Completing Ness

Background Information & Documentation for the Public Forum are here.

NESSiE is now coordinating a second stage of work to extend and complete the New England Sustainability Strategy. This work will take place over the twelve months to February 2011.

This work is funded by The NSW Environmental Trust and supported by Armidale Dumaresq, Guyra, Walcha and Uralla Local Government Authorities.

PUBLIC FORUM: Completing the New England Sustainability Strategy

Work on the New England Sustainability Strategy began in 2008. Since that time nearly 1,000 people have participated in forums, workshops, meetings, surveys and discussions to identify key priorities for us to achieve the purpose of becoming a sustainable region by the year 2108.

At a recent workshop a wide range of stakeholders measured the sustainability of the New England for the first time. The conclusion was that we are quite a way off being sustainable ~ and overall our social, environmental and economic systems are being degraded ~ the consensus was that our sustainability has 'marginally improved' in the last two years.

On this promising note you are invited to join with 101 people for the second major NESS Public Forum and participate in the completion of our highly innovative 'whole of region and whole of community' sustainability strategy.

When: Monday 6 December, 8.30am for 9am start to 5pm
Where: Armidale Town Hall, Rusden Street, Armidale
Food: Lunch, morning & afternoon tea (please advise any dietary requirements)
Cost: $30 to cover costs (Waiver available on request)
RSVP: Wednesday 1 December 2010, Adam Blakester 6775 2501 | 0419 808 909 | gro.sesirpretnehsifrats|mada#gro.sesirpretnehsifrats|mada

The key dates and events have been:
17 June Bundarra Community Sustainability Forum
22 June Uralla Community Sustainability Forum
14 Sept Guyra Community Sustainability Forum
15 Sept Walcha Community Sustainability Forum
20 Sept Sustainability Scorecard Workshop (NERAM)
7 Nov Awakening the Dreamer Symposium (Armidale)
8 Nov New England Sustainability Public Forum (NERAM)

More details for each of these initiatives is provided below and here is a visual map of the processes involved. You can click on the map to open it as a PDF file (83Kb size).


Expression of Interest

To discuss this further or register your interest contact Adam Blakester, Convenor on (02) 6775 2501, 0419 808 900 or ten.yalpmgidarap|mada#ten.yalpmgidarap|mada.


The New England Sustainability Strategy (NESS) is a whole of community governance model and approach to sustainability: bringing together the wide array of stakeholders to identify their shared vision for the New England to be sustainable, the strategies to achieve this vision, and the measures to assess performance and progress.

In 2009 the four LGA's (Armidale, Walcha, Guyra & Uralla) together with the New England Sustainability Strategy Executive (NESSiE) successfully applied for funding with the New Environmental Trust to extend and complete NESS, develop a model for integration with LGA planning systems and determine an appropriate governance structure for NESS.

This work will build upon the high level of community participation, support and ownership already generated during the first stage of work on NESS. Since late 2008 more than 500 people, businesses and organisations have directly been involved – both through the foundation work on the Strategy itself and through NESS initiatives such as the Farming the Sun (solar power, solar hot water and sustainable home heating) and the YOUth LEADing Australia Congress.

This work builds upon the 'Foundation Strategy' which was developed from the work undertaken in late 2008. A copy of this can be downloaded here FoundationReport_Final.pdf (PDF file size 4Mb).


The purpose and three objectives for this project in order of their relative size within the overall scope of work are:

  • Extend and complete the collaborative development of the New England Sustainability Strategy (NESS);
  • Develop a replicable model for the integration of NESS, and other similar initiatives such as the Local Adaptation Pathways and Climate Consensus Projects, into local government planning, management and reporting systems; and,
  • Finalise the governance structure for the New England Sustainability Strategy Executive (NESSiE).

The outcomes of this work include:

  • Improved community knowledge of sustainability;
  • Improved sustainability performance of key stakeholders;
  • Improved sustainability performance of local government stakeholders by integrating major sustainability strategies and initiatives into planning, management and reporting systems;
  • Improved sustainability of the New England Region - environmental, social and economic - through continued implementation of priority initiatives such as Farming the Sun.

Community Engagement

There are two streams for direct community engagement and participation:

  1. Participation in Local Sustainability Forums (Walcha, Guyra, Uralla and Bundarra) which includes both formal roles (Convenors, Community Representatives) and wider community attendees; and,
  2. Involvement at the Public Sustainability Forum as part of SLEx '10.

A comprehensive media and communications strategy will compliment these streams of engagement, utilising this wiki (DotNESS), blogs, email, mainstream media and other communication streams.

Key stakeholders are also included in each of these engagement processes and additionally will be invited to participate in a Regional Sustainability Roundtable.

The process map detailed above outlines the key details and outcomes for the community and stakeholder engagement.

The process also details how the various engagements will inform the collaborative extension, development and finalisation of the New England Sustainability Strategy. In simple terms this will entail:

  • Local Sustainability Forums to review the NESS Foundation Strategy and go through the same process as the SLEx '08 Public Forum to identify strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, challenges and priorities for action. These outcomes will be reviewed by the Convenor and Community Representatives before being integrated with the 'foundation' strategy maps;
  • The New England Sustainability Roundtable will integrate NESS with existing initiatives and develop a Regional Sustainability Scorecard & KPi Framework. It is envisaged this Roundtable will continue to meet annually or bi-annually to provide an ongoing review and planning mechanism (more details follow below); and,
  • The Penultimate Strategy will then be prepared from the above outcomes together with the other streams of work – DotNESS contributions, blogs, the governance model and LGA integration work.
  • The Public Forum during SLEx '10 will review and refine the Penultimate Strategy which will then be finalised for stakeholder review.

In parallel with these processes the governance model for NESS will be researched and conclusions will be identified for implementation as part of the Strategy itself.

New England Sustainability Scorecard & Roundtable

Key regional stakeholders will be invited to participate in the development of a New England Sustainability Scorecard and Key Performance Indicator (KPi) Framework.

A New England Sustainability Roundtable will be convened for this purpose and enable a wide range of stakeholders to collaboratively design the Scorecard with the purpose of being able to measure and monitor the sustainability of the Region, inform the identification of priority initiatives and assess the impacts from their implementation.

The regional Sustainability Roundtable performs a review function – identifying lessons in regards to what is working, what isn't working, and what's nearly working that can be improved – as well being a generative space to identify emerging opportunities and challenges across the wider landscape.

In this way key stakeholders can explore priorities and potential opportunities laying foundations for further partnerships and collaborations to enable some of the initiatives, supporting further integration and alignment of efforts.

It is envisaged that the New England Sustainability Roundtable could meet on an annual or bi-annual basis, probably as part of the Sustainable Living Expo, informing the governance, performance and priorities for NESSiE.

The combined affect of these functions is envisaged to significantly enhance, without compromising, existing stakeholder governance arrangements – providing options, alternatives and opportunities to further the sustainability of the New England without in any way obliging this. Stakeholders will be asked to take all care in this role, however formal responsibility remains the domain of their own governance and decision making processes.

A useful metaphor to visualise this model is to think of the transition to sustainability as a wheel made up of many spokes, or stakeholders. The purpose of the Roundtable is to enhance the alignment, integration and capabilities of all the spokes – both individually and collectively – and in so support the shift to sustainability. The wheel is a mechanism for the numerous stakeholders in sustainability to identify priority strategies and actions, with NESS being a 'hub' for collaborative and partnered initiatives to address these priorities.

Briefing Paper for Round Table

Governance & Coordination

The completion of the New England Sustainability Strategy will be coordinated by NESSiE applying a similar approach to the foundation stage of work, which is collaborative and participatory to involve the widest possible range of key stakeholders. A broad involvement of stakeholders and the wider community will be achieved through 4 citizens' juries across the Region, a Public Forum as part of the Sustainable Living Expo '10, use of online forums, blogs and wikis, plus high profile media and communications.

NESSiE will meet at key times during the course of the Project to perform this governance and coordination function, supported by regular electronic communication.

Members of NESSiE will also have key roles in the implementation of the Project Plan, particularly in areas of design and facilitation of forums, meetings and other engagement processes, plus further research into sustainability.

The key performance indicators, in addition to satisfactory delivery of outcomes, are:

  • Number of participants and contributors;
  • Public profile generated;
  • Quality of community and stakeholder input into NESS;
  • Clarity of the New England Sustainability Strategy strategic plan;
  • LGA and NESSiE Agreement;
  • Number of Letters of Support;
  • Clarity and appropriateness of governance structure for NESS implementation; and,
  • Complete and accurate Project Report

Reports to NSW Environmental Trust (Funding Body)

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