Tomorrow is world earth day; one of the biggest global movements that raises awareness on leading environmental issues and the ways society can protect and conserve our earth. Environmental conservation and sustainability play a big role within the public sector, as it impacts so much on local communities and their quality of life. Having access to clean, fresh water, green space to exercise and relax in and even the quality of the air we breathe is all dependent on our environment and the measures we put in place to help preserve and protect it.
As part of the Earth Day celebrations this year, President Biden has invited 40 world leaders (including Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison) to a virtual Leaders Summit aimed to underscore the urgency and the economic benefits of stronger climate action (The White House, 2021). While Australia is still yet to achieve its target of a 26-28% reduction in carbon emissions by 2030 (Knott, 2021) local councils and organisations within the public sector have been steadily doing their part and have been working on some exciting environmental initiatives – especially over the last year. In celebration of Earth Day, Public Sector People take a closer look at some of the recent projects within local councils across Australia dedicated to preserving our environment and improving the quality of life within their local communities:
Greening Sydney Strategy 2030
At the end of March, The City of Sydney released a new plan to cover 40% of the city in greenery by 2050; a plan which will focus on new and improved parks, green roofs and walls, streetscape gardening and 700 new street trees planted per year (Reedie, 2021).
Sydney’s Lord Mayor Clover Moore has said this latest proposal is a necessary action to help fight the planet’s climate crisis and benefit the quality of life for local residents and visitors to the city.
“Trees remove thousands of tonnes of pollution from our air, store carbon and help mitigate extreme weather, while also relieving stress, depression and anxiety. It is critical that we value everything our broad urban forest and greenery can do for us, and invest heavily in it,” she said in a recent press statement (Reedie, 2021).
This follows the launch of the research project Better Parks, Healthier for All  in June last year where researchers began collaborating with urban planners and policymakers to investigate the mental health and cardiometabolic benefits of green city spaces (Skatssoon, 2020). Meanwhile, a national survey conducted in Canada has revealed that 82% of citizens felt that parks had become more important to their mental health during the pandemic and 55% of cities had said park use had increased (Hoag, 2021).
Covid-19 was able to highlight the importance green spaces and parks play in urban communities and City of Sydney is acting on this to ensure a greener, calmer and more resilient city. To achieve this, the city’s green make-over will invest $377 into the development and renewal of existing parks and open spaces over the next 10 years. The strategy will also aim to increase canopy cover by 23% by 2030 and increase 40% of vegetation and green cover across the city by 2050. Furthermore, the council are focusing on creating greener, sustainable buildings moving forward and have set a target that all public and privately-owned properties provide 28% of green cover (Hartmann, 2021).
The strategy will also introduce Green Factor Scores3, an urban planning tool that evaluates and quantifies the amount and quality of urban greening a future project provides. To ensure greening is planned for and provided on private land, Green Factor Scores will be implemented into new planning controls moving forward. All projects will need to achieve a required score based on characteristics like the type of development, location and other site considerations.
This is a considerable long-term investment for City of Sydney Council and an exciting opportunity for urban planners, designers and policymakers within the environmental space to improve the quality of life within their local community.
Sunshine Coast Council’s Automated Waste Collection System
Sunshine Coast Council will be taking a nation-leading position on sustainability when they unveil Australia’s first underground automated general waste collection system, which is currently being installed in the new Maroochydore City Centre.
Automated underground rubbish systems are already in place across European and Asian cities including London, Singapore, Beijing and Stockholm but this will be the first project of its kind in Australia (Moore, 2021).
The project will include a 6.5km network of underground pipes that will move waste and recyclables from buildings and street bins within the new Maroochydore City Centre to a collection station via vacuum pressure at up to 70kmh. The collected material will then be transferred to disposal or recycling materials (Sunshine Coast Council, 2021).
By incorporating this innovative waste management strategy, the Sunshine Coast Council will be able to remove the need for waste collection trucks to lift wheelie bins, which alone alleviate traffic in the new CBD. The system will also help reduce litter, vermin and street cleaning costs and will be fully sealed to minimise odours.
Pipe installation for stage one of the project has already been completed and construction of stage two of the project, which includes further pipe installation and the overall project is estimated to be operational by June/July this year (Australian Government, 2021).
In addition to supporting the local community’s environmental and recycling efforts, the system is also supporting the local economy, with the construction of the automated system creating numerous job opportunities and paving the way for future projects being unveiled.
The managing director of Envac Australia Tony Kutra – the Swedish company that won the contract to build the waste disposal network- has said he has since been in talks with other Australian councils, governments, and developers of larger master-planned communities7(Moore, 2021). Watch this space!
City of Melbourne’s Fast-Tracked Bike Lanes
Mid-last year The City of Melbourne and the Victorian Government announced their decision to fast-track 40kms of new bicycle paths. The bicycle paths provide numerous benefits to the local Melbourne community, including alleviating congestion on main roads, providing a safer way for cyclists to travel and encouraging patrons to use their bikes as opposed to cars to get around. As of 2018, Transport was the second-largest source of emissions in Australia, producing 18% of the country’s emissions (Climate Council, 2018). Cars are responsible for almost half of these transport emissions, so providing people a safe and convenient way to cycle rather than drive, will go a long way in reducing Australia’s Greenhouse Gas emissions, not to mention improving the health and wellbeing of individual community members.
City of Melbourne took this fast-tracked project one step further, however, by being the first council to use recycled glass to create the protected barriers used along the new bike lanes and achieve zero-emission mobility. Approximately 15 to 30 kilograms of glass are going into each barrier, rather than ending up in landfill (City of Melbourne, 2020). Furthermore, the manufacturing company making these barriers was relocated from China to Geelong in 2016, to support local manufacturing and create local jobs. The City of Melbourne invested $16 million to deliver the first 20 kilometres of fast-tracked bike lanes in the second half of last year, with the remaining 20 kilometres being delivered this year (City of Melbourne, 2020).
The City of Greater Geelong’s innovative & Green Civic Precinct
The City of Greater Geelong meanwhile, has been experimenting with sustainable materials for their latest building projects. The council started construction on their new civic precinct last year, which will be home to the council’s new centralised administrative offices. However, this precinct is a building with a difference, as it will be made from cross-laminated timber (CLT), which has a lower embodied carbon footprint. Cross-laminated timber is an example of mass engineered timber (MET), an innovative construction alternative to steel and concrete that has been well- established throughout Europe but still relatively new to the Australian market.
There are multiple benefits for using MET including improved quality control due to the highly precise and automated manufacturing processes involved, while the fact that the material is prefabricated offsite, means it can achieve up to 35% in time savings at the project level (Building & Construction Authority, 2018). But its biggest advantage is its environmental impact. MET is harvested from sustainably managed forests and a tonne of timber will emit eight times less the amount of carbon than a tonne of concrete, while building costs can be reduced by up to 20% during construction (Building & Construction Authority, 2018).
The Geelong council wanted the project to be ‘green’ from day one, in order to be leaders within the market on low embodied carbon building and exemplify Geelong’s designation as a UNESCO City of Design (City of Greater Geelong, 2020).
The project is also a great boost for the local economy as 60% of the business material and inputs will be from local suppliers and businesses throughout the construction phase (which is expected to be completed in mid- 2022) and will consequently create 900 jobs approximately (The Fifth Estate, 2020).
These are just some of the many sustainably- led projects being unveiled and managed within the public sector across the country, especially within the urban design and planning space. To find out more about the job opportunities within this sector, you can click the link below to contact our designated planning and environment consultants or look at some of the current jobs they have available:
Looking for new opportunities within planning and environment? Click here:
The White House. (2021). President Biden Invites 40 World Leaders to Leaders Summit on Climate. Retrieved from: https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/statements-releases/2021/03/26/president-biden-invites-40-world-leaders-to-leaders-summit-on-climate/
 Knott, Matthew (2021). Australia To Use Biden Summit To Repair ‘Climate Wars’ Damage. The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved from: https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/statements-releases/2021/03/26/president-biden-invites-40-world-leaders-to-leaders-summit-on-climate/
 Reedie, Jarrod. (2021) Sydney’s Bold Plan To Go Green Goes Public. Architecture Design. Retrieved from: https://www.architectureanddesign.com.au/news/city-of-sydney-greening-sydney-2030#
 Skatssoon, Judy. (2020) $1.5m To Investigate Benefits Of Urban Green Spaces. Government News. Retrieved from: https://www.governmentnews.com.au/1-5m-to-investigate-benefits-of-urban-green-spaces/
 Hoag, Hannah. (2021). This Is Your Brain On Trees: Why Is Urban Nature So Good For Our Minds, And What Happens When A Pandemic Isolates Us From It? The Globe And Mail. Retrieved from: https://www.theglobeandmail.com/canada/article-this-is-your-brain-on-trees-why-is-urban-nature-so-good-for-our-minds/
