New England Sustainability Strategy

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February 2011
this project has been assisted by the NSW Government through its

and with support from

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TABLE
OF

CONTENTS
Sustainability Models & Frameworks........15 Key Stakeholders..................................................17 New England Tablelands BioGeographic Region.........................................................................18 Acronyms..................................................................19 Illustration Index....................................................20

History of Development.....................................3 What is Sustainability?..........................................6 Importance & Value of NESS..........................8 Financial Supporters..........................................11 Bibliography............................................................12 Credits.........................................................................13 About Starfish Enterprises...............................14

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HISTORY

OF

DEVELOPMENT

The original funding received for NESS in 2008 was to create a sustainability action plan for Armidale alone. However the benefits, arguably necessity, of working on sustainability at a larger bio-regional scale were recognised by Armidale Dumaresq Council who generously agreed to make their funding available to benefit the wider New England Region including Uralla, Walcha and Guyra local government areas too. Seven specialist working groups developed the above strategic analysis which informed 120 participants at the first NESS Public Forum, held at NERAM as the last event of the Sustainable Living Expo '09. A dynamic multi-stream open space process was used throughout the Forum to enhance creativity, cross-fertilisation and collaboration. The 'Foundation Strategy' was established that day. Some 300 community members, organisations and stakeholders directly participated in its formation.
Illustration 1: Inaugural NESS Public Forum, NERAM 2008

In 2009 the four Local Councils in the southern New England Region (Armidale Dumaresq, Walcha, Guyra & Uralla), together with the New England Sustainability Strategy Executive (NESSiE), successfully applied for funding with the NSW Environmental Trust to 'extend and complete' NESS.

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This regional collaboration of local Councils and stakeholders was key to this new funding, with the NSW Environment Trust remarking that the New England is one of the most successful examples of such a collaborative approach in NSW. Through 2010 further work was done to expand community participation, support and ownership and further develop the 'Foundation Strategy' by: • Holding four local Sustainability Forums (Bundarra, Uralla, Guyra and Walcha) to review the Foundation Strategy and develop their own SEED (Social Environmental Economic Development) Plans; • Convene the inaugural Sustainability Scorecard Round Table to collaboratively design a Regional Sustainability Scorecard & KPPi (Key Performance and Progress Indicator) Framework; • Work with the four Councils to develop a model for the integration of NESS with the new NSW Integrated Planning and Reporting Framework as a replicable approach to be used with other similar plans (such as HiCUB, LAPP, CCCF) and by other stakeholder organisations; • Research and agree an appropriate multi-stakeholder network governance structure; • Analyse and integrate existing plans, priorities and strategies with NESS; and, • Develop a community communication and engagement strategy for sustainability, including a new web portal.

Illustration 2: Second NESS Public Forum, Armidale Town Hall, 2010

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This work culminated in the second NESS Public Forum, and Sustainability Showcase, held at Armidale Town Hall in November 2010, where NESS was reviewed, finalised and priorities where agreed for the next phase of work, known as NESS3. A wide range of multi-media and mixed-media presentations were incorporated as a 'living briefing document' of the sustainability initiatives taking place across the region. To date more than 1,000 people have now participated in the collaborative development of NESS through forums, workshops, meetings, surveys and discussions. These participants genuinely reflect the 'whole of the community' and full 'diversity of sustainability' and have included local and national businesses, farmers, local government councillors, local, state and federal bureaucrats, Aboriginal leaders, lawyers, town planners, social and community development workers, youth, artists, community leaders, schools, natural resource managers, media, and sustainability professionals. The youngest delegate was 15 years of age and the oldest 82. An African student was the most distant stakeholder who participated.

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WHAT

IS

SUSTAINABILITY?

Wikipedia defines sustainability as meaning that social, economic and environmental systems can be maintained indefinitely into the future.
The productivity and limits of the capacity of these systems are key to the quality and growth of the New England's wellbeing (social, material, financial, emotional, spiritual, environmental and so on).

Sustainability Speedo, Great Transition Initiative

Distress

Success

As depicted in the Sustainability Speedo above, exceeding the capacity of these systems is degenerating them, placing our Region in the red. Any degenerative state is only possible for a limited time by diminishing resources available for future generations and depleting the capacity of our systems ~ our commons capital. Sustainability is depicted as the midpoint on the dial, where the capacity of the Region's social, environmental and economic systems is able to be maintained indefinitely for present and future generations. If a system has already been degraded, such as was the case with the New England's biodiversity which led to Die Back, then a period 'in the green' is necessary to regenerate systems and be able to establish this midpoint equilibrium.

