30 November 2018, Melbourne: National environmental not-for-profit, Greening Australia, with their partners and supporters has won three prestigious Banksia Sustainability Awards overnight, including the Minister’s Award for the Environment for their program to improve water quality on the Great Barrier Reef.
The top award in the Large Business category went to Officeworks in partnership with Greening Australia, and also to Bank Australia in partnership with Greening Australia and Trust for Nature. The Banksia Sustainability Awards were presented at a gala ceremony in Melbourne last night.
Greening Australia CEO, Brendan Foran said the awards are an outstanding achievement and recognise the tremendous effort of the organisation’s staff, volunteers, partners and supporters.
“It is a huge honour to have received three Banksia Sustainability Awards. Greening Australia works to implement innovative, practical solutions to some of our biggest environmental challenges in ways that benefit people and nature now and in the future. These awards are a real acknowledgement that we are actively bringing our vision to life.”
“These projects would not be possible without the combined efforts of our staff, partners and volunteers, which include local landholders, traditional owners, government and conservation groups. On behalf of Greening Australia, I would like to extend our sincere gratitude to everyone who has contributed to winning these awards,” he said.
The University of Tasmania in partnership with Greening Australia were also finalists for an Academia and Research Award.
The Banksia Sustainability Awards, now in their 30th year, recognise outstanding sustainability initiatives across Australia. This year’s awards were aligned for the first time with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Minister’s Award for the Environment – Reef Aid
The Minister’s Award for the Environment recognises Australians for their commitment and work to protect and manage the health of the Great Barrier Reef, focusing on projects that have used partnerships and collaborations to deliver superior results.
Greening Australia’s Reef Aid program, which launched in 2016, is working with landholders and partners across key catchments to improve water quality on the Great Barrier Reef by rebuilding eroding gullies and restoring vital coastal wetlands.
Just two years in, Reef Aid is already achieving significant results, with a trial at Strathalbyn Station in the Burdekin Catchment reducing sediment loads by 97%. By 2030, Greening Australia aims to restore 2,000 hectares of eroding gullies to prevent 200,000 tonnes of sediment from polluting the reef every year.
Brendan Foran, CEO of Greening Australia, said: “Next to climate change, poor water quality is the greatest threat to the future of our Great Barrier Reef. We already sequester huge amounts of carbon through our tree-planting activities and Reef Aid is the most practical, effective and immediate action we can take to ensure the reef’s long-term health and to build its resilience to the impacts of climate change.”
Large Business Award – Bank Australia: Reimagining the Future
The 927-hectare Bank Australia Conservation Reserve in Victoria’s Wimmera region provides habitat for a diversity of native plants and animals including 13 threatened species like the South-eastern Red-tailed Black-cockatoo. In 2017, Bank Australia developed a new ten-year conservation strategy for the reserve in partnership with Greening Australia and Trust for Nature. Greening Australia are now working with the bank to help bring this bold vision to life.
Bank Australia’s Damien Walsh said:
“This award is a testament to the power of our partnerships with Greening Australia and Trust for Nature – both organisations worked closely with Bank Australia to develop an approach to managing our reserve that is bold, innovative, and best-practice. We’re delighted to win the Banksia Award for Large Business and hope that this recognition will show the way for other organisations who might look to develop similar approaches to protecting and restoring precious biodiverse Australian habitat.”
Large Business Award – Officeworks: Restoring Australia
Restoring Australia is an Australian-first initiative that sees two trees planted for every one used, based on the weight of paper-based products purchased by customers at Officeworks.
In 2018, the initiative saw a significant 326,000 trees established across 650 hectares in some of Australia’s most vulnerable landscapes including the Tasmanian Midlands, Victorian Volcanic Plains and Kangaroo Island.
Alexandra Staley, Officeworks Corporate Affairs & Brand Manager, said: “We’re delighted that Restoring Australia has been acknowledged in such a renowned sustainability forum. We’re so proud of what we’ve already achieved together in partnership with Greening Australia over the past 12 months and cannot wait to continue rolling out the initiative to habitats in need across the country in future. Officeworks has a duty to operate our business responsibly and Restoring Australia is our long-term commitment to making bigger things happen in the communities where we live and work.”