Council is involved with providing an extensive range of services in the Environment area. As well as the Natural Resources Management, Pest Plants and Animals, Urban Stormwater Management and Litter grouping listed on the page, further information can be found in the Sustainable Living and Waste Services pages.
Council works hard within the realms of its responsibility to protect and improve Ararat’s natural environment. Council have been involved in many projects to plant native trees, reduce roadside pest plants and animals, improve stormwater quality and stop scouring of waterways and stop litter and waste spoiling the environment. Council have developed an Environmental Sustainability Strategy, which provides Council’s key actions relating to environmental priorities.
Native vegetation removal in Victoria is subject to State and Federal legislation and in many cases, Council are the first point of call or the agency that follows up people who have not complied with their obligations.
Generally, pest plants (weeds) and pest animals are the responsibility of the landowner and follow up is provided by the Department of Primary Industries. On roadsides, the peak body for Victorian councils, known as the Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV) is in negotiation with the State Government in relation to responsibility. Recent legislative changes appear to have brought responsibility across from the adjoining landowner to the relevant Council. Unless, Councils are adequately compensated, this will lead to significant rate increases to cover the costs of this change. In the interim, until this is resolved, the State Government have provided some limited funding to map pest plants and animals and treat priority weeds. Council is very appreciative of the many partnerships it has made that assist in treating this issue.
Waterways are generally the responsibility of the Catchment Management Authority. The northern area of the municipality (Wimmera catchment) is controlled by the Wimmera Catchment Management Authority and the southern (Hopkins catchment) is controlled by the Glenelg Hopkins Catchemnt Management Authority.
Stormwater from properties and roadways travels virtually untreated into the creeks, rivers and waterways. Care must be taken to ensure nutrients, litter and other waste do not get into the water flow to harm these critical resources. Council does provide litter traps at many waterway entry points and street sweeping to minimise gross pollutants entering waterways, but relies largely on the community to do the right thing.
The Grampians Regional Waste Management Group was one of the first groups to create a litter strategy. Council provides street litter bins, many on which incorporate a cigarette butt receptacle. Littering and dumped rubbish offences are followed up by Council’s Local Laws Officers. Littering on Federal and State Highways is the responsibility of Vicroads. Littering from vehicles can be reported directly via the Litter Hotline 1800 352555. Council has also developed a program to reduce Cigarette Butt littering.