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It is theoretical possible for the New England Region to move beyond this sustainability midpoint ~ to create systems which thrive and actually increase in capacity. Such excess capacity would increase the quality of life, increase the carrying capacity of the Region (that is, more population, biodiversity and economic activity ~ being like a sustainability oasis or refuge) and build the capacity to export (products, services, knowledge, money, Illustration 3: Definitions of Sustainability, Dr Micheal O'Loughlin etc.) while still maintaining the underlying capacity of our systems and the sustainability of the Region itself. NESS aims to incorporate each of the sustainability focus areas outlined above. Based upon the Inaugural Sustainability Scorecard Round Table convened in 2010 the New England is currently in a state of degradation, though this position has marginally improved since 2008 since work on NESS began. The Region's fortunes are of course interdependent with those of the world at large, and to some extent this reflects the fact that the broader Australian and global situation is also in the red by reference to biodiversity loss, pollution, poverty and more. www.ness.wikidot.com NESS is an initiative of Page 7 of 20

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IMPORTANCE & VALUE

OF

NESS

Sustainability is one of the most pressing challenges and significant opportunities facing us today. Strategic analysis across various domains of sustainability ~ social, environmental, economic, youth, Aboriginal, government and global ~ was the first step in developing NESS. These are mapped on the following page. A clear need for the New England Region to act was identified, with issues including the importance and urgency of resource depletion, development of a diversified economy and new regional identity which protects and enhances its unique community and natural environment, with a view to becoming an international model of regional solutions such as green design, sustainable housing, regional exports. This urgency was underlined by the findings of the Climate Change Adaptation Action Plan where infrastructure, water security, biodiversity loss and diminished agricultural productivity were each identified as extreme risks from climate and other environmental changes. The New England Sustainability Strategy has already made a difference and can mature to become a powerful contributor, both as a process and as a resource and tool, to the sustainability of the region. As a process it is unique for being designed collaboratively, with participation coming from right across the diversity of the community and breadth of the issue of sustainability. This very approach of shared deliberation and decision-making was identified in numerous local plans and in research literature as a powerful tool for building social inclusion, trust, respect and understanding... and in turn enhance our sustainability, strength, health and happiness. As a resource NESS provides an evidence base and influential set of shared priorities for alignment of effort, collaboration and resources. It is our chart to navigate the tumultuous seas of change now upon us, a useful learning tool for practitioners, and a prospectus for funding, enterprise, philanthropy, advocacy and lobbying. www.ness.wikidot.com NESS is an initiative of Page 8 of 20

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Illustration 4: Analysis of Sustainability of New England Region, 2008

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One of the issues raised during the local planning dialogues during this year was the view that ‘we’ve done this before and nothing came of it’. Some communities are frustrated as they struggle on alone, that these matters fall back on their local Council and that they lack real support from outside stakeholders, partners and agencies. NESS is contributing to a more collaborative and integrated approach to diminish these risks and weaknesses over time, though the complexity of collaboration, which is so central to addressing complex pursuits such as sustainability, should not be under estimated. Successfully making the shift to sustainability will require sophisticated effort, investment and attention to our own wellbeing too. This shift to sustainability has been described as a “Great Transition” ~ to a culture and world that transcends reform, going on to embrace new values that change the paradigm and principles of global development. Global population levels are stabilised at moderate levels and material flows through the economy are radically reduced through lower consumerism and massive applications of green technologies. This world view seeks to change the character of the urban, industrial, global economic situation and rather than to replace it, it is about building a more humane and equitable global civilisation rather than retreat into localism, or worse still fall into decline, disorder and collapse.

Illustration 5: Future Films Poster, Sustainable Living Expo 2010, Sustainable Living Armidale

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FINANCIAL SUPPORTERS
Below are a list of all NESS Financial Supporters since work began in 2008.

