In 1997, a requirement was introduced to the Local Government Act requiring that Councils implement the principles of Ecologically Sustainable Development (ESD) into their operations. ESD, as defined in the Local Government Act, requires the effective integration of economic and environmental considerations in decision-making processes. It can be achieved through the implementation of the following principles:
the precautionary principle, namely that if there are threats of serious or irreversible environmental damage, lack of full scientific certainty should not be used as a reason for postponing measures to prevent environmental degradation;
intergenerational equity, namely that the present generation should ensure that the health, diversity and productivity of the environment is maintained or enhanced for the benefit of future generations;
conservation of biological diversity and ecological integrity should be a fundamental consideration; and
improved valuation, pricing and incentive mechanisms, namely that environmental factors should be included in the valuation of assets and services.
Blacktown City is experiencing sustained growth and the challenge this presents for us has been how to effectively manage the development of the local environment whilst maintaining its ecological integrity. We are addressing this challenge with a shift in management planning to align itself with ESD principles, underpinned by an expanding range of targeted policy and intervention programs identified through the State of the Environment reporting process.
Planning for an environmental future
We work with the community to promote sustainable occupancy of Blacktown City. The key emphasis of our efforts has been through consultation with established environmental groups and by the promotion of ESD through the education of residents, commercial enterprises and industry.
Our environmental education programs have the objective of educating the general community to increase their awareness of environmental issues in relation to an urban environment. This can lead to increased community ownership of the natural environment and development of skills for improved environmental practices.
To ensure sustainable future development in the City our planning instruments comply with the principles of ESD. With our Local Environmental Plan and Development Control Plans promoting sustainable development in the City, developers are guided to develop their land with consideration of the long-term impact upon the natural environment. Opportunities for comment on the application of our planning controls are provided at the Developers Forum we host.