Climate Summit for Local Government

Sept 6-8, 2023 | Melbourne

Brisbane City Council's climate and sustainability commitments

Brisbane City Council is part of the Cities Power Partnership, Australia's largest network of councils leading the way to a sustainable future

  • Traditional Owners Turrbal and Jagera People
  • Member since 2018
  • Population 1,272,461

Our journey

In sub-tropical Brisbane, we understand that cities are vulnerable to the impacts of a changing climate, many of which will be felt less, if concerted efforts are made to transition to clean energy and reduce carbon emissions. Taking action sooner, rather than later, will enable a well planned transition that meets local needs and manages the associated costs and risks.

What Council has achieved in energy efficiency, renewable energy, sustainable transport or broader sustainability

Brisbane has been a leader in sustainability practices for more than 20 years and has twice been named Australia’s most sustainable city. We have worked hard at improving the performance of our own operations as well as delivering initiatives that support city wide sustainability outcomes.

Council has completed a number of clean energy and emissions reduction projects across its operations, including:

  • retrofitting 25,000 street lights with energy efficient lamps and ensuring all new and replacement lamps in street and other public lighting applications are LEDs, where possible
  • retrofitting the iconic Story Bridge with LED lighting and completing LED lighting upgrades at a range of other Council facilities
  • installing more than two megawatts of solar power systems on Council buildings, including the Brisbane Powerhouse, a former coal-fired power station now operating as a multi-arts venue
  • including electric vehicles in our passenger fleet
  • trialling the use of biofuels, hybrid electric and smart transmission technology in public transport
  • providing eco-driving training for Council bus operators.

In addition, we have purchased more than 970,000 megawatt hours of electricity from renewable energy sources since 2003, when we first started purchasing renewable energy to power City Hall. Since 2007, we have also purchased more than 2.8 million carbon offsets to negate the emissions associated with our operations.

In 2016, Council achieved carbon neutrality for its operations, becoming the largest carbon neutral government organisation in the country.

What Council hopes to achieve in the future in energy efficiency, renewable energy, sustainable transport or broader sustainability

Council is committed to the sustainable development of Brisbane, to provide for the future prosperity of the city and achieve our long term vision for the city to be one of the cleanest and greenest in the world.

Brisbane. Clean, Green, Sustainable 2017-2031 outlines how we will work to make Brisbane a global leader in sustainability. The document draws together the many sustainability strategies embedded in multiple plans, programs, divisions and work areas, updates Council’s sustainability commitments and details practical actions to reach our goals under nine themes:

  1. Low Carbon
  2. Clean Air
  3. Green Transport
  4. Waste and Resource Recovery
  5. WaterSmart City
  6. Sustainable CityShape
  7. Urban Forest
  8. Parks
  9. Biodiversity

Some examples of the actions we have committed to implement in the areas of energy efficiency, renewable energy and sustainable transport include:

  • implement a continuous improvement program to manage the use of electricity and carbon-intensive fuels within Council operations and share