Media Releases | 27th Oct, 2023

Environment Victoria’s community environment awards recognise local activists achievements

Last night in Melbourne, Environment Victoria recognised the achievements of six remarkable community groups and individuals for their outstanding contribution to the environment over the past twelve months.

The 2023 Community Environment Awards recipients have all done remarkable work in their communities, leading groundbreaking and impactful campaigns to protect nature and diversify the environment movement, working with very limited resources.

We are delighted and proud to recognise the remarkable achievements of the following groups: 

Campaign Impact Award  

Victorian Forests  Alliance (for the campaign to stop all native logging in Victoria) 

The Victorian Forest Alliance (VFA) was established in October 2021 bringing together 39 existing and well-established grassroots forest groups actively protecting native forests across Victoria. VFA brings together decades of experience and is in a unique position to work with local communities, member orgs, ENGO’s, scientists and Traditional Owners running grassroots campaigns.

“The Victorian Forest Alliance is so grateful to be receiving the Community Environment award from Environment Victoria. It acknowledges the dedication, power, and passion of our 39 grass-roots members groups, who have worked very hard, some for over 40 years, to see the protection of native forests from logging,” said LVA Campaign Manager Chris Schuringa.

“The state government’s announcement to wind up most native forest logging by the end of this year would not have been possible without the incredible work of legal teams, citizen science, and community groups taking action to hold VicForests accountable to the law. We are forever grateful for all you have done to protect these precious forests.”

Individual award 

Tracey Anton (Co-founder of Friends of Latrobe Water)

Tracey Anton lives on a farm at Toongabbie in Latrobe Valley and is secretary for Friends of Latrobe Water (FLoW), a community advocacy group formed to protect the Latrobe River basin and connected waterways and Gippsland Lakes.

FLOW seeks to facilitate a positive post-coal mining legacy for future social and economic prosperity of the region. FLoW networks with multiple groups in broader Gippsland and across southern Victoria to lift the profile of Latrobe River taking the fight to our policy makers to improve waterway health and that of our environment.  

“This award is an acknowledgement that Friends of Latrobe Water and our local networks are making a difference to call out poor planning and bad decisions by the government. I enjoy sharing knowledge as an informed community is more powerful by taking the fight up to those willing to trade the environment and human health for corporate profits,” said Tracey Anton.

Innovation Award

Sapna – South Asian Climate Solidarity  

Sapna is a climate justice collective in the South Asian diaspora in Australia. Sapna means a dream in many South Asian languages. It stands for our vision for climate solutions grounded in justice and the hope of a climate movement that includes stories from South Asia. 

The world needs a rapid transition away from fossil fuels and a transition to clean renewable energy. However, this is just half the story of climate justice. The other half of the climate justice story lies beyond the singular narratives of ‘stopping coal’ and ‘starting renewables’. The other half is about creating a just future. Sapna tells the other half of the climate justice story with a focus on South Asian communities. 

“South Asia is one of the world’s most climate vulnerable places. Rural, and nature-dependent-livelihood-based communities including Indigenous groups, accounting for 65% of the South Asian population, are particularly vulnerable to climate change. Connecting with a large and growing South Asian diaspora, Sapna tells interconnected stories of climate vulnerability and just solutions from Australia and South Asia and advocates for global climate justice” said Dr. Ruchira Talukdar, Co-Founder and Director Sapna South Asian Climate Solidarity.

Special Award 

EVSEV (Environment Victoria South East Volunteers) 

Environment Victoria South East Volunteers (EVSEV) formed with support from Environment Victoria in 2013 as a local climate change group in Melbourne’s south east suburbs.The group has met regularly throughout its first decade with the aim of doing one action per month. Their campaign is based on community outreach – having presence through street stalls and markets to build and maintain strong community networks, as well as building relationships with all levels of government representing all political parties.

“The Getting off Gas Campaign provided an opportunity to reconnect with our community post Covid, to discuss the more harmful sides of a fuel that had been promoted as natural, and a relatively clean burning fossil fuel by the industry,” said group member Bruce Betts.

Group Award  

SOPEC (Southern Ocean Protection Embassy Collective: Gunditjmara First Nations People’s Ocean defenders)

SOPEC have been staunchly fighting to stop seismic blasting of Sea Country. Gunditjmara-led group SOPEC have been staunch in their resistance to seismic blasting of Sea Country and the destruction of whale songlines.


James Norman, Media and Content Manager

Ph: 0451291775