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Lower Georges River Urban Sustainability Initiative

LGRSI Logo Hurstville City Council  
Kogarah City Council Rockdale City Council








This project has been assisted by the New South Wales Government through its Environmental Trust.

Related Documents

pdf icon LGRSI Winter 2011 Update (3.65MB)

pdf icon LGRSI update, Autumn 2011 (4.57MB)

pdf icon LGRSI Update Dec 2010 (3.32MB)

pdf icon LGRSI Update June 2010 (1.23MB)

pdf icon LGRSI Annual Report 2010 (989.30kB)

pdf icon Progress Reporting Template (8.24kB)

The Lower Georges River Sustainability Initiative (LGRSI) is a response to long-standing Georges River Combined Councils’ Committee (GRCCC) objectives for its River Ecosystems Program. Partners with GRCCC in the project are Hurstville City Council, Kogarah City Council, Rockdale City Council, Sutherland Shire Council, and Greater Sydney Local Land Services.

LGRSI Ends its 3-year program

The Lower Georges River Sustainability Initiative finished its three-year run in June, and is reflecting upon its successful projects.

The project worked within the four councils to build their capacity to adopt sustainable policies and practices. Through a focus on sustainable urban water management, council staff has developed awareness and technical skills needed to design and build water-sensitive developments. Councils also developed sustainable purchasing and events policies, and assessed their own effectiveness in managing for sustainability in local government. Six local community groups conducted environmental projects through in partnership with the LGRSI. Carss Park Community Garden, Food Connect Sydney, Oatley Flora and Fauna, St George Migrant Resource Centre, St George Community Housing and Permaculture Sydney South engaged their members and local communities in projects, and each now has a plan for future activities to promote sustainable living.

“We are now evaluating the project’s outcomes, and we’re finding that the councils and community groups we worked with can demonstrate better planning toward sustainability,” said LGRSI Program Manager Col Freeman. “The feedback has confirmed that building capacity within existing communities of like-minded people can address many barriers to change.”

To read the media release: pdf icon LGRSI Ends its Run, July 2012 (326.21kB)

To read an illustrated executive summary of the final report: pdf icon LGRSI Illustrated Executive Summary (8.51MB)


University NSW teams up with LGRSI and SMCMA on benthic sampling research in the Georges River Estuary

University NSW researchers conducted an environmental assessment of benthic foraminifera (organisms living on the seabed) life and distribution in the Georges River. This community lives in or near marine sedimentary environments, surviving on organic matter which drifts down from higher up in the water column or from onshore runoff. Benthic organisms play an important part in the food chain for fish and humans. View the research paper conducted by UNSW and published Nov 2011: pdf icon Distribution and Occurrence of Benthic Foraminifera in the Georges River (4.60MB) 


LGRSI and Marine Industries Association team up to make Estuary Open Day a Success

The first Georges River Estuary Open Day brought together a mix of boaters, fishers, families and river recreationists to enjoy a host of activities. The purpose of the Open Day was to show what businesses and residents can do to preserve and enjoy the river. Many of the River's environmental and fisheries programs were on hand to engage visitors about programs lending a hand in healthy waterways, fisheries, marine activities, education opportunities, recreation and volunteering. The Open Day was held on Saturday 29 October at St George Motor Boat Club in Sans Souci (Rockdale).

The St George Motor Boat Club received accreditation into the Clean Marinas Program by the Marine Industries Association of Australia (MIAA) project manager, Colin Bransgrove. St George Motor Boat Club president Cess Quilkie received the award. Seven other Georges River marinas have been provided with instruction on how to align their operations with Clean Marinas criteria.

Watch a video of the Georges River Estuary Open Day!


Community Partnerships Program:

Oatley Flora & Fauna
Lena H @ Food Connect
Carss Park Community Garden
St George Migrant Resource Centre, Linking Communities through Permaculture
Oyster Farmers & EMS w/ OceanWatch

Oatley Flora and Fauna Society held a second round of Birds and Backyards workshops, inAugust at Carss Park Community Gardens, and 17 September at Illawong RFB at Alfords Point. BIBY workshops were a great success in March and April, with participants receiving a free selection of native plants. OFF members made 7 personal visits to participants’ backyards to provide assistance on landscaping their gardens for small bird habitat.

OFF also held two bird walks, in April and May. A total of 22 people attended. Sixteen members of RAIN (Resourceful Australian Indian Network) visited Oatley Park last June where OFF vice president Alan Fairley discussed the history of Oatley Park and took a short walk to look at native plants and sample ‘bush tucker.’ For more information, contact 

Sydney Food Connect  The social enterprise Food Connect, Sydney has expanded its reach in the St George area by developing a partnership with Hurstville Council and Carss Park Community Garden. Every Thursday, Hurstville Library receives boxes of fruit and vege to service local subscribers. To view the media release for this partnership, click here doc icon Food Connect / Hurstville media release (779.50kB)

Food Connect recently conducted a study of its value to the communities it serves as a measure of social change and economic investment called Social Return on Investment. The study found Food Connect, Sydney to be 8:1 in return value on every dollar invested. In May, Food Connect hosted a farm tour and lunch for subscribers. Staff look to increase visibility through public tastings, ‘paddock to plate’ events, and farm tours. For more information, contact

Carss Park Community Garden continues to be busy. Two more beds have been built, including a raised garden bed which is wheelchair accessible (pictured), and a new water line was completed by Kogarah Council in May. Oatley Flora & Fauna facilitated Birds in Backyards workshops in April and in August, and a No Dig Gardening / Compost workshop was held in May. St George Migrant Resource Centre held a site tour in June, and Food Connect has begun delivering boxes of locally sourced produce to participants. CPCG has also undergone an assessment of its sustainability practices and have incorporated those into its core business. For more information, contact

St George Migrant Resource Centre / Inner Soutwest Community Development Organisation have developed a community-driven project called Linking Communities Through Permaculture which aims to proactively unite sustainable living, permaculture and info-sharing among CALD and community housing groups in the St George and Sutherland Shire areas. The project has begun identifying leaders for each of their capacity building trainings with CALD communites and social housing groups. Sessions will be held in each of 3 languages in leadership, balcony gardening, and permaculture design. In the coming quarter the project will conduct cross-cultural materials - such as recipe books and cooking demonstrations - in several languages. Enterprise development classes will continue, with a specific focus on food security and marketing hand-made goods.

Permaculture Sydney South has developed a strategic plan which encompasses community engagement and training, communication and marketing, leadership in permaculture and an organisational health and growth plan. The Plan is called The Death Valley Suburban Vitality Project, 2011-2014. Apart from various capacity building and in-house resource development, the group plans to facilitate a community vision for a sustainable suburb.

     Sustainable Urban Water Management Action Plan:

        • Water Sensitive Urban Design Action Plan group and planning workshops took place for 4 councils;
        • Identification of next steps and resource needs for each council.
          Executive engagement is underway;
        • 4 Councils developing WSUD Action Plans and engaging executive support;
        • $900,000 approved for on-ground works;
        • To find out more about WSUD projects and resources, visit

Organisational Effectiveness Action Plan:

        • Organisational Profiling in 4 councils;
        • Identification of next steps and resource needs for each council.

NRM Integration Action Plan:

        • Mapping of current project/program overlap and integration;
        • Joint meetings to discuss current programs and plans;
        • Identification of next steps and resource needs for each organisation.

    The Desired Outcomes of the LGRSI:

        • More effective organisational arrangements within partner councils (to enable and enhance sustainable practices);
        • More effective urban water management;
        • More integrated planning and implementation of Natural Resource Management programs within the Lower Georges River catchment;
        • More sustainable practices (ie behaviour) of community and business;
        • Improved bushland, biodiversity and riparian health.