Local governments lead climate change charge

Hepburn Shire Council has reaffirmed its commitment to climate change action.

The Climate Council today announced Hepburn Shire has joined the Cities Power Partnership, the largest local government climate change program in Australia. 

Solar panels are installed on the roof of the Creswick Neighbourhood Centre. Picture: Kate Healy

Solar panels are installed on the roof of the Creswick Neighbourhood Centre. Picture: Kate Healy

The announcement comes as the Climate Council released a report today which highlights local councils are outstripping federal climate change action. 

Hepburn Shire Council will make a pledge toward five climate actions as part of the partnership and commit to delivering them in a selected time frame. 

Council will be required to provide progress reports to the Climate Council every six months. 

Hepburn Shire chief executive Evan King said joining the Cities Power Partnership was another step to display council’s support for emission reduction actions. 

“It will hopefully allow council to develop new connections, share knowledge with other local government areas and discover new ways to reduce emissions using environmentally and economically sound methods,” he said. 

It will allow council to discover new ways to reduce emissions using environmentally and economically sound methods.

Evan King, Hepburn Shire Council CEO

Mr King said council was already involved in a number of projects to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, including the Z-NET project to be carbon neutral by 2021, the Towards Zero Emissions Roadmap and waste to energy project. 

Council also focuses on supporting community emissions reduction through the Solar Savers, Hepburn Solar Bulk Buy programs and Towards Zero Community Grants. 

Mr King said council was preparing for a pilot project in early 2019, with goals to implement a larger facility in coming years that can process the majority of Hepburn Shire’s residual organic waste.

More than 70 local councils Australia wide have joined the Cities Power Partnership since it began in 2017. 

Other council pledges have shown renewable energy and sustainable transport to be a priority. 

Ditchy's view

Ditchy's view

Chief Climate Councillor Professor Tim Flannery said local climate action was more important than ever as federal climate policy falls short. 

The Climate Council report titled Tackling Climate Change Together: Local Governments Lead the Charge revealed Australia will not meet its 26 to 28 per cent emissions reductions target under current policy settings. 

It said “transforming the way energy is used and generated in cities and towns worldwide has the potential to deliver 70 per cent of the total emissions reductions needed to stay on track for the two degree limit set under the Paris Agreement”’. 

City of Ballarat also has also joined the Cities Power Partnership. 

Hepburn Shire Council and City of Ballarat have six months to submit their five climate pledges.