On Wednesday 26 August, invited councillors from neighbouring Local Government Areas (LGAs) will speak about their progress on addressing climate change and help us explore what Boroondara Council’s proposed climate action plan could include.
Across Victoria – and even right next-door to Boroondara – over 30 councils have declared a climate emergency and are developing and implementing bold climate action plans. In the lead up to our August event, we thought we’d share some of these stories and look at what can be achieved when Councils think big and act with conviction on climate.
Not only is Yarra Council’s brand new Climate Emergency Plan bold and ambitious, it’s timely. Yarra Mayor Cr Misha Coleman said there is a unique opportunity to ‘build back better’ post-pandemic – to use the recovery efforts to create jobs and stimulate industries that lower emissions.
Cr Coleman went on to say, ‘Australia’s swift and unprecedented response to the pandemic has shown that we can make meaningful changes in a short period of time. It is important that our COVID-19 recovery does not further entrench social and economic inequalities in the community.’
The City of Yarra’s Climate Emergency Plan includes the following actions and can be found here.
- Eliminate gas from Council operations by 2030
- All sites with relatively simple gas systems (ie. hot water systems and domestic-type heating) being transitioned off gas by the end of 2022 (30 of 38 council sites)
- Transition all council-owned vehicles to electric, including converting Council’s entire fleet to zero emissions by 2025, subject to availability of suitable vehicles and charging infrastructure/capability
- Converting Council’s bus fleet to electric by 2023
- Ensuring Council’s service delivery contractors transition to zero emissions vehicles as quickly as possible (aim for 2026), including street sweeping and kerbside waste collection vehicles
- Amend the planning scheme to introduce zero carbon standards for new commercial and residential development (including a drive towards all-electric homes)
- Massively expand cycling and walking routes in Yarra City
- Advocating for a Melbourne-wide transition to electric buses
- Creating cooler, climate-adapted city spaces with more trees
- Upgrade low-income housing to be energy efficient and protected from worsening climate impacts
In partnership with PECAN (Port Phillip Climate Emergency Action Network), Port Phillip Council has just finished a series of community forums looking at the City’s emissions: what the council is doing to reduce its operational emissions and how it is supporting the community to reduce theirs? As part of their Climate Emergency Declaration Port Phillip Council is encouraging residents to commit to a series of climate actions in their own lives: a great list of basics for any climate-concerned citizen.
The council also provides resources and support for local businesses to reduce their emissions by accessing renewable energy, implementing energy efficiency upgrades and reducing their use of resources.
Port Phillip’s Sustainable City Community Action Plan is focused on apartment buildings, with a number of unique initiatives for multi-dwelling residences including:
- assistance for Owners Corps interested in solar
- on-site, large-scale composting facilities
- advice for apartment dwellers on energy efficiency and green power
- charity bins to stop clothing going to landfill
The Whitehorse City Council has a strategy to become carbon neutral by 2022.
Whitehorse City Council has signed an Energy Performance Contract (EPC) with Ecosave Pty Ltd to fast-track installation of $2M worth of energy efficiency upgrades at eight of Council’s highest energy consuming sites over the 2019/2020 and 2020/2021 financial years.These works will enable Council to achieve permanent energy and financial savings of more than $275,000 annually, reduce greenhouse gas emissions by more than 1,300 tonnes carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e), and accelerate Council’s progress towards its target to become carbon neutral by 2022. More about the EPC can be found here.
In August 2019, the Mornington Peninsula Shire Council declared a climate emergency. “We were already serious about reducing emissions to protect the future of our people and places. Since 2016 we’ve had a five year plan for the Shire’s operations to become carbon neutral, which we’re on track to achieve by 2021.” The climate emergency plan can be found here.
“Council has adopted a Sustainability Framework and recognised climate change as a global emergency. Council has also signed up to the Global Reporting Initiative – the highest level of global reporting standards – to help us reach our sustainability goals.” More about the Sustainability Framework can be found here.
These sustainability goals include:
- City-managed operations to be powered by renewables, and carbon neutral by 2025
- Single-use plastics phased out of City-owned buildings by 2022
- Add an additional 50 hectares of conservation reserves by 2030
- Halve the volume of organic materials going to landfill by 2030
- Tree canopy cover of 25% in urban Geelong by 2045
At a special meeting on Tuesday 5 May, 2020 Glen Eira Council passed a motion to declare a climate emergency. Council also committed to ambitious new carbon emission reduction targets;
- net-zero corporate emissions by 2025
- net-zero community emissions by 2030
“Council is committed to addressing the local impacts of climate change and calls on the state and federal governments for stronger emission reduction targets.”, said Glen Eira Mayor Cr Margaret Esakoff . “The City of Glen Eira joins hundreds of cities around the world in declaring a climate emergency. Council heard from many members of the community who urged us to commit to stronger climate action and declare a climate emergency. Council will now build on the great progress it has already made to reduce carbon emissions from our own operations.”, she said.
Cr Esakoff said Council will now start working on a more ambitious environmental sustainability strategy to guide its work. We now invite the Glen Eira community to work with us to build momentum for sustained community climate action,” she said. “We need your support to help create a more sustainable Glen Eira.” The Glen Eira climate emergency page can be found here.
We look forward to seeing you at our online Zoom August event on Wednesday 26 August at 7:30 pm where invited councillors from these LGAs will speak about their progress on addressing climate change. Register here.