Media Releases | 27th Oct, 2016

Local environment groups recognised at 2016 Community Environment Awards

Last night Environment Victoria recognised the achievements of nine remarkable community groups and individuals from around the state for their outstanding contribution to our environment.

The 2016 Community Environment Recognition Award recipients are all leaders in their communities. They have led innovative and persistent grassroots campaigns to protect nature, tackle global warming and stand up for the places they love, often with very limited resources.
Those recognised were:

Lisa Nichols, Emma Peppler and Jennifer Trewhella for their fantastic pro bono legal work at both Hazelwood Mine Fire Inquires. Their contribution helped give a voice to public interest, achieving major improvements to coal mine rehabilitation standards, including significant increases to rehabilitation bonds.

Lighter Footprints for effectively demonstrating support for climate action in Melbourne’s eastern suburbs over several years. Before the federal election they secured a promise from the Liberal, Green and Labor party candidates to sit down together over a cup of tea and talk about developing a credible national climate policy.

MLDRIN, Murray Lower Darling Rivers Indigenous Nations for being strong advocates for protecting the Murray and Lower Darling rivers and wetlands, and successfully making the case for the establishment of cultural water entitlements.

Lock the Gate Victoria for running an extraordinary grassroots campaign which was successful in achieving a ban on unconventional gas projects and fracking in Victoria.

Latrobe Valley Sustainability Group for consistently and courageously speaking up for the need for a future beyond coal in coal communities in the Latrobe Valley, and for working for a cleaner, safer and more sustainable future.

Climate Guardians for using stunning Angel imagery and quiet dignity to raise awareness about the urgent need for climate action and a just transition away from fossil fuels. The Climate Guardians made an extraordinary media impact at the critical Paris #COP21 climate talks.

WHAM8, Western Highway Alternative Mindsets8 for drawing public awareness to the clearing of 900 giant native trees by VicRoads during the Western Highway duplication – VicRoads later apologised for accidentally clearing more trees than intended.

Friends of Merri Creek for bringing life back to the Merri Creek. 40 years ago the Merri Creek valley was neglected and abandoned. Government engineering agencies planned to concrete line the creek, build a new overhead power line and construct a freeway from Craigieburn to Clifton Hill. Community groups and local councils got active in developing a plan to bring life back to the Merri Creek and Friends of Merri Creek was formed in 1988.

Environment Victoria election campaign volunteers for building community support for strong climate and environment policies in key areas for the 2016 federal election. They did this by having 4500 face to face conversations with local voters about the environment, making 3500 phone calls and getting 2814 pledges from local people to vote to protect their environment at the election.

Environment Victoria CEO, Mark Wakeham said:

“These environmental champions are inspiring examples of community groups and individuals all over Victoria working tirelessly to protect nature and stop global warming.

“Strong community voices have been fundamental to every major environmental outcome ever achieved in Victoria.

“Speaking up for our environment can be a challenging and relentless task, so it’s a pleasure to be able to recognise the amazing work of these groups and individuals.

“Environment Victoria thanks them, and the many other local groups and individuals across the state for the hard work they do in providing a voice for nature.”

Biographies and photos of the winners are available from Cameron Wheatley on 9341 8107

For media comment, contact:

Mark Wakeham, Environment Victoria CEO,

0439 700 501