The Environment Levy has been in place in Manly since July 1997 to fund a range of projects of an environmental nature.
The aim of this levy is to assist in the substantial enhancement of Manly’s environment. Each year around $946,000 is raised through the Environment Levy, and this is supported with substantial external government grant funds successfully secured by Council.
Since 1997, Environment Levy funds have been used to fund projects such as:
- Burnt Bridge Creek restoration works
- Bush regeneration works
- Implementation of threatened species programs
- Preparation and implementation of Coastline and Estuary Management Plans
- Water quality monitoring
- Cleaning of gross pollutant traps
- Installation and use of alternative water sources (eg: rainwater harvesting)
- Water savings actions
- A variety of sustainability education programs and events
- Ocean Care Day
These are just a sample of the numerous Environment Levy funded projects implemented since 1997.
Administration of the Levy
Each year, a proposed list of projects is presented to the elected Council (with input from the Community Environment Committee, a Sub-Committee of Council with community representation).
Proposed projects are identified from the various strategic Management Plans, Action Plans, Strategies and Plans of Management and must be consistent with the Manly Sustainability Strategy. Community priorities are also considered in project selection. Hence each project selected and prioritised is part of a greater overarching strategy guiding environmental rehabilitation and protection.
The Community Environment Committee, comprising Councillors, community representatives and council staff undertakes the following tasks in regard to the management of the Environment Levy:
- Monitors expenditure to ensure that funds are accounted for separately to normal budget provisions;
- Ensures that such funds are used for new works and environmental initiatives over and above Council's normal operational and capital expenditure budgets;
- Periodically reports (by way of Newsletter) to residents on the progress of the environmental projects relative to budget forecasts;
- Reports at the end of the financial year on whether the funds have been separately accounted for and, in particular, to express a view as to whether the additional revenue has been directed to new environmental initiatives additional to the Council's normal operational and capital budget expenditure.
The Community Environment Committee also reviews the draft budget and makes recommendation to Council.
Environment Levy Criteria
Each proposed project is assessed against the below criteria, developed by the Community Environment Committee, prior to recommendation to Council for funding:
- Priority issues are Urban Bushland and Water Quality;
- Selection of projects must be consistent with the objectives of the Manly Sustainability Strategy;
- Emphasis on visible works with investigation, design, construction, supervision, linking monitoring and education with preference for upstream source and at-source management.
Ongoing maintenance of new Environment Levy capital works projects has been recognised as a legitimate charge against the Levy and up to 10% of the Levy revenue is allocated for this purpose annually.