SEVENTY LOCAL COUNCILS across Australia, including Nambucca Shire Council, have vowed to tackle climate change in their own backyards.
The Climate Council’s Cities Power Partnership today welcomed 35 new councils to the fight against climate change, including Nambucca and Bellingen Shire Councils, at the launch of Australia’s largest floating solar farm.
Other new additions to the Cities Power Partnership include sustainability powerhouses Sydney, Brisbane and Darwin, as well as metropolitan, regional and rural local governments from across the country.
The program is now Australia’s largest national climate program for local government.
Nambucca Shire’s Technical Officer for Environment, Lisa Hall, said the council had applied to join last year via its newly-formed Clean Energy Committee.
“It’s great to have been accepted into this program, which is all about reducing emissions and doing so transparently,” Lisa said.
“The council now has six months to nominate five goals and pledge to work towards them … and then in a further six months we will have to produce a progress report.
“All of this will be on the council’s page, which will soon be up on the Climate Council of Australia’s website.”
She said three possible goals could be:
* putting solar panels on council facilities wherever possible,
* the installation of LED street lights
* and the potential for electric car charging stations in the shire, to help attract visitors with electric cars.
The council’s Clean Energy Committee, which includes Crs Martin Ballangarry, Susan Jenvey and Anne Smyth, will meet next week to discuss the goals.
Climate Councillor and international climate scientist Professor Will Steffen congratulated the councils joining the partnership, emphasising the opportunity local governments have to be part of Australia’s climate solution.
“We’re excited to see a landmark number of councils jumping on board with the Cities Power Partnership,” he said.
“As the tier of government that’s closest to the community, local councils have the power to genuinely transform the way we generate and use energy.”
“It’s clear that Australians support climate action from their council. We’re calling on all local governments to join the groundswell of climate action spreading across the country.”
The councils joined the climate fight at the launch of Australia’s biggest floating solar farm, a groundbreaking project backed by Cities Power Partnership member Lismore Council and Lismore Community Solar.
Lismore City Mayor Cr Isaac Smith said councils had the power make a huge difference to the way the community used energy, and “it was time to use that power to transform Australia’s energy landscape”.
Nambucca Shire’s mayor, Rhonda Hoban, being a member of the Power Partnership would assist the council in having a more co-ordinated approach to the use of renewable energy.
“Not only can we improve our environmental outcomes, but there also possible savings to the council’s bottom line,” Rhonda said.
This article first appeared in the Nambucca Guardian on 30 January 2018