Awareness Campaigns

The Burdekin Shire supports national and local awareness campaigns to help provide a safer and more environmentally friendly society.

Check back here regularly for the current campaign.

  • 12DosOfChristmas

    December -The 12 Recycling Do’s of Christmas

    Christmas is a busy and resource intense time of year. There are many simply ways you can recycle and reduce your waste over the Christmas Period.
    Why not try these 12 recycling tips this Christmas and do your little bit towards waste minimisation and working towards a cleaner, greener Australia!


    Between Christmas, New Year and Australia Day, Australians produce more waste than at any other time of year. There are many simple ways that you can recycle and reduce wastage and enjoy a cleaner and greener Christmas period.

    Here are the 12 Do’s of Christmas:

    1. Durable Decorations

    Buy good quality decorations that can be reused or make your own.

    2.  Celebrate waste reduction and recycling at parties!

    Set up well-signed recycling options at your parties and choose the most environmentally friendly options where possible.

    3. Give thoughtful gifts

    Find out what your recipients really want, or choose an experience or charity gift.

    4.  Re-wrap it up

    Use reusable or recyclable wrapping paper.

    5. Full tummy, empty bin

    Prevent food wastage, only open what you need, serve smaller portions, store and use leftovers.

    6. Useful scraps

    Compost or worm farm your unavoidable food scraps.

    7. Recycle Right

    ‘Tis the season for milk, juice and custard cartons, foil trays, glass bottles and aluminium cans. Ensure to keep up your recycling practices over the Christmas period.

    8. Electrifying recycling

    Many components and materials inside electronics can be re-used and recycled. If they are sent to the landfill, these precious resources are lost and there can be a risk of heavy metal contamination in the soil and waterways. Fortunately, you can recycle an ever-increasing variety of electronic goods for free.

    9. Batteries Included

    Give a recharger pack with any battery operated gifts – it’ll save money and reduce the gift’s impacts.

    10. Cleaner transport

    Ensure your car runs efficiently by inflating the tyres and tuning the engine and recycling your old car oil, tyres and batteries.

    11. Recycle cards at home

    Recycle your cards at home or use them for arts and crafts. Send an electronic card by email to friends and family – this will save on natural resources.

    12. Love a tree

    Live trees can have a second life as mulch or compost while artificial trees can be reused for decades if properly cared for.


    For more ideas about how to have a cleaner and greener Christmas visit Planet Ark’s 12 Do’s of Christmas website –


  • WetlandCareAustraliaLogo1

    February – World Wetlands Day

    World Wetlands Day is celebrated on 2nd February 2014. The theme for this year's World Wetlands Day is Wetlands and Agriculture. Wetlands are an essential part of our local environment and are inextricably linked to agriculture. Find out more about World Wetlands Day and what is happening in our region.


    The theme for Wetlands Day 2014 is Wetlands & Agriculture. This year’s theme is especially significant for the Burdekin region, given that wetlands are so often intimately linked with agriculture.

    Wetlands have often been seen as a barrier to agriculture, and they continue to be drained and reclaimed to make farming land available. But the essential role of wetlands in support of agriculture is undeniable and there are successful agricultural practices which support healthy wetlands. Focusing on restoring and conserving our wetlands will improve biodiversity and other environmental outcomes.

    For more information on wetlands and conservation throughout Australia visit WetlandCare Australia –

    WetlandCare Australia is a not-for-profit company dedicated to achieving healthy wetlands in healthy catchments.  WetlandCare Australia came into existence in 1991 because the founding members (many were wetland scientists) wanted to do practical things that would have long-term benefits for wetlands. WetlandCare Australia has a solid track record in managing and delivering a broad range of natural resource management projects that have resulted in improved environments and biodiversity.


    As a part of Wetlands Day celebrations, there will be a WetlandCare Australia Photography Prize sponsored by the Townsville Cultural Centre.

    When – 2 February 2014, between 2 – 5 pm

    Where – Townsville Cultural Centre, 2-68 Flinders Street, Townsville

    Come and view the prize winning shots in the 2014 WetlandCare Australia Photography Prize.The winners will be announced and presented with their prizes. Other activities on the day will include kids activities, face painting and informative talks by wetland experts!

    Contact Liz Hajenko for more info   1800 816 147

    Barratta Creek Project (Wetlands Care Australia)

    WetlandCare Australia, with support through funding from the Australian Government’s Clean Energy Future Biodiversity Fund, will protect, manage and enhance the high ecological functional values of the Barratta Creek Catchment which forms the main artery of the Bowling Green Bay wetlands, the only Ramsar site in north Queensland. Barratta Creek is one of the most high integrity floodplain creek systems on the developed east coast of Queensland. Since the introduction of intensive irrigated agriculture the creek and wetlands have suffered serious impacts through a lack of active management and understanding including invasive aquatic and terrestrial weeds, hot frequent fires regimes and excessive and nutrient rich tailwater flows. WetlandCare Australia will unite multiple stakeholders to improve biodiversity outcomes in the Barratta Creek catchment and internationally listed Ramsar wetlands through integrated catchment based management.

    Wetlands Care Australia are already well in to their second year of the project, and have been working solidly with their partners and the local community to reach  milestones and are moving forward to achieve success in protecting, managing and enhancing the high ecological functional values of the Barratta Creek Catchment.

    The Project has successfully prepared 3 revegetation sites in the Barratta catchment where 3000 trees have been planted with a view to increasing the diversity of local native species and providing corridors to provide food and shelter for native fauna.

  • earth-hour1

    March – Earth Hour

    Celebrate your commitment to doing something more for the planet by turning your lights off for an hour from 8.30pm to 9.30pm on Saturday 28th March 2015.
    Visit the Earth Hour website


    Earth Hour is an annual event encouraging everyone to turn off their lights and electriccal appliances for one hour to show your commitment to reducing our impact on the environment. This year’s Earth Hour event will be held between 8.30 and 9.30pm on Saturday 28 March.

    The event also raises awareness of the importance of our daily actions outside of Earth Hour. Earth Hour asks everyone to take personal accountability for their impact on the planet and make behavioural changes to facilitate a sustainable lifestyle. We can make many small changes to our lifestyles that can make big differences!

    Here are some ideas:

    • Install water-saving showerhead. This will reduce the amount of hot water and electricity used.
    • Take shorter showers rather than longer showers or baths.
    • Only run the washing machine on a full load. Use cold water to wash clothes. Choose low phosphate detergents.
    • Use a clothesline instead of a dryer wherever possible – the sunshine is free and we are not in short supply!
    • Only use a dryer with a full load and ensure clothes are wrung out well first. Keep the lint filter clean.
    • Use the economy cycle on your dishwasher. Only run the dishwasher when it’s full.
    • Set your fridge at 4-5ºc and your freezer between -15 and -18ºc.
    • Keep items away from vents to avoid blockage and freezing of items
    • Keep in a cool, well-ventilated spot away from the oven and sun to save electricity.
    • Keep a generous gap around your fridge/freezer so air can circulate freely and allow more efficient energy use.
    • Keep seals clean and in good condition on fridges and freezers.
    • Switch off your second fridge.
    • Turn off lights you are not using.
    • Use energy-saving globes
    • Use lamps instead of the main light if you only need to use a small area.
    • Put outside lights on a timer/sensor
    • Use a fan instead of an air-conditioner – 20 times less energy.
    • Microwaves use less energy than hotplates.
    • A plasma TV uses more energy than an LCD.
    • A laptop uses less energy than a desktop computer.
    • Look for ‘Energy Star’ labels when buying appliances.
    • Consider using an extra blanket/jumper to reduce heating costs
    • Use trees to shade your home.
    • Use the BBQ to save heating up your kitchen in your house.
    • Try a front loader washing machine – they use less water and 60% less energy.
    • Watch your food purchases – Australians throw away $8 billion worth of food annually. Plan your meals and try and buy what you need.
    • Fill up your own water bottle with tap water rather than buying bottled water.
    • More energy is used in every extra stage of the manufacturing process. Choose less processed foods – save energy and make healthier choices at the same time.
    • Some packaging is necessary, but avoid buying packaged goods where you can. For example, choose to buy a large packet of biscuits or chips and put them into your own reusable container, rather than buying individually packaged items.
    • Buy to last – buy durable goods that will not require replacement as often, rather than disposable and cheap goods.
    • Buy second-hand goods – there is no extra energy involved in making these goods.
    • Repair things wherever possible, rather than buying new.
    • Change your electric water heater for gas/solar, could cut electricity bill in half.
    • Drive less – almost all of the greenhouse gases produced by transport comes from the petrol you use in your car.
    • Smoother driving/braking can save 1/3 of your greenhouse gas emissions.
    • Use recycled products wherever possible.
    • Use your organic scraps and green waste for compost. You’ll save yourself the costs of buying gardening products and minimise the waste going to landfill.
    • Buy local produce – this will save on the cost and the energy used in transportation as well as supporting local business and farms.
    • Collect rainwater for you plants or consider investing in a rainwater tank.

