As Australia’s largest local government climate network we are excited to once again recognise Cities Power Partnership members’ outstanding council-led initiatives from around the country.
Hosted by ABC’s Craig Reucassel and joined by filmmaker Damon Gameau, on 17 November at 4pm AEDT we announced the winners and celebrated the achievements of our member councils.
This year’s finalists and winners are…
Renewable Energy Achievement Award
WINNER: Northern Beaches Council, NSW
Northern Beaches’ 4-year emission reduction plan is tackling climate change by increasing renewables across the region. Already, its Climate Change Action Plan has led to a 80% reduction in total emissions for Council, far earlier than originally planned. Solar energy has played a significant role – among Northern Beaches’ installations is a 265kW solar system at Manly Andrew ‘Boy’ Charlton Aquatic Centre. Council is well on track to reach its community target of net zero emissions by 2050.
Energy Efficiency Achievement Award
WINNER: Georges River Council, NSW
Georges River Council is at the forefront of climate action, committed to reducing energy consumption across all of its operations. In the past four years, Georges River has cut its greenhouse gas emissions by a whopping 36% by rolling out a range of energy efficiency and clean energy upgrades. Improvements include replacing fluorescent fittings with LEDs, reviewing the car park ventilation control, setting up CO2 sensors to control the flow of air conditioning and enhanced Council’s Building Management System to optimise heating, ventilating and air conditioning systems performance. With these upgrades, Council is on track to achieving its ambitious target of net-zero emissions by 2025.
Sustainable Transport Achievement Award
WINNER: ACT Government, ACT
The ACT has long been a leader in emissions reduction initiatives, with many of its targets consistent with the Paris Agreement. No small feat! Their Sustainable Transport entry, a plan to transition the entire ACT government fleet to zero emission vehicles by 2040, has many ambitious initiatives, including rolling out Australia’s first electric fire truck, investing in 20 hydrogen vehicles and introducing the first public hydrogen refuelling station in Australia. Projects like this, alongside increased efforts to encourage community uptake of zero emissions vehicles and facilitating high quality low emissions public transport networks are essential to helping the ACT become a net zero emissions city by 2045.
Community Engagement Achievement Award
WINNER: City of Adelaide, SA
Addressing community emissions is one of the most difficult areas for local governments to tackle. The City of Adelaide is meeting the challenge head on by implementing its Sustainability Incentive Scheme, just one part of their bold plan to move the community toward carbon neutrality as quickly as possible. The scheme offers financial incentives to households and businesses to adopt sustainable technologies like solar systems, energy storage systems, LED upgrades, energy monitoring systems, EV chargers, apartment upgrades, rainwater tanks, building ratings, carbon neutral certifications and more. As of September 2021, the scheme has supported over 630 projects by businesses and households (around 62% of recipients are householders), with co-funding provided by the State Government. The City of Adelaide was certified carbon neutral in FY 2019/2020.
WINNER: Greater Dandenong City Council, VIC
Greater Dandenong’s first-of-a-kind climate change self-assessment tool for evaluating asset and infrastructure project funding bids has played a major role in lowering emissions across the community. The tool assesses projects on how well they respond to climate change and how well the 10 themes of Council’s Sustainability Strategy 2016-30 are represented. The tool is part of Council’s commitment to achieve net zero carbon emissions across all operations by 2025.
WINNER: Mornington Peninsula Shire, VIC
Mornington Peninsula Shire developed a Climate Emergency Plan less than one year after declaring a climate emergency, making it one of the first local governments in Australia to do so. The plan guides the Peninsula towards zero community carbon emissions by 2040, with a 100% renewables target for council operations by 2023. The council’s ambitious actions to significantly drive down carbon emissions and build resilience to climate change have been met with support by the community, with more than 90% of community members in favour of the declaration.
WINNER: Darebin City Council, VIC
This year, Darebin Council spearheaded the Victorian Energy Collaboration (VECO), the largest emissions reduction project ever undertaken by Australian local governments. Thanks to Darebin’s lead, and supported by officers from a range of Councils and the Victorian Greenhouse Alliances, 46 councils in Victoria collaborated to switch to 100% renewable energy. The project is slashing 260,000 of emissions every year, that’s equivalent to taking 90,000 cars off the road.
Climate Ambassador Award (elected representative)
WINNER: Shoalhaven City Council, NSW – Mayor Amanda Findley
Mayor Amanda Findley is a strong advocate for climate action, actively tackling the big issues for the Shoalhaven community. Mayor Findley’s work in increasing renewable energy and community resilience has included driving a fully electric Council fleet car, providing financial support and ongoing advocacy to bushfire victims, encouraging more solar power installations and regularly attending Cities Power Partnership events. The Shoalhaven Mayor ‘walks the talk’ when it comes to climate action, embracing renewable energy for both Council and in her personal life.
Climate Champion Award (council staff)
WINNER: Cairns Regional Council Sustainability Team, QLD
Cairns Regional Council Sustainability Team took action after discovering that 90% of the community is concerned about the impacts of climate change on the region. The team is responding with initiatives to cut local emissions and educating the community on climate change, while also supporting local industries to transition to a low emissions economy. With an overall target of net zero emissions, the team is on track to reach a 50% reduction in emissions by the end of this year.
WINNER: Borough of Queenscliffe, VIC
Australia’s smallest council punches above its weight in climate action. The regional Victorian Borough of Queenscliffe committed to engaging with a local climate group, the Queenscliffe Climate Action Group, and traditional owners to co-develop Council’s Climate Emergency Response Plan. Together, they have come up with a long term and far reaching plan to transition to a Zero Carbon Community by 2031. The best part is, the plan has the support of the community because they played a huge role in designing it. The collaboration has shown what is possible when council and residents work together in an open, respectful and forward thinking way.
More about the ten Climate Awards up for grabs:
We have three new categories in 2021 to commend even more amazing local government accomplishments, the Collaboration Award, Ambition Award and the Community Choice Award.