Kempsey Shire Ecologically Sustainable Development (ESD) Strategy

Collage of various environmental, social and economic factors


What is Ecologically Sustainable Development (ESD)?

The concept of living sustainably within our environment is not new, in fact, it has been present throughout human history with some cultures practicing it better than others.

In short, ESD is about taking into account environmental, social and economic considerations in all decision making.

In 1992 Australia developed a National Strategy for Ecologically Sustainable Development (NSESD) which defines ecologically sustainable development (ESD) as:

'…using, conserving and enhancing the community's resources so that ecological processes, on which life depends, are maintained, and the total quality of life, now and in the future, can be increased'.

Why has Council prepared an ESD strategy?

Like the rest of the world, Kempsey Shire is approaching a critical turning point. For many years economic, environmental and social goals have been pursued in isolation from one another. However it is now understood that the long-term wellbeing of our Shire depends, as much on the promotions of a strong vibrant society and the ongoing repair and conservation of our environment, as it does on the pursuit of economic development.

Our challenge is to find new approaches to development that add to our environment and society now without degrading them over the longer term.

As a result Council, in consultation with a community based steering committee, has produced an ESD strategy specific to Kempsey Shire through which these goals can be achieved simultaneously without trade-offs or compromise. The strategy provides a means for establishing goals and achievable targets for a long-term coordinated approach to effective environmental, social and economic management within the Shire.


The practice of ESD is not optional. Council is bound by a number of legal requirements to implement the principles of ESD.

The Local Government Act 1993 (as amended 1997) requires Council to manage the environment of its area in a manner which is consistent with, and promotes, the principles of Ecologically Sustainable Development.

The Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979, in one of its stated objectives, encourages Ecologically Sustainable Development. Planning instruments developed under this Act should, therefore, be founded on the principles of ESD.

ESD Committee

Council established a community based team (known as the ESD Committee) to assist with the provision of advice and guidance to Council on the development of the Kempsey Shire Ecologically Sustainable Development (ESD) Strategy. This Committee was formed in May 2005, and met on a regular basis from September 2005 through to February 2007 to provide advice and guidance to Council on the development of the ESD Strategy. The Committee comprised 8 community representatives and 2 Councillors, with 2 Council staff acting as facilitators.

The community members were Roger Gammon, Riita Kytola, Robert Barnett, John Jeayes, Jenny Sproule, Barry Ramke, Douglas Head and Gerald Hoskins. Councillors on the Committee were Betty Green and John Bowell.

Community consultation

The development of the Kempsey Shire ESD Strategy included a comprehensive public consultation program. As the Draft Strategy was being developed by Council and the ESD Committee, working draft chapters were made available for initial community feedback, through Council’s website and in hard copy format at the Customer First Centre, each of the Shire Libraries and Crescent Head Country Club. Initial feedback was received and included where appropriate into the full draft Strategy, which was endorsed by the ESD Committee in August 2007.

The Strategy was subsequently reported to the November 2006 meeting of Council and endorsed for the purposes of public exhibition. The full draft Strategy was placed on formal public exhibition from 28 November 2006 to 15 February 2007. A community information session was held at the Council Chambers on 13 December 2006 and an information brochure distributed with the rates notice in January 2007. The community was invited to make a submission in writing, via e-mail and through a public exhibition form also distributed with the rates notice.

A total of 201 submissions were received throughout the informal and formal exhibition period. This included 183 completed and returned public exhibition form, plus 18 separate written submissions from other government agencies, ratepayer groups, community organisations and individuals.

Where is the strategy up to now?

Following the public exhibition period, all submissions were compiled and considered by the ESD Committee and Council for inclusion into the Final ESD Strategy. The Final Strategy was reported to Council for adoption in March 2007. Council voted to adopt the Final Strategy ‘in principle’ pending the outcome of budget deliberations throughout April and May 2007. Following finalisation of the 2007/08 budget in June 2007, a final review of the ESD Strategy took place to confirm all proposed actions are still able to be funded within the suggested timeframes. The Final Strategy was then reported to the July 2007 Council meeting and formally adopted in full and implementation of high priority actions will now commence.

The final document was placed on display at the Customer First Centre, Shire Libraries and on Council’s website for community reference during August 2007.

ESD Strategy Procedure flowchart

For further information contactSustainable Environment on (02) 6566 3200.