    For more information visit –

  • Composting week

    May – Composting Awareness Week

    International Composting Awareness Week runs from 5-11 May. See how you can benefit from composting and using your organic waste.


    International Composting Awareness Week is held on 5th – 11th May. The aims of this campaign are to:

    • increase the diversion of organics from the main waste stream through awareness of home and community composting
    • increased awareness and proper utilisation of composts and mulches
    • highlight the environmental, social and economic benefits of composting

    Over half our rubbish is made up of food and garden waste that can be recycled. Such a large amount of organically active material buried anaerobically (without air) in landfill causes over 3% of total greenhouse gas emissions annually through the production of methane gas.

    By turning food scraps and organic garden waste into compost you can:

    • improve soil quality and garden vitality by releasing nutrients from compost into your soil.
    • improve drainage in clay soils and help sandy soils retain water
    • assist plant growth and disease resistance
    • help absorb and filter runoff, protecting streams from erosion and pollution
    • reduce unwanted insects, limiting the need for commercial herbicides and pests.
    • recycle valuable nutrients
    • reduce the use of artificial fertilizers
    • prevent greenhouse gas emissions
    • reduce the amount of waste going to landfill
    • save water (using mulch and compost on your garden can reduce water usage by up to 30%)
    • save money (that you would spend on fertilizers, soil conditioners, water)

    What to add to your compost bin

    • vegetable and fruit scraps
    • vegetable oil
    • prunings and lawns clippings
    • tea bags and coffee
    • vacuum dust
    • shredded paper and cardboard
    • used potting mix
    • eggshells
    • flowers

    What not to add to your compost bin

    • meat and bones
    • dairy products
    • diseased plants
    • metals
    • plastics and glass
    • animal manures
    • fat
    • magazines
    • large branches
    • weeds that have seeds or underground stems
    • sawdust from treated timber
    • pet droppings
    • synthetic chemicals

    A four step guide to creating great compost

    1. Choose a site.

    Place your compost heap or bin in a well-drained sit that has some shade. Too much sun will dry out your compost.

    2. What to compost

    • Green ingredients – a mixture of nitrogen rich organic material such as fruit and vegetable peelings and green garden vegetation such as fresh grass clippings and green leaves.
    • Brown ingredients – nitrogen poor, carbon-rich materials such as dry leaves, woody twigs, paper and straw.
    • Water.
    • Some soil or completed compost to introduce composting microorganisms.

    3. Layering

    • Start with a thick layer of course material such as twigs or mulch to allow for drainage.
    • Layer garden clippings and kitchen scraps with dry leaves and paper
    • Add water after each layer to keep heap moist but not wet
    • Finish by sprinkling soil or completed compost on top of food scraps which will make a richer compost and help reduce odours.

    4. Maintaining your compost

    Keep your compost well aerated by turning it on a weekly basis. This will help prevent foul odours and methane buildup.

    Depending on the mix of ingredients, the duration for the compost to turn into rich soil can be anything from 6 weeks to 6 months.


    Check out the International Composting Awareness Week Australia website for more information about events and competitions.

    For more information about starting up your own compost see the Clean Up Australia website.

    Burdekin Shire Council has a green waste collection service and free green waste disposal for non-commercial rate payers at our transfer stations and landfill. This green waste is then mulched up and is available to residents for free. Mulch needs to be loaded by the person taking it, as Council does not provide a loader on site. If you require a large amount of mulch you can arrange to bring a loader on site providing the operator has all the relevant tickets and liability.