Armidale Family Support Services

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BIBLIOGRAPHY
Catchment Management Action Plans ~ Namoi & Border-Rivers Gwydir Catchment Management Authorities Climate Change Adaptation Action Plan, Local Adaptation Pathways Program, New England Strategic Alliance of Councils (NESAC), August 2009 Climate Consensus Project Report ~ Nature Conservation Council of NSW with Uralla, Guyra & Armidale Councils, December 2008 Constellation Collaboration: A model for multi-organizational partnership, Tonya Surman, Centre for Social Innovation, June 2006 Healthy People: Living and Learning in a Health Environment, Dr A Sheridan, Ms L Conway, Dr J Harris, Armidale July 2003 Local Government Plans – Walcha Social Plan, Armidale Strategic Community Plan, Guyra Management Plan & Uralla Community Management Plan Northern Tablelands Electorate Survey ~ ‘The shape of the future’, The Honourable Richard Torbay, Member for Northern Tablelands, Parliament of New South Wales, 2010 NSW Aboriginal Land Council Northern Region Regional Economic Development Strategy & Implementation Plan, NSW Aboriginal Land Council Northern Region, 2010 Regional Plan (2010‐2015), Northern Inland Regional Development Australia, 2010 Southern New England State of the Environment Report (2008-2009), Incorporating the local government areas of Armidale Dumaresq, Guyra, Uralla & Walcha Tackling Wicked Problems: A Public Policy Perspective, Commonwealth of Australia 2007 University of New England Strategic Plan (2007 – 2010), Achieving Regional & Global Impact, December 2006 Uralla Creative Village, Uralla Creative Village Team, 30 June 1995 Vision New England Summit Recommendations, Independent Member for New England, Tony Windsor, November 2009 Walcha Community Townlife Development Plan, Initiated by Walcha Shire Council, NSW Department of State and Regional Development Waterfall Way Eco-Tourism Initiative: A Triple Bottom Line Report into the Feasibility of the Waterfall Way Track Network, Michael O'Loughlin, Jeannet van der Lee & Roderic Gill, Centre for Ecological Economics & Water Policy Research, University of New England, 6 November 2003 www.ness.wikidot.com NESS is an initiative of Page 12 of 20

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CREDITS
The 1,000+ participants in NESS forums, workshops, working groups & more plus...
Strategy Author ~ Adam Blakester & Co-Author ~ Dr Micheal O'Loughlin Facilitators ~ Dr Micheal O'Loughlin, Dr Rebecca Spence & Ken McCleod Dialogue Design ~ Dr Micheal O'Loughlin & Ken McCleod Vision Workshop ~ Tuckandee Training, Tex Skuthorpe & Anne Morrill Digital Media (Stakeholder & Community Forums) ~ Irene Lemon Communications Strategy ~ Social Ventures Media Web Portal Strategy ~ Dr Micheal O'Loughlin NESSiE (past & present) ~ Hannah Taylor, Kathryn Brooks, Zoe Miller, Maureen Chapman, Peter Sniekers, Jackie Bowe, Michael Jarochowicz, Dave Carr, Dr Micheal O'Loughlin, Dr Rebecca Spence, Emily Thomas-Moore, Stephen Gow, Paul Creenaune, Adam Blakester (Convenor) LGA Steering Committee (past & present) ~ Stephen Gow, Paul Creenaune, Bob Furze, Nanette Lamrock, Stephanie McCaffrey, Gerry Moran

2008 Public Forum:
~ Speakers, Mayor Peter Ducat, Richard Torbay MP, Zoe Miller, Adam Blakester ~ Digital Media, Social Ventures Media, Laszlo Szabo & David Doyle ~ Production Team, Lindsay Teychenne, John Flower-Emblen, Brylan Stewart, Adam Cafarella

2010 Public Forum:
~ Speakers, Mayor Peter Ducat, Councillor Chris Hallingan, Richard Torbay MP, Stephen Gow, Robyn Bartel, Adam Blakester ~ Performers, Jimmy Greaves (Captain Sustainability) & Rueben Mellor (Mr Not Very Nice Guy) ~ Exhibition Design & Curation, Irene Lemon ~ Digital Media, Social Ventures Media, Laszlo Szabo & David Doyle ~ Production Team, Matt Widdingham, Peter Hutton & Jimmy Greaves ~ Exhibitors (2010 Public Forum) ~ Frog Dreaming, Sustainable Living Expo, Sustainable Living Armidale, Talloires Declaration Implementation Committee, Northern Inland Regional Development, The Armidale Waldorf School, Iron Man Welders, Simon Mellor, Kevin Saunders, Uralla Community Garden, EASLECC, The University of New England, Armidale Bowling Club, New England On Now (NEON), EVO Cities, Tablelands Community Transport, AusEnergy, NSW Government Renewable Energy Precinct, Northern Inland Regional Waste Alliance, The Grass Routes, Great Eastern Ranges Project, Armidale Tree Group, Citizens Wildlife Corridors, Landcare, HiCUB, Armidale Farmers Market, Waterfall Way EcoTourism Initiative, New England EcoTourism Society, Daily Ritual, Kinleigh & Quadrant Australia

