Free plant programs
Council has a number of different programs that encourage residents, community groups and schools to incorporate native plant species into their gardens. Native plants generally require less water than exotic species, are low maintenance, and provide a reliable food source and valuable habitat for native wildlife.
These programs aim to increase the number of local native plants grown across our region, while building awareness about the benefits of local native plants and giving residents a greater appreciation of local species. All native plants available through these programs are grown at the Mackay Natural Environment Centre nursery.
These programs offer a wide range of plant species to choose from including trees, shrubs, grasses, groundcovers and climbers.
The programs available include:
|PROGRAM NAME||AVAILABLE TO||ALLOCATION|
|Free Native Plant Program||Residential properties||Four plants per property|
|Gardens for Wildlife||Residential properties||10 plants per property|
|Land for Wildlife||Urban or rural properties||20 plants per property|
|School or Community Group Program||School or community groups||50 plants per application|
Free Native Plant Program
Mackay Regional Council’s Free Native Plant Program gives ratepayers the opportunity to add a native touch to their gardens. The program demonstrates council’s commitment to build an engaged and informed community and provide leadership in the area of environmental sustainability.
Mackay ratepayers are able to receive up to four free plants of their choice per year.
Learn more about how to collect your order and click and collect options by expanding the drop down menus below.
What we grow
Stock availability changes throughout the year. Have a look at the 'What we grow' page for an idea of what plants are currently available.
How do I collect my plants?
Ratepayers can collect their free native plants from the Mackay Natural Environment Centre, located at 6 Swayne Street, North Mackay on Free Native Plant Program open days.
There are currently no more open days scheduled in 2023. Stay tuned, as we will release the open day dates for 2024 in the coming months.
If you haven't yet collected your free plants for 2023, you can still click and collect your order at any time during the year.
Ratepayers can collect four free plants per year.
If you're not a ratepayer or want to buy additional plants, they can be purchased from MNEC for $3 each (eftpos only).
Click and collect and buying plants
If you want to collect your free plants or buy plants at any time during the year, you must pre-order them via click and collect or email your order to the Nursery team.
Or, email your order to email@example.com
Orders will be available for pick-up each Thursday morning between 9am and 11am from now until December 7. The nursery will not be open for browsing at this time.
All orders must be placed by midnight on Tuesdays and can be collected from as early as the Thursday of the same week the order was placed. Collection dates will be available up to four weeks in advance.
Gardens for Wildlife
The Gardens for Wildlife program is for ratepayers who would like to encourage more wildlife into their gardens. As part of this program, ratepayers can collect an extra 10 local native plants for their garden, in addition to the four available through the Free Native Plant Program.
Native plants support biodiversity by providing habitat, food sources and connectivity for wildlife.
As part of this program, ratepayers must:
- Apply online by filling out this form. This program is capped at 500 gardens per year; first in, best dressed.
- Order plants by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Include one tree providing canopy cover in their selection. This is to provide a place for birds to perch, food for butterflies and to create shade for cooler neighbourhoods.
- Receive a Gardens for Wildlife sign that can be installed on their fence.
The Gardens for Wildlife program supports the Mackay Urban Greening Strategy’s vision of growing cooler, greener and more connected neighbourhoods.
Land for Wildlife
Land for Wildlife is a voluntary program which aims to encourage and assist private landholders to provide habitat for wildlife on their property. Properties in the program can be devoted to habitat protection or may be managed for other purposes, such as farming and agriculture, whilst incorporating nature conservation.
The retention of habitat for native wildlife can play a major role in sustainable land management. It can provide a natural means of pest control, help with erosion and salinity management and provide shade and shelter for livestock. Whilst National Parks and other reserves protect natural areas, they only cover four percent of Queensland.
The protection of habitat on private land can therefore play a critical role in helping maintain the survival of our native plants and animals. It can also contribute to providing habitat links between isolated pockets of vegetation or nature reserves.
BENEFITS OF JOINING THE PROGRAM
A visit will be made to properties nominated for inclusion in the Land for Wildlife program (subject to meeting certain criteria) and advice will be given on:
- How wildlife habitat can be integrated with other uses on private land, to benefit both the landowner and wildlife
- Management and protection of habitat areas
- Weed control
- Incentives and assistance available to landowners
Property assessments are a key component of Land for Wildlife. Individual property assessments provide landholders with personalised advice, feedback, support and encouragement.
Land for Wildlife also provides contact with like-minded landowners and offers a chance to share ideas and experiences through field days, workshops and other activities. Regular newsletters are also provided. The newsletters cover a wide variety of topics, including flora and fauna, weed control, pest animals, habitat management and revegetation. A Land for Wildlife sign is provided free of charge to registered landholders to acknowledge their contribution to wildlife conservation.
Council funds the program through the Natural Environment Levy.
For more information on the program or to become involved, contact the Natural Environment Team.
School and Community Group Program
Schools and community groups within the Mackay region can receive to up to 50 free plants per year.
Please fill in the application form and council’s nursery staff will be in contact to discuss your project as soon as possible.
This application form will help us understand more about your project and what types of plants will best suit your specific requirements.