A message from the Mayor about the Volvo Ocean Lovers Festival

28 February 2023

On behalf of Waverley Council and my fellow Waverley Councilors, I would like to welcome you all to Bondi Pavilion and surrounds for the upcoming Volvo Ocean Lovers Festival, 15 -19 March 2023.

Waverley Council is proud supporter of this annual festival of ideas, art, music and actions, highlighting the latest science and innovations for protecting and nurturing the ocean and its wildlife.

This year’s program is jam-packed with activities and events to celebrate and inspire action for the ocean. Protecting our ocean is a key tenant of our Environmental Action Plan 2022-2032.

I am delighted to be speaking at the inaugural Ocean Plastics Forum on Wednesday 15 March at Bondi Pavilion from 9am to 3pm about current actions to protect our oceans.

The forum, supported by Waverley Council, will delve into science and issues surrounding ocean plastic, explore modern-day solutions, review future innovative opportunities for action and seek to make a collective impact.

There will be interactive panel discussions with the following experts across three keys topics, followed by audience Q&As:

  • Key trends and impacts: Dr Denise Hardesty (CSIRO), Dr Charlene Testrail (UTS), Heidi Tait (Tangaroa Blue), Dr Michelle Blewitt (AUSMAP) and Pete Ceglinski (Seabin).
  • Exploring current actions: Professor Veena Sahajwalla (UNSW), Anissa Lawrence (Ghostnets Australia), Shannon Mead (No More Butts), Lottie Dalziel (Banish), Murray Powell (Optimal Stormwater), and Mayor Paula Masselos (Waverley Council).
  • The path to purging plastic: Allegra Spender MP, Charlotte Lebrun (Sea Shepherd Australia), James Dorney (TOMRA), Jestin George (Samsara), Marjorie O'Neill MP (NSW Parliament), and Mike Zmith (Zero Co.).
  • Forum wrap-up: Dr Denise Hardesty, Professor Veena Sahawjwalla and Allega Spender MP)

On the weekend of March 18 and 19, Bondi Pavilion transforms into the Ocean Lovers Festival Hub with a community market, live music, art, films, food, workshops, films and entertainment from 10am to 5pm (4pm on Sunday).

The festival hub is a curated showcase of innovative products and projects that don’t cost the earth and are designed to specifically help protect or enhance our ocean environment and wildlife. A particular focus is on products that recycle, reuse or reduce plastic waste entering our oceans.

Waverley Council has supported Ocean Lovers since its inception in 2019 and I acknowledge and congratulate Festival Founder Anita Kolni, for her vision and dedication.

Our Council works with our community to protect the environment and take a collective step towards making sustainability second nature.

In December 2019, Waverley Council declared a State of Climate and Biodiversity Emergency that requests all levels of government to act now to protect our environment and community for future generations. In July 2021, we were one of the first organisations in Australia to declare a net zero emissions target of 2030. In March 2022, we backed that up by adopting a greenhouse gas emission target of net zero by 2035 for our community.

Our coastline and beaches support a range of marine biodiversity and includes the Bronte to Coogee Aquatic Reserve which is also part of the South Bondi Intertidal Protected Area.

Pressures from urban development and human use, as well as climate change, means Council must carefully manage our coastal assets to protect and improve the health of our marine environment.

In May 2021, I moved a Mayoral Minute that recognised these pressures along with the disappearance of crayweed forests because of sewage pollution. Importantly, the unanimously adopted Minute supported the extension of Operation Crayweed in the water off Marks Park.

We also work with local business and community to eliminate single-use plastic and keep our beaches clean, as takeaway food and drink items are the most common litter item at our beaches. Council manages pollutant traps and annual beach litter audits, which inform our anti-litter campaigns. Our beaches are also cleaned regularly to reduce ocean pollution and create a clean space for our community to enjoy.

Welcome again to the Volvo Ocean Lovers Festival. For the full program, visit oceanloversfestival.com.


Contact: media@waverley.nsw.gov.au or 0416 075 532.