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Representatives from 35 councils around the country gathered in Canberra on Thursday to launch the Cities Power Partnership.
The Yass Valley Council, the Bega Valley Council, the Eurobodalla Shire Council and the Shoalhaven City Council are among the councils participating.
The partnership was created by the Climate Council to fast-forward Australia’s plans to cut down on emissions by placing responsibility on local councils.
The alliance between the local governments will represent over three million Australians.
The Climate Council estimates that “cities, urban centres and rural townships have the potential to slash energy emissions by a staggering 70 per cent, just by taking action in their own backyards.”
Deputy Mayor Kim Turner took part on behalf of Yass Valley, and believes that it is crucial that local councils are the leaders in clean energy.
“As far as I’m concerned, it’s council’s role basically to set the pace for the community,” Cr Turner said.
“If council doesn’t show the example in the first place, you can’t really expect private individuals to follow.
“We have an opportunity in Yass, we’ve got an opportunity to look at certainly reducing our power costs through solar on the council chambers or the government buildings.
ACT Environment Minister Shane Rattenbury attended the launch as well, and spoke about the discussions that took place during his trip to the UN Climate Change Conference in Marrakech.
“What was very clear there [in Marrakech] was the important role that sub-national governments are playing,” Minister Rattenbury said.
“It was particularly interesting to see that it’s very strong in the countries where our national governments have not taken the leadership.
“Cities and towns are leading the way in Australia with many putting the Federal government to shame,” said Climate Council CEO Amanda McKenzie.
Ms McKenzie also commented on the eagerness of the local councils to join the partnership.
Initially, the Climate Council had aimed for 15 signatories to the Partnership, but it eventually had to cut off the subscriptions at 35.