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ABOUT STARFISH ENTERPRISES
Starfish Enterprises is a community entrepreneurs network partnering with communities to make the transitions for sustainability through community enterprise, inclusive planning and strategies for social change. Starfish auspices the New England Sustainability Strategy, the New England Wind community wind farm and coordinates the Farming the Sun solar and sustainable energy community enterprise. To find out more go to http://www.starfishenterprises.net or contact Adam Blakester | 6775 2501 | 0419 808 900 | adam@starfishenterprises.org

For full details of all the work undertaken through the development of NESS since 2008 go to http://www.ness.wikidot.com.

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SUSTAINABILITY MODELS & FRAMEWORKS
There are hundreds, probably thousands, of examples, case studies and theoretical models for sustainability. NESS was inspired and informed by those listed below. However, we are unaware of any existing model that has been collaboratively developed and designed for a multi-stakeholder, whole-of-region, network governance approach like NESS. Multi-Level (Global, National, Organisational, Individual) United Nations Climate Neutral Network New Economics Forum ~ Valuing What Matters Accounting for Sustainability ~ “How To” Guide Global Reporting Initiative ~ Quick Reference Sheet Strong Sustainability for New Zealand Treading Lightly: The Hidden Wisdom of the World's Oldest People, Karl-Erik Sveiby & Tex Skuthorpe Global Global Footprint Network The Earth Charter Initiative Human Development Index New Economics Forum ~ Happy Planet Index National UK Commission for Sustainability ~ Sustainable Development Indicators New Economics Forum ~ A Well-Being Manifesto for a Flourishing Society State Government NSW Government Sustainability Policy

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Local Government Uralla Shire Climate Consensus Project (Adopted Management Plan Vol 3) Sustainable Illawarra Ku-ring-gai Council Community Strategic Plan Montpellier Master Plan, Vermont Canada Communities, Councils & a Low Carbon Future, Alexis Rowell LGSA Climate Change Action Pack ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability Place-Based & Site Specific Devilbend Reserve Post Carbon Cities

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KEY STAKEHOLDERS

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NEW ENGLAND TABLELANDS BIOGEOGRAPHIC REGION

Illustration 6: New England Tablelands Biogeograhpic Region

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ACRONYMS
CCCF HiCUB LAPP LGA NERAM NESAC NESS NESSiE NESS1 NESS2 SNELCC U3CF Climate Change Consensus Forum High Country Urban Biodiversity Project (auspiced by SNELCC) Local Adaptations Pathways Project, also referred to as the Climate Change Adaptation Project Local Government Authority New England Regional Art Museum Former New England Strategic Alliance of Councils (involving Armidale Dumaresq, Walcha, Guyra and Uralla), now inactive New England Sustainability Strategy New England Sustainability Strategy Executive, the governance body for NESS The establishment and foundation phase of work on NESS undertaken from mid 2008 to early 2009 The second phase of work undertaken to extend and complete NESS during 2010 Southern New England LandCare Committee Uralla Community Climate Change Forum

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ILLUSTRATION INDEX
ILLUSTRATION INDEX
Illustration 1: Emily Thomas Moore & Stephen Gow, NESSiE ~ Accepting 2010 Armidale & District Chamber of Commerce Award for NESS.................................................................................................................................... 3 Illustration 2: Inaugural NESS Public Forum, NERAM 2008................................................................................................... 4 Illustration 3: Second NESS Public Forum, Armidale Town Hall, 2010..........................................................................5 Illustration 4: Definitions of Sustainability, Dr Micheal O'Loughlin..................................................................................8 Illustration 5: Analysis of Sustainability of New England Region, 2008.....................................................................10 Illustration 6: Future Films Poster, Sustainable Living Expo 2010, Sustainable Living Armidale.................11 Illustration 7: NESSiE Announce Invitations for 2010 Public Forum..............................................................................14 Illustration 8: NESS Core Resourcing Model............................................................................................................................... 15 Illustration 9: Core Milestones (2011~2012)................................................................................................................................ 16 Illustration 10: New England Tablelands Biogeograhpic Region................................................................................24

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