I write this as COVID-19 has reached out into the heartlands of rural NSW. It is now more than ever that we must be kind to ourselves and each other. We must ensure that we do not take part in the narrative of blame but rather reach out and support each other.
Throughout history, human societies have had to deal with catastrophe. We find reserves of resilience and courage to go on, to stick together, to look out for each other, and to move forward.
Perhaps this is our chance to use the present disruption – the pandemic and its aftermath and the intensifying storm of climate change, to find alternative ways of building the society that we are proud to live within.
Recently I participated in a forum, hosted by Parkes Council – Activating the Low Carbon Economy in Regional Australia - that had as its focus, alternative ways of doing business to ensure a positive economic future in regional Australia. There are a growing number of LGAs leading the way.
One such change is embracing the circular economy. Our current economic model is based on extraction, production and waste. It is linear. The circular economy is based on the recirculation of resources and regeneration of natural resources.
This adds a new R to Reduce Reuse Recycle – Re-form. Stockfeed (waste) is converted into new materials and products that the market wants, whilst reducing our carbon footprint.
In collaboration with Sustainable Materials Research & Technology (SMaRT) and local business, the first commercial regional ‘Micro factory’ has been established in a neighbouring LGA.
Another project which is close by, is developing an operational model converting waste biomass from a linear to a circular system, creating high demand products that are regenerative.
The Parkes Activation precinct, being developed in collaboration with the Regional Growth NSW Development Corporation, aims to embed the circular economy into the region’s economic growth.
Working together as an LGA, Hilltops has the ability to position itself for a changing economic dynamic. I’m looking to a future where the principles of sustainability are further embedded in our governing, economic and cultural frameworks ensuring that we ‘walk gently’ on this beautiful region that is entrusted to our care.
- Councillor Marg Roles
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