  • Food Safety First Logo3

    November – Food Safety Week

    Learn about the temperature danger zone and the importance of keeping hot food hot and cold food cold.



    Australian Food Safety Week is the major activity of the Food Safety Information Council which aims to address the estimated 4.1 million cases of food borne illness in Australia each year. Food poisoning results, on average, in 31,920 hospitalisations, 86 deaths and 1 million visits to doctors each year.

    The theme for Australian Food Safety Week 2014 is the Temperature Danger Zone – keeping hot food hot and cold food cold. Food poisoning bacteria can survive and grow rapidly if food is left out in temperatures above 5°C and under 60°C.

    Australian Food Safety Week runs from November 9 – 16.

    Don’t leave your cooked rice on the bench top overnight

    According to a national Newspoll survey, commissioned for Australian Food Safety Week, an alarming 22% of Australians think it is ok to leave cooked rice out of the refrigerator for up to 6 hours or overnight – or even that it doesn’t need refrigerating at all.

    Dr Michael Eyles, Food Safety Information Council Chair, said many consumers considered  cooked rice a low risk for food poisoning and could safely be left on the benchtop if the fridge was too full.

    “This just isn’t true. Spores from the bacteria Bacillus cereus can survive the cooking process and once the rice begins to cool, they can grow and form a heat-resistant toxin. This toxin is not destroyed by further reheating, with only very small amounts needed to make you sick,” Dr Eyles said.

    “In contrast it was pleasing to see people surveyed were much more aware that raw egg mayonnaise and chicken dishes were a high risk for food poisoning as only 4% thought it ok to leave those products unrefrigerated for up to 6 hours or overnight. But even 4% of consumers taking this risky behaviour adds to the estimated 4.1 million cases of food poisoning in Australia each year.

    “The Temperature Danger Zone for food lies between 5°C and 60°C because in this zone bacteria in food can grow and toxins can accumulate to unsafe levels within a few hours. If you hold hot food before serving it should be kept at 60°C or greater. We should always refrigerate or freeze cooked food that isn’t going to be eaten straight away and keep perishable food refrigerated under 5°C.”

    The Food Safety Information Council says you can avoid becoming one of the estimated 4.1 million cases of food poisoning in Australia each year by following these 7 simple tips to keep your food out of the Temperature Danger Zone:

    1. Plan ahead. Don’t over cater as the greater the quantity of food you prepare the harder it is to keep it hot or cool enough. If you are catering for a lot of people prepare food as closely as you can to the time you will serve it.
    2. Keep your fridge at or below 5°C. Use a fridge thermometer to check that the fridge temperature stays around 4 to 5°C. Also make sure you have enough room in the fridge because if the food is packed tightly the cold air cannot circulate.
    3. Check the storage instructions. Read the label on packaged food to see if it needs to be stored in the fridge or freezer, many unrefrigerated items may need to be refrigerated once opened.
    4. Keep hot food at or over 60°C. Hot food needs to be kept and served at 60°C or hotter. If you are keeping it warm for someone put it in the oven at 60°C (or at 100°C if that is as low as your oven will go).
    5. Divide food up to cool. Freshly cooked food, not for immediate consumption, should have the temperature reduced as quickly as possible. Divide into containers in small portions and put it into the fridge or freezer as soon as it stops steaming.
    6. Keep food on the move cool. If you are transporting perishable food around such as: refrigerated or frozen shopping, your (or your child’s) lunch or goodies for a BBQ or a picnic always use a cooler bag and add a frozen block or drink to keep things cool.
    7. If in doubt throw it out. If perishable food has been in the temperature danger zone for 2 to 4 hours consume it immediately. After 4 hours throw it out.

    Food Safety Information Council


  • 2014 Trash is Trendy competition

    November – National Recycling Week

    Everyone can recycle and make a difference!
    Our key messages for National Recycling Week is to reduce waste to landfill and not to bag recyclable items.


    Trash is Trendy Competition Winners

    All who entered this year’s Burdekin Shire Council Trash is Trendy competition have had their efforts rewarded.

    The winners of the competition were Emily Gibson and Savannah Cannavan from Home Hill High School.

    The winning outfit was a bridal dress created from plaster bandage and pages from an old encyclopaedia.

