Top Ten: Sustainable cities in Australia

G Magazine

According to the Australian Conservation Society's Sustainable Cities Index, here's the top ten sustainable cities in Australia.

Top ten sustainable Auzzie cities

Credit: iStockphoto

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1. Darwin

In 2005, Darwin opened a renewable energy facility that produces enough electricity from methane gas produced by landfill to power 1,000 homes. In the 2010 Australian Conservation Foundation Sustainable Cities Index, Darwin scored very well on biodiversity despite coming second last on eco-footprint and health indicators.

2. Sunshine Coast

This sunny city has the best
air quality of any in Australia, but it’s expecting a population increase of 180,000 over the next 20 years. To deal with this, the council has set up environmental grants and extended conservation areas.

3. Brisbane

Top marks for health and high scores for biodiversity, water and sustainable development.Through its Green Heart program, Brisbane City Council aims to achieve carbon neutrality by 2026. With its current ranking of 13th for climate change, it has a fair way to go.

4. Townsville

This is the most biodiverse city in Australia, yet up to 50 per cent of its ecosystems are at risk. The council hosts annual Environmental Excellence and Sustainability Awards to reward green initiatives from businesses, schools, communities and individuals.

5. Canberra

Relative to population, the nation’s capital is the Australian city with the most sustainable development. It has 17 green star building projects to date.

7. Melbourne

There are 57 certified green star developments here so far, pushing Melbourne to fourth place in terms of sustainable develpment relative to population. By 2020 the City of Melbourne aims to reduce water consumption by 40 per cent and achieve zero net greenhouse gas emissions.

8. Gold Coast/Tweed Heads

The most water-efficient city in Australia! By 2008, Tweed Shire Council had retrofitted 50 per cent of households with water- and energy-saving fixtures. Gold Coast Council aims to have 55 per cent of the city’s land area covered by native vegetation by 2040.

9. Cairns

Less than half the population owns a car, making it the most sustainable city in terms of transport. As part of Queensland’s ClimateSmart Home Service, for just $50 an electrician will conduct an energy audit on your home, install up to 15 energy-saving light globes plus a more efficient showerhead.

10. Bendigo

This inland city has the highest population density of the 20 cities on the ACF 2010 Sustainability Index, but still ranks third for eco-footprint and air quality. Bendigo offers a rebate program for landowners who protect the native vegetation.

For more info, check out the Australian Conservation Society's Sustainable Cities Index.