The Gap’s Sue Moller and Payne Road State School Win Top WasteSMART Awards

Did you know that local waste reduction champions Sue Moller and Payne Road State School have been recognised for their outstanding and long-term commitment to waste prevention at the 2023 WasteSMART Awards?

Read: Young Eco-Warriors From The Gap Receive ‘Change Maker of the Year’ Award

Sue Moller, a retired nurse turned “Master Composter” from The Gap, won the prestigious All-Star Award, which celebrates sustained dedication to decreasing waste in the community. Since completing her composting certification course in 2021, Ms Moller has worked tirelessly to cut landfill contributions from her neighbourhood.

From starting compost programs at local schools to collecting food scraps from community gardens, Ms Moller helps divert over 400 kg of waste each month. She also hosts free composting workshops and serves as a drop-off point for other composters.

Ms Moller (Photo credit: Brisbane Sustainability Agency/Facebook) 

Payne Road State School, on the other hand, takes a multi-faceted approach to embed sustainability within the school. They host an annual Environmental Leadership Workshop for 11 neighbouring institutions to promote broader engagement. Students also educate the wider community about their efforts at local events like the Eco Forum by MP Jonty Bush.

Photo credit: Brisbane Sustainability Agency/Facebook 

The school has both Junior and Senior Environment Clubs that meet weekly to maintain critical initiatives from their vegetable garden to their compost system.

Club members oversee native plantings and beehives across the grounds whilst monitoring energy and water consumption. They also organise classroom electricity usage competitions and have incorporated “Wrapper Free Wednesdays” to minimise plastic waste as part of the Tangalooma Ecomarines program. 

Sue moller
Payne Road State School students (Photo credit: 

Through their comprehensive and immersive sustainability programs, Payne Road students lead the charge on responsible waste management.

Payne Road shares the WasteSMART School Award with the Urban Farm at St Laurence’s College, which was also named winner for the said category this year.

About the 2023 WasteSMART Awards 

Sue Moller
Photo credit: Brisbane Sustainability Agency/Facebook

The 2023 WasteSMART Awards featured nine categories celebrating sustainability leaders across sectors. The coveted All-Star Award specifically honours outstanding long-term dedication to waste reduction. This year’s competition also distributed over $4,000 in prize money to 12 deserving honorees.

Judging panels assembled experts from Cleanaway, Containers for Change, the University of Queensland, and other organisations to select winners in all categories except one. The People’s Choice Award was determined by votes from the general public.

Read: Brisbane Fee Cut Sparks Surge in Green Waste Recycling Bin Orders

Winners across all nine categories were formally announced at the Lord Mayor’s Awards Ceremony, held at the Brisbane City Hall on 16 November 2023. 

Published 29-November-2023

Payne Road State School in The Gap Celebrates 50 Years

Payne Road State School in The Gap is celebrating its 50th year anniversary with a twist! Amidst the unexpected pandemic lockdowns and downturns which have triggered numerous event cancellations, the school community decided to move its half-a-century celebration by a full year.

Though the foundation of Payne Road State School was in 1970, its students, teachers and staff, as well as the parents, are holding the school fair on 20 June 2021 with heaps of rides and attractions for the kids, and live entertainment for the adults.

The students will be able to have fun at the giant slide, jumping castles, laser-tag, teacup ride, rock climbing wall, pony rides, animal farm, and selfie booth. Food and beverage trucks have been invited as well, including a top-quality bar for the adults. 

Photo Credit: Supplied

“This fair isn’t just for the school; it’s for the entire community to get out and enjoy all the classic fair favourites that will be on offer,” said Lotus Phoenix, the event’s organiser. “There will also be 20 market stalls featuring arts and crafts from around the community, including resin and beading jewellery, upcycled and fair trade clothing, handmade ceramics, pamper products, bags, a large selection of plants, and more.” 

The school fair will run from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. whilst the beer garden will be open until sundown.

Payne Road State School was originally called The Gap South State School and opened on 26 Jan 1970 with 82 pupils for Year 1 to Year 7. Principal Clive Cook petitioned to change the school’s name for its location, which was derived from Henry Howard Payne, an early pioneer of The Gap.

During its inaugural year in November, Mr Clive and the school community held a grand opening celebration with Queensland dignitaries as guests, including the Honoubrable Max Hodges, MLA, then the Minister for Works and Housing. One of the highlights of the celebration was a coordinated Tinikling dance where the girls skillfully maneuvered their steps between large bamboo poles.

Photo Credit: Payne Road P & C/Facebook

Between 1970 to 1977, additional facilities were added to the school, such as the tennis court the play areas, and more building blocks to accommodate the increasing number of students. 

Payne Road State School & Nearby Schools Show Support For Active Travel School Program

Payne Road State School in The Gap is encouraging their students to lead a healthier lifestyle as they join Brisbane City Council’s Active Travel School (ATS) program.

As part of the ATS program, PRSS held an assembly at the school on 28 February to give the children an overview of the program. The school also launched a “Golden Boot” event, which will happen on 9 March, to make the ATS a fun activity for everyone.

On the day, students will be wearing their coloured house shirts and meet at their designated House Park at 7:45 a.m. From there, they will walk, ride or scoot to school with their designated House groups or even with their family and friends.

Upon reaching the school, they will get their Passport stamped. After all these, students can enjoy free pancakes, toasted sandwiches, and orange quarters for breakfast before the first bell.

The ATS provides Brisbane primary schools with free resources, tools, and incentives to let students, parents, and teachers leave their vehicles at home and actively travel to school.

The program’s aim is to create healthier and more active students and parents. This also promotes better road safety awareness among students and families. In the process, it helps create safer streets and reduce traffic congestion at the school gate.

Schools Need Active Travel

The ATS program is in line with the recommendations by The Australian Health Policy Collaboration (AHPC), which released a report titled “Active School Travel: Pathways to a Healthy Future.”

The report showed how kids and young people are not getting the proper amount of physical activity. The research also recommended forming active environments that will prioritise pedestrians and cyclists.

There have been many cases of speeding in school zones around Brisbane, causing parents to worry about the safety of their children. Through the ATS program, the council and participating schools would come up with initiatives to promote safety on the roads, particularly in school areas.

Also earlier this month, the Ferny Grove State School took the crazy sock approach to launch their attempt at the golden boot this year. The students wore “crazy” and colourful socks to school to show their support for the ATS program.