 Hartmann, Imogen. (2021). Sydney To Get A Green Makeover. Infrastructure Magazine. Retrieved from: https://infrastructuremagazine.com.au/2021/03/23/sydney-to-get-green-makeover/
 Moore, Tony. (2021). Plan To Rid Australian City Of Rubbish Trucks Almost Ready To Suck. Brisbane Times. Retrieved from: https://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/national/queensland/plan-to-rid-australian-city-of-rubbish-trucks-almost-ready-to-suck-20210413-p57irq.html
 Sunshine Coast Council. (2021). Automated Waste Collection System. Retrieved from: https://www.sunshinecoast.qld.gov.au/Council/Planning-and-Projects/Infrastructure-Projects/Automated-Waste-Collection-System
 Australian Government- Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications. (2021). Automated Underground Waste Collection. Retrieved from: https://www.infrastructure.gov.au/cities/smart-cities/collaboration-platform/Underground-waste-collection.aspx
 Climate Council. (2018). Australia’s Rising Greenhouse Gas Emissions. Retrieved from: https://www.climatecouncil.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/CC_MVSA0143-Briefing-Paper-Australias-Rising-Emissions_V8-FA_Low-Res_Single-Pages3.pdf
 City of Melbourne. (2020). First Fast-Tracked Bike Lanes Installed. Retrieved from: https://www.melbourne.vic.gov.au/news-and-media/pages/first-fast-tracked-bike-lanes-installed.aspx
 Building & Construction Authority. (2018). Mass Engineered Timber. Retrieved from: https://www1.bca.gov.sg/buildsg/productivity/design-for-manufacturing-and-assembly-dfma/mass-engineered-timber#:~:text=Mass%20Engineered%20Timber%20(MET)%20is,for%20walls%2C%20floors%20and%20roofs.
 City of Greater Geelong. (2020). Mass Engineered Timber and The Civic Precinct. Retrieved from https://geelongaustralia.com.au/civicprecinct/article/item/8d7587c6991110d.aspx
 The Fifth Estate. (2020). Quintessential Equity Backs Geelong As Melbourne’s “Second City” Starts To Roar. Retrieved from: https://thefifthestate.com.au/innovation/building-construction/quintessential-equity-backs-geelong-as-melbournes-second-city-starts-to-roar/
Duration: Ongoing Immediate Start l Local Government Contract $61 - $67 per hour + Super Per Hour PSP is working with a prominent Local Government organisation looking to engage Senior Development Assessment Planner on an ongoing contract. Role: The assessment, , processing and determination of development applications, Section 4.55 applications and provide planning comment on applications for construction and building information certificates Written and verbal advice regarding land use, zoning, planning legislation, Council policy and procedures. Critical analysis of development proposals, predevelopment application meetings with the development industry Reporting to Council Local Planning Panel in response to submitted development applications Communication of allowable development opportunities of land and Council, State requirements and/or provisions affecting and regulating such development Tickets/Qualifications: Copy of up-to-date Vaccination Driver C License Relevant degree Town Planning with the eligibility for acceptance to the Planning Institude of Australia For a confidential discussion or to register your interest in Town Planning roles, please contact Wallentina Simmons at PSP on 0412 102 322. Alternatively, please e-mail your current resume in Word format to email@example.com
PSP is working with a large Local Government organisation. They are looking to engage an IR Business Partner on a 12 month contract role. Role: Provide end to end support on all operational Employee Relations and case management matters Provide a point of escalations for all Industrial Relations across the organisation Conduct formal investigations in response to workplace misconduct and/or grievances. Interpret and provide specialist advice in relation to the interpretation of industrial agreements and conditions. Lead specific Employment and Industrial relations projects Be a point of contact and representative for discussions, negotiations and hearings with Unions, State and Federal based Tribunals and Commissions and the Fair Work Ombudsman. Strong experience working in industrial and employee relations. For a confidential discussion or to register your interest in Human Resources roles, please contact Wallentina Simmons at PSP on 0412 102 322. Alternatively, please e-mail your current resume in Word format to firstname.lastname@example.org
12 Month Contract 37 hour week $70 per hour + super PSP is working with a Western Sydney Council, looking to engage an experience Development Engineer on an initial 12 Month contract. Role: Assess stormwater and flooding development applications to ensure they meet Council’s requirements, professional engineering standards and are of high quality Complete and review relevant drainage and flood models Provide technical advice to ensure compliance with Council’s relevant policies, technical standards and the NSW Floodplain Development Manual Liaise with and advise developers, architects, planners, engineers, designers, government agencies etc. with regards to engineering stormwater information and clarifying Council’s requirements in accordance with Council’s stormwater and integrated water management requirements and Engineering Guide for Development Experience: Experienced staff need only apply. Must have experience in assessing Development Assessment (DA) referrals - drainage/stormwater & flooding For a confidential discussion or to register your interest in Development Engineer roles, please contact Wallentina Simmons at PSP on 0412 102 322. Alternatively, please e-mail your current resume in Word format to email@example.com
PSP is working with a Local Government organisation looking to engage a Senior Landscape Architect on an initial 6 month contract. The Landscape Architect will project manage the design and development of key landscape masterplans, open space, playground, natural area, shade structure/ building and amenity projects. Duties: Develop a framework and detailed concept designs for key parkland and urban spaces Manage special projects arising from the Liveable Centres Program Prepare detailed designs and cost estimates Participate in community consultation processes Develop and document landscape master plans Provide a technical advisory service to other Departments of Council on environmental and landscape matters. Skills: Qualifications in Landscape Architecture or recognised equal in related design field; Current Class C driver's licence; White Card. Experience or demonstrated skills in all stages of open space planning, urban renewal and environmental improvement projects; High-level skills and experience in design and documentation using AutoCAD For a confidential discussion or to register your interest in Landscape Architect roles, please contact Wallentina Simmons at PSP on 0412 102 322. Alternatively, please e-mail your current resume in Word format to firstname.lastname@example.org
Public Sector People are inviting expressions of interest from Town Planning professionals seeking Local Government opportunities. As an approved supplier to councils within NSW, we are actively seeking industry experienced planning professionals to fulfill long and short term contract roles. We work with a number of leading public sector organisations in both metro Sydney and rural NSW and have positions at all levels. If you have already had public sector experience and are seeking your next contract opportunity, please register with us today! Requirements include: Tertiary qualifications, at degree level in Urban Planning or related discipline. Experience in the assessment and resolution of planning, heritage and urban design issues associated with development applications, preferably in local government. Strong communication skills and an ability to balance a broad range of stakeholder needs and customer expectations. Benefits include: Flexible working hours, secure the elusive work/life balance. Attractive hourly rates. Gain valuable experience within progressive councils. Work with a recruitment consultant who has been recruiting planners in Local Government for the last three years. For a confidential discussion or to register your interest in planning roles, please contact Wallentina Simmons at PSP on 0412 102 322. Alternatively, please e-mail your current resume in Word format to email@example.com
Public Sector People are working with a local metro council on the recruitment of a Band 5 statutory planner for a contract role. This council are undergoing massive growth and this is a great opportunity for a planner seeking exposure to growth area planning. You will be joining a team with an excellent culture, very friendly and supportive. This council have a strong customer service focus, so would suit a planner who knows the importance of providing a first class service to applicants and residents. You will be managing a caseload of basic applications, residential, industrial and commercial. This role is suitable for someone with at least six months local government experience. You will be working a hybrid model with 2-3 days per week in the office, the rest from home. This is a fantastic council to join from both a cultural perspective and for career development. Requirements include: Tertiary qualification in Town Planning, Urban Studies, Environmental Planning or related discipline. Local Government experience, ideally within Victoria. Excellent customer service skills and ensure a great experience for applicants. Benefits include: Excellent team culture and plenty of support provided. Working from home and Office balance. A council with diverse planning issues, not just rescode. For a confidential discussion regarding this position and other planning opportunities within Metropolitan and Regional Victoria, please contact Emma Murphy at PSP on (03) 8535 3111. Alternatively, please e-mail your current resume in Word format using the link below.
PSP are currently working with a metro Council in the North Eastern suburbs who are seeking an experienced Band 5 or experienced Band 6 planner for a period of six months. This is a busy metro council, you will be responsible for managing a caseload of applications, along with undertaking phone and counter duty. The applications will vary, you will gain exposure to residential, commercial, industrial and heritage. This is a contract role in a busy council and it is very likely to be extended. Open to part-time or flexible work arrangements, will be a hybrid model with two to three days working from home. Requirements include: Tertiary qualification in Town Planning, Urban Studies, Environmental Planning or related discipline. Experience working with Victorian Planning Scheme, ideally in a metropolitan context. Benefits include: Secure a six month contract before end of financial year. $50 – 65 p/h depending on experience. Flexible hours / days to suit you. Please apply with your current resume. For a confidential discussion regarding this position and other opportunities within Metropolitan and Regional Victoria, please contact Emma Murphy at PSP (03) 8535 3111. .
PSP are currently working with a peri-urban council on the recruitment of a Band 5 Statutory Planner for a 6 month contract. You will be responsible for managing a caseload of applications and will perform counter/phone duty on a rotational basis. Your level of experience will dictate the complexity of applications you will be responsible for. This council is undergoing a massive growth and redevelopment period and will be a fantastic learning curve for an ambitious and enthusiastic planner. This council operate a hybrid working model so you will be in the office twice a week, or more if you prefer. The office is based approx. one hour 30 mins from CBD, in the South East. Requirements include: Tertiary qualification in Town Planning, Urban Studies, Environmental Planning or related discipline. High level customer service skills, measured on KPIs in accordance with “Same Day Service” methodology. Some previous planning experience within Local Government, State Government or a consultancy. Benefits include: Enhance your planning experience at a growth area Council on the cusp of Metro Victoria. Secure a 6 month contract. No day the same with a variety of application queries from a diverse community. Great experience and team culture, develop your own career and opportunities. For a confidential discussion regarding this position and other planning opportunities within Metropolitan and Regional Victoria, please contact Emma Murphy at PSP on (03) 8535 3111. Alternatively, please e-mail your current resume in Word format using the link below.
Public Sector People are working with a large regional council who are seeking a Statutory Planner at a Band 5 level. This is a 12 month contract. You will join a large planning team covering a large range of applications, residential, industrial, heritage, native vegetation and bushfire management overlays. This is a busy council with a strong focus on customer service. You will be managing a caseload of basic applications, along with phone and counter duty. This is a busy regional hub, and would be a great opportunity for a planner with regional experience who would like to move to a bigger council or to a planner who wants a variety of applications and a change from Metro Melbourne. You can avail of a hybrid model with 2-3 days in the office or can consider a fully remote working set up. Requirements include: Tertiary qualification in Town Planning, Urban Studies, Environmental Planning or related discipline. Strong written and verbal communication skills. Local Government experience within Victoria, ideally with exposure to Regional planning. Benefits include: 12 month contract. Varied workload with some interesting applications to sink your teeth into. Hybrid working arrangements or fully remote, depending on your situation. Can offer full-time or part-time. For a confidential discussion regarding this position and other planning opportunities within Metropolitan and Regional Victoria, please contact Emma Murphy at Public Sector People on (03) 8535 3111. Alternatively, please e-mail your current resume in Word format using the link below.
Public Sector People are working with a local council council on the recruitment of an Environmental Health Officer. This is an initial three month contract but likely to extend. You will be able to demonstrate your excellent industry knowledge and previous experience working for a Local Council as an EHO. You will be able to competently complete registered premises inspections whilst communicating with local proprietors in a professional manner. This role will pay $45 - $50p/h + super for candidates at a Band 6 level with previous local government experience. You will be working on Customer complaint investigations Public Health and Wellbeing Act inspections Food Act inspections Pandemic Team support Health promotion support and program implementation and development Customer engagement and setting expectations Requirements include: Suitable qualifications – Bachelor of Applied Science or Health Science (Environmental Health) – or recognised equivalency Current Victorian driver licence. A tertiary qualification in environmental health or equivalent is required and experience in the field is highly desirable however, graduates are encouraged to apply. For a confidential discussion regarding this opportunity or other Environmental Health roles within public sector, please contact Emma Murphy on (03) 8535 3111 | Emma@publicsectorpeople.com.au.
Public Sector People are working with a Council, South East of Melbourne who require a Report and Consent Officer with some experience working within the Public Sector. This role reports into the Municipal Building Surveyor but is suited to someone with a planning or building background. Your core role will be to co-ordinate the Report and Consent (dispensation) function of Council under the Building Regulations 2018, advertise applications when required and follow up and communicate with respondents whilst maintaining the relevant computer database. This is suited to someone in planning or building who wants to transition into the public sector or someone who wants to develop their knowledge of the report and consent aspect of planning and building. Open to fully remote working and/or part-time hours. Requirements include: Tertiary qualification in Town Planning, Urban Studies, Environmental Planning or related discipline. Strong communication skills. Experience using Trapeze is highly desirable. Benefits include: Short contract until 30th of June Option to work fully remotely Round out your experience at a metropolitan Council. $45 - 55 per hour plus super, depending on experience. For a confidential discussion regarding this position and other planning opportunities within Metropolitan and Regional Victoria, please contact Emma Murphy at Public Sector People on (03) 8535 3111. Alternatively, please e-mail your current resume in Word format using the link below.