litres of sewage is collected and treated annually
  • Over 8,000 tonnes of biosolids is removed & composted with green waste for beneficial reuse

Recycling & reuse in construction


When the road pavement has reached end of life performance, road rehabilitation works may be considered. This requires the removal of the existing surface pavement and replacement with new pavement.

Old practices would see pavement material sent to land fill which would have cost our community in the region of $450,000. Instead, the non-performing pavement is removed, processed, and distributed on our unsealed road network.

On average we recycle half of the existing pavement. The bottom half is incorporated with new material consistent with required standards and improved with the addition of other agents such as lime, bitumen and cement.

Conducting stabilisation works instead of complete pavement reconstruction generally reduces the construction works time substantially i.e. previously a four week works program will take 1-2 weeks.

Crushed concrete is used as an alternative to nonrenewable, quarried materials. Crushed concrete has been used as a road construction material on some of our local roads. Materials such as concrete box culverts, footpaths and kerbs are mechanically crushed at Carincross Waste Facility and blended into a graded material that is ideal for re-sheeting roads.

Council trialled the use of crushed brick and concrete as an additional alternate & sustainable base course material beneath the constructed hardstand on the Wauchope Transfer Station Upgrade Project.

Council use recycled rubber in our road resealing programme across the network both in spray seals and in asphalt, especially at problematic sites.

Council have recently trialled the use of recycled glass as a foundation material beneath the newly installed concrete hardstand, driveways and kerb and gutter installed at the Wauchope Transfer Station.

The trial involved the installation of approximately 66 Tonnes of recycled glass in concrete pavement works and in lieu of traditional natural crushed rock aggregate.

Council has a Reclaimed Water Treatment Plant which provides a valuable, renewable water resource that lessens demand on our drinking water supplies.

Council uses reclaimed water at Wayne Richards Park, Regional Sports Stadium, Findlay Park and Dixie Park, Stuart Park, Woods Street, Town Green, Historic Cemetery Gardens and the Gordon Street Gardens.

This page was last updated on: 19 June 2019