    Runners up were Jared Alfred and Daniel Hamilton with their suit made from plastic shopping bags, newspaper and old fabric.

    Third place getters were Katherine Free and Chloe Hutley, who made a dress from garbage bags and magazines.

    Fourth place was Kim Harding who created a handbag out of cardboard and newspaper.

    All of the entries included items that could be placed in the Shire’s yellow recycling bin, like newspaper, cardboard and magazines.

    The creations were on display at the Home Hill Harvest Festival at the weekend.

    The winners were rewarded for their efforts with their choice of $100 cash prize, a Reef HQ family pass, Yongala Dive $50 voucher or a Yongala Dive t-shirt and a Reef HQ child pass.

  • Safety First Sign

    October – Safe Work Week

    Most working Queenslanders put in a good, hard day’s work and come home a little tired or dirty, but safe.
    Tragically though, around 25 Queenslanders die each year as a result of traumatic workplace incidents, and over 5000 suffer a permanent injury.
    Safety at work is an issue that concerns everyone — employers, employees, their families and the community.
    Have a read through this page and see how you can live and work safer.


    Safe Work Week is the perfect time to remind people how they can continue to make Queensland workplaces safer.

    What is Safe Work Week?

    Safe Work Week (SWW) 2013 is part of a national event that encourages all working Queenslanders to get involved in health and safety in their workplace, helping to reduce death, injury and disease.

    Why is it important?

    Most working Queenslanders put in a good, hard day’s work and come home a little tired or dirty, but safe.

    Tragically though, around 25 Queenslanders die each year as a result of traumatic workplace incidents, and over 5000 suffer a permanent injury.

    These deaths and injuries carry with them a devastating and personal impact on workers and their families, with a significant financial cost to the Queensland community.


    Forever young – Tim’s story

    Forever young – Tim’s story highlights the emotional struggles and wider impacts on family and friends for Bill Martin whose son, Tim Martin, died at the age of 17 after he received an electric shock at work.

    Mr Martin shared the personal story of his son to raise awareness of the need to make electrical and workplace safety a priority for every business.

    Watch Forever Young – Tim’s story on YouTube

    Who is at risk of workplace injury or illness?

    National data on work related injuries shows that in Queensland, the rural industry recorded the highest rate of serious injuries in 2005–06 and 2010–11, followed closely the manufacturing industry.

    Across those six years, construction, transport and storage, manufacturing and rural were consistently in the top five industries with significantly high rates of injury among workers, well above the average rate for all industries of 15 serious injuries per 1000 workers.

    Young workers are at high risk of injury and illness at work, because they have limited work experience, are still developing and maturing and are less likely to speak up about unsafe work environments or practices.

    On average, 16 young workers are killed in Queensland every year.

    But there is good news – Queensland’s performance has seen significant improvement over the last three years with the injury rate improving by 19.6 per cent since 2007-08.

    What you can do to improve work health and safety?

    Safety at work is an issue that concerns everyone — employers, employees, their families and the community.

    At work

    Everyone at work plays a role in reducing the risk of injury, illness and death in a workplace.

    • Hold your own event during Safe Work Week to highlight what your company is doing  to make the workplace safer.
    • Ensure staff are involved in identifying risks and finding solutions on a regular basis and work with companies in your supply chain to ensure the safety of all workers involved in producing your product or service.

    At school

    Workplace Health and Safety Queensland has produced a range of materials designed specifically for young workers. Visit for information on young workers.

    At home

    For most of us, the most important reason for being safe at work is our family and friends. Take some time to reflect on your most important reason and the things you can do to make sure you arrive home safe each day.

    Workplace Health and Safety Queensland

    WHSQ Facebook photo gallery

    Last year around 9000 people attended work-based events held for Safe Work Week. This year WHSQ would love to see what your workplace is doing so send them a photo of your event and it could appear on their Facebook photo gallery.

    How are you going to recognise Safe Work Week and celebrate your most important reasons to work safe?

    Don’t forget to like their page so you can see when they post your photo and you can share it with your friends.

    WHSQ on Twitter!

