Summervale community in Walcha kick's off the Aboriginal Communities Waste Management Program clean up grant

CLEAN AND GREEN: Aunty Sue and Joanne Stead with residents of Summervale and guests at the launch of the 'clean up' project earlier this year.
CLEAN AND GREEN: Aunty Sue and Joanne Stead with residents of Summervale and guests at the launch of the 'clean up' project earlier this year.

A new Summervale community project is focusing on waste, cleaning up and caring for the environment.

Following the launch of the project last month at the Summervale camp kitchen, community engagement officer and local resident elder Sue Green has been working with the Joanne Stead the project manager appointed by Amaroo.

In August 2018 Member for Tamworth Kevin Anderson announced that $2 million in grants was available for Local Aboriginal Land Councils across NSW to improve waste management in discrete Aboriginal communities and two communities in his electorate (Summervale at Walcha and Walhallow Reserve at Walhallow ) were eligible.

The grant projects will be delivered in three stages. Stage one was the Expression of Interest process and now Amaroo Land Council are engaged in stage two which allocates $25,000 per community for the development of a Community Rubbish Management Plan and community engagement.

Aunty Sue with Joanne Stead working in the offices of Amaroo last month

Aunty Sue with Joanne Stead working in the offices of Amaroo last month

"Aunty Sue is the face to face contact person and she is working with the residents to plan what they would like to see happen out there as a community," said Ms Stead.

"It's not just cleaning up the waste but we're also looking at recycling and upcycling and maybe some small enterprises as well. Caring for country type initiatives could also be included but it will really depend on what the community wants to do."

The team also met with Walcha Council senior manager of water, sewer and waste Tess Dawson to get ideas of what is available to help the project and what support Walcha Council can offer.

"Tess has already provided Aunty Sue with recycling bags which has increased the amount of recycling that is being done at Summervale," Ms Stead said.

The Summervale community consists of 14 dwellings ( 10 houses and 4 units) with about 50 people currently in residence.

"We did some community surveys on the day of the barbecue to launch the project last month to get people thinking about what what they would like to see happen out there," said Ms Stead.

"We got lots of suggestions for educational workshops like recycling, composting and waste to art - things that residents are interested in doing. We will now hold some workshops with residents during this planning stage so they can decide if these are things they really want to pursue during the implementation stage.

It's not just cleaning up the waste but we're also looking at recycling and upcycling and maybe some small enterprises as well

Joanne Stead - project manager

As part of the planning Aunty Sue and Ms Stead will be conducting waste audits at Summervale over the next few months.

"It's about looking at where the bulky waste is being dumped, what type of waste that is and what we can do with it," Ms Stead said.

"We will be looking at what is in those waste piles to determine what we can do with it and there is a household rubbish component as well."

Stage three of the grant process allocates up to $100,000 per community to implement the Community Rubbish Management Plan.

"The Aboriginal Communities Waste Management Program grants will help protect and enhance land that is culturally significant to Aboriginal people," Mr Anderson said last year.

"The grants are an important tool in the fight to reduce litter and illegal dumping, and improve waste management in Aboriginal communities.

"The Aboriginal Communities Waste Management Program is a $4 million four year program and aims to improve waste management systems and reduce litter, illegal dumping and bulky waste.

"It also aims to improve the safety and environmental health of communities and improve relationships with waste collection service providers and local government."

The grants are being funded through the Waste Less Recycle More initiative administered by the NSW Environment Protection Authority. The program has been developed in partnership with the NSW EPA, Aboriginal Affairs NSW, the NSW Aboriginal Land Council, Local Government NSW, NSW Health and NSW Rural Fire Service.