News: Music town Tamworth's clean act

As Keep Australia Beautiful celebrates 40 years of Tidy Town awards.

News: Music town Tamworth's clean act
Tamworth Regional council

"About nine tip trucks of recycling is diverted from landfill during the 10 days"

Australia’s country music capital, Tamworth, NSW, was recognised as Australia’s Tidiest Town for 2009 at the annual Keep Australia Beautiful Australian Tidy Towns Awards. The Tidy Town awards, now in its 40th year, acknowledges local communities who work to improve their city's environment.

According to Tamworth Regional Council spokesperson, Ann Newling, the northern NSW city has participated in the program since 1981,
officially set up an organising management committee in 1989.

"We have won numerous awards since then, including the overall state award for the top Tidy Town in 2000 and again in 2008. We’ve also won the Friendly Town award about four times in the last few years and we pride ourselves on presenting a friendly face to strangers and new neighbours," says Ann.

Tamworth’s environmental efforts escalate as 50,000 visitors descend on the city for its famous annual music event: The Tamworth Country Music Festival, in January each year. During the festival, musician Troy Cassar-Daley fronts the campaign.

"[Troy] has been our 'Don't Waste Tamworth' ambassador for eight years during the country music festival each January and is a committed and active environmentalist and sustainable communities supporter," explains Ann.

"The festival obviously generates a huge amount of waste, [but through the efforts of the initiative] about nine tip trucks of recycling is diverted from landfill during the 10 days. Troy beats the drum for fans and residents to help contribute to that message."

But Tamworth's environmental efforts don't end there. The city is enjoying enormous success with its ‘Ban the Bulb’ program, which has resulted in the installation of
energy efficient lighting in almost every home within the council - an Australian first.

"We've had extensive clean-up campaigns in our public spaces and camping areas too, mainly through the council’s crews but with a lot of helping hands from volunteers and the committee," – says Ann. A committee that's now 355-person strong. Ann says members are encouraging tourism and recreation within these public spaces. "In some areas, this has extended to upgraded facilities and expanded beautification works," she says.

Tamworth’s Oxley Park and Victoria Park are the latest precincts set to benefit from the campaign: "[the council and the committee's proposed] work will include the Botanic Gardens, Marsupial Park and bird aviary, Kamilaroi Walking Trail, Oxley Lookout and Miniature Railway.

"The Botanic Gardens is being extended again from its latest project of interconnected ponds, waterfalls and walkways to include specialist garden areas including an indigenous Care for Country zone, a dam and bush tracks."