    Twitter provides a convenient way to receive updates and stay in touch with all things health and safety in Queensland as they happen. Follow @WorkSafeQld and #whsq to get updates on topics such as:

    • workplace health and safety legislation
    • latest published items
    • workplace health and safety tips for managers, safety advisors and workers
    • upcoming events
    • general workplace health and safety information
    • incident alerts.

    Event Checklist

    Use this as a guide to ensure you have not missed any important planning details.

    Have you…

    • Decided on your event theme, objectives and audience?
    • Selected a few key messages to support your overall theme and objectives?
    • Selected an event date and time?
    • Allocated an event budget?
    • Selected an event team, started a planning timeline and allocated team tasks to help organise the event?
    • Uploaded your event to the Safe Work Week calendar
    • Sourced and booked any audio-visual (AV) requirements? (see VENUE/AV checklist)
    • Chosen your venue? (see VENUE/AV checklist)
    • Prepared an attendees list and distributed invitations?
    • Sourced and booked any catering?
    • Developed an event run sheet?
    • Confirmed who will do what on the day and provided them with task instructions?
    • Organised a photographer who can capture your event?
    • Sourced and confirmed any approvals you may need from your team members, manager or director?
    • Contacted any local media to get involved with your event, e.g. local newspapers, community magazines?
    • Printed suitable hand out materials for attendees, e.g. fact sheets, posters, agenda?
    • Designed thank you letters or certificates for any sponsors or key volunteers, acknowledging their support?
    • Received RSVPs and confirmed final catering numbers to your suppliers?
    • Scheduled in people to help you pack down the event?
    • Held a briefing session prior to the event to ensure all equipment is working properly, speakers have had a practice run through and everyone is comfortable with their tasks for the day?
    • Don’t forget to arrive at the venue early to ensure everything is set up in time, set up the day before if possible. Hold a de-brief after the event to discuss how successful it was and considerations for next time?
    • Check that your venue has an up to date first aid kit or that you have a kit you can use in case of emergency?
    • Packed an ‘event toolkit’ that includes items such as blu tack, pins, sticky tape, double sided tape, gaffer tape, stapler, lots of pens or pencils, eraser, black marker pen, scissors, paper clips, rubber bands, spare name badges, safety pins, needle and thread, paracetamol, bandaids and post it notes?


    Venue/AV Checklist

    Use this as a guide to ensure you have not missed any important planning details.

    Make sure you…

    • Conduct site inspection.
    • Check room capacity and ensure it suits your event requirements. Will it fit your estimated number of attendees?
    • Confirm with the venue how you would like the room set up (theatre style, classroom, cocktail, U-shape etc) and provide them with a seating chart if necessary.
    • Decide where you will position your catering area, water/coffee/tea station, AV, computer, decorations and where guests will sit/stand.
    • Check where electrical power points are located in the room and ensure it suits your event requirements. If playing music or having entertainment check sound restrictions with your venue as this may impact performers and your AV requirements.
    • Read any terms and conditions thoroughly.
    • Book and pay deposit.
    • Check what equipment you will need, e.g. PowerPoint, projector, microphone, TV or DVD player and if any of these are provided free of charge. Always consider having a back up microphone and a second copy of any presentation files on hand. Remember to sound check the microphone before the event begins.
    • Do not forget about the registration area, you may need name badges for your guests. This area needs to be large enough to get guests in and out without blocking access to the room.
    • Check what time you can set up and pack down, some venues let you access the room the day before a big event.
    • Check the parking requirements at the venue.
    • Do vehicles need permits or car park vouchers?
    • Consider whether any guests require special access such as wheelchair ramps or a lift.
    • Always check the toilet facilities. Make sure they are clean and presentable for guests and that the number of toilets can cater for your number of guests.
    • Check for hazards, for example slippery floor surfaces.
    • If your event is held outdoors, consider hazards such as wind, heat or even wildlife (snakes, ant bites) and ensure you have ways to manage or minimise the risk.

    Visit for more information on risk management.

  • esacus_neglectus[1]

    September – Biodiversity Month

    Biodiversity month promotes the importance of biodiversity and the programs and initiatives that ensure that our environments and habitats are conserved, improved and protected.


    The Australian Government through the Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities is committed to protecting Australia’s unique biodiversity. Biodiversity month is held in September each year to promote the importance of biodiversity and the programs and initiatives that ensure that our environments and habitats are conserved, improved and protected.

    What is biodiversity?

    Biodiversity encompasses every living thing that exists on our planet and the environment in which they live. From the smallest one-cell microbe to the enormous majesty of the blue whale. From the depths of the Pacific Ocean to peaks of our tallest mountains, biodiversity forms part of an intricate and interdependent web of life in which we are all a part.

    Australia is home to between 600,000 and 700,000 species, many of which are found nowhere else in the world. About 84 per cent of our plants, 83 per cent of our mammals, and 45 per cent of our birds are endemic — that is, they are only found in Australia.

    The marine environment is home to thousands of marine species, some of which are unique to Australia and all of which contribute to making Australia the most biodiversity-rich developed country in the world. This includes at least 45 species of whales, dolphins and porpoises.

    Why is biodiversity important?

    Human beings depend for their sustenance, health, well-being and enjoyment of life on biodiversity. We derive all of our food and many medicines and industrial products from the wild and domesticated components of biological diversity. Biodiversity is the basis for much of our recreation and tourism, and includes the ecosystems which provide us with many services such as clean water.

    There are a number of ways individuals and communities can help protect biodiversity in their local area.

    • Create a natural habitat in your backyard. Look at plants that are native to your region and help create a backyard sanctuary for local birds and wildlife.
    • Get rid of weeds. What seems like a perfectly harmless plant can turn into a noxious weed if it jumps your back fence and heads into bushland. Check out what’s considered a weed in your part of the country at Weeds in Australia (link is external)
    • Be a responsible pet owner. If you can no longer keep your pet do not release it into the wild. This includes pet fish — do not flush them down the toilet or put them into local streams. Make sure your cat is de-sexed and either keep it indoors or invest in an outdoor cat run — domestic cats can have a devastating effect on local wildlife. Keep your dog contained and on leash so that they cannot attack or scare wildlife. This is especially important on our beaches where migratory birds and turtles breed.
    • Reduce, reuse and recycle. Look at ways to reduce the amount of rubbish that ends up in landfill and the waterways. Many things can now be recycled. For more information on what you can recycle in your local area go to Recycling Near You (link is external) or Waste and recycling
    • Start your own compost bin. Organic matter like vegetable peelings which usually ends up landfill is great for your garden. Start composting and you can reduce the need for chemicals and fertilizers in the garden and improve the health of your soil.
    • Only put water down the drains. Things like oils and chemicals may start at the kitchen sink but end up in our waterways and seas and can affect animals and plants living in streams and rivers. Instead of using commercial cleaning chemicals try using white vinegar and bicarbonate of soda.
    • Be an informed seafood eater. Don’t eat threatened fish species. To find out what species you should avoid at the fish market go to Find a Fish — (link is external)
    • Understand what you can and can’t take with you when you travel. Some tourist souvenirs and items you buy over the internet are made from or contain derivatives of plants and animals. If you are bringing plants or animals into or out of Australia, go to Information for travellers and online shoppers beforehand.
    • When you’re sailing, don’t get too close to whales and dolphins. Worldwide, whales, dolphins and porpoises face many threats, from being directly hunted to being caught in fishing nets. Ship strike, pollution, climate change, ocean noise, tourism, discarded fishing gear or other rubbish may also affect the population. They can also be loved to death by overenthusiastic whale watchers. To find out more about how to help, go to Whales, dolphins and porpoises.

    What is the Australian Government doing to protect biodiversity?

    The Australian Government’s national environment law, the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999, promotes the conservation of biodiversity by providing strong protection for threatened species and ecological communities, migratory, marine and other protected species.

    The Australian Government has announced significant reforms to the EPBC Act in response to an independent review of the Act by Allan Hawke AC.

    For further information go to About the EPBC Act.

    The Australian Government has recognised the role of biodiversity in tackling climate change, and the need to make it central to climate change policies affecting land management. The Government’s Clean Energy Future package includes funding to complement and build upon the Australian Government’s existing natural resource management activities.

    The Australian Government is looking at biodiversity from a number of angles. From research through to wildlife corridors, there are a range of programs aimed at protecting Australia’s unique biodiversity.

    For more information on biodiversity and related programs go to Biodiversity.


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