What is sustainability?

Sustainability is about keeping environmental, social and economic systems in balance. To live sustainably, we need to meet our own needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet theirs.

Sustainability requires us to consider the interconnectedness of the environment, our community and the economy and understand the short- and long-term consequences of our actions. 

What we are doing

We want a healthy and safe community now and into the future and continue to build sustainability into planning and delivery of community infrastructure and services. 

Kempsey Shire Council is developing a Sustainability and Resilience Strategy incorporating community values, opinions and ideas and plan for a more resilient, sustainable future. 

Long-Term Renewable Energy and Water Strategy

Kempsey Shire Council has already adopted a Long-Term Renewable Energy and Water Strategy(PDF, 6MB) to reduce its carbon footprint. The strategy aligns with state and federal government plans and identifies opportunities for Council to improve its energy and water efficiency and reduce operating costs.

Key opportunities in the strategy include:

  • installing more solar panels at Council-operated sites, particularly Council’s Civic Centre, and progressing to larger solar systems with battery storage when feasible
  • sourcing more electricity from renewables
  • investing in data management systems to enable energy monitoring and inform decision making
  • conducting a trial of electric and hybrid vehicles and investigating electric vehicle charging infrastructure.

Council has already taken steps to reduce its demand for energy and water by:

  • installing a 50 kW solar PV system at the Kempsey Shire Council Depot
  • upgrading streetlights to LED technology
  • upgrading lighting at the South West Rocks and Central Kempsey sporting complexes to LED technology
  • installing solar hot water heating at some tourist parks 
  • fixing leaks across Council’s potable water network
  • equipping the South West Rocks water treatment plant with several energy efficient variable speed drives to control treatment and pumping processes 
  • upgrading lighting throughout the Civic Centre to LED technology.


Read about the Kempsey Shire Council strategies, programs and actions that support sustainability in the following documents:

What you can do

Living more sustainably has all sorts of benefits. Apart from the obvious advantages for the environment, there are plenty of personal gains to be made in taking a sustainable approach at home, at work and when you travel.

Below we've compiled tips and ideas to help you increase the sustainability of your everyday activities. In most cases, these actions will also help you save money, connect with your community and improve your health and quality of life. 



Electrical appliances account for about 30 per cent of energy use in the home. Switching to energy-efficient appliances can significantly cut your power bills.

Remember, the more stars you see on an appliance’s energy rating label, the cheaper your appliance will be to run. You can compare appliances at

If you hold a government-issued concession card, you may be eligible for a rebate when you replace an old appliance with a new, more energy-efficient appliance. Read more about the NSW Government’s Appliance Replacement Offer.



There are many simple things you can do to reduce your energy bills, and why not borrow a Save Energy Kit from the library? Available for borrowing free of charge, these kits contain devices that can help you measure energy use, running costs and temperatures in your house. 

To reduce your electricity consumption, you can:

  • insulate your roof and walls
  • switch to LED globes
  • seal draughts around doors and windows
  • switch off appliances at the wall – using standby power can cost hundreds of dollars per year
  • set your air conditioning thermostat a little lower – somewhere between 18 and 20 degrees
  • ensure your fridge temperature is between 3 and 5 degrees and your freezer temperature is between -15 and -18 degrees
  • use cold water cycles in your washing machine
  • use window coverings such as curtains, shutters or blinds to keep a stable temperature inside.

Solar power

More than two million Australian households have now installed solar panels, and in Kempsey Shire nearly 25% of households have solar panels. Solar photovoltaic (PV) systems are usually mounted on your roof and convert energy from sunlight into direct current (DC) energy.

Although solar systems have an initial up-front cost, they will save you money in the long run. The SunSPoT solar potential tool is an online solar savings calculator that shows what solar and batteries can do for you.

The NSW Government is also running a trial to help low-income households access clean energy and reduce their power costs. If you are eligible, a solar system could be installed at your home for free and potentially cut your electricity bill by up to $600 a year. Read more about the Solar for Low Income Households trial.

Other renewable energy options

GreenPower is a government-managed program that gives households and businesses access to certified renewable energy. Whether you own your home or you are renting, using GreenPower means you will create less carbon pollution and your money will go towards supporting renewable energy generation in Australia. Contact your electricity provider or go to for more information.



The less food we waste, the better it is for our environment and our hip pocket. On average, households in New South Wales throw out $77 worth of food each week. This costs $4000 per year per household. For ideas on reducing food waste, visit our Kitchen caddy and food waste page.

Growing your own food or buying local produce in season can benefit your health while also reducing your environmental impact. You can find fresh, affordable, locally grown food through farmers’ markets, community box systems and farm gate sales. Visit the Macleay Valley Food Bowl website.


Heating and cooling

The way you heat and cool your home has a large impact on your electricity consumption. To lower your power bills, you can:

  • insulate your home. A well-insulated home is up to 10°C warmer in winter and 7°C cooler in summer.
  • use ceiling fans rather than air conditioning
  • close doors to minimise the area you are heating or cooling 
  • use smaller appliances, such as portable heaters. Warm clothing, a hot water bottle or heat pack can also keep you comfortable without the need to turn on an appliance. 

To find out how to make your home more sustainable and reduce your energy use in the long term, visit the NSW Government’s website on creating an environmentally sustainable home


Hot water

Around 21% of the energy used in the home is for water heating. You can save money and energy by installing a solar or heat pump hot water system. 

Visit the Choice website for advice on buying the right hot water system for you. 



If you are building or renovating, there are many simple and cost-effective ways you can make your home sustainable, and they don’t have to cost the earth. To find out more, visit the Your Home website.



Changing the way you light your home can cut your power bills significantly. For little or no cost, you can:

  • upgrade your light globes to LED lights
  • use the lowest wattage globes to adequately light the area you are using
  • use programmable timers, daylight sensors or motion sensors so that your outdoor and security lights only turn on when needed
  • turn off the lights whenever you leave a room
  • open your blinds and curtains to maximise natural light.

For more information, visit



Swimming pool pumps are one of the most energy-hungry appliances, accounting for up to 30 per cent of your household energy consumption. 

By upgrading to a more energy-efficient pump, you can reduce your pool’s energy use by up to 60 per cent and save up to $320 a year on your electricity bills. Ausgrid’s Swimming Pool Efficiency guide has more tips to improve the energy efficiency of your pool.



The Macleay Sustainable Schools Network provides learning opportunities, tools, resources, inspiration and support to help develop and enhance school sustainability initiatives.


Walking and riding a bike are ideal ways to reduce your environmental impact, as they benefit your health and don’t generate air pollution or carbon emissions.

When you must drive, using a hybrid or electric car will reduce your fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. If you need to buy a car, check the Australian Government’s Green Vehicle Guide to compare the local air pollution and greenhouse emissions of different vehicles on the market.

To learn about electric cars or find electric vehicle charging stations throughout Australia, visit



Kempsey Shire Council’s Waste Team is committed to helping you waste less and recycle more. Call the Waste Hotline on 1300 342 207 or go to:



Kempsey Shire Council’s Water Services team can advise you on conserving water and reducing your water usage. Call 02 6566 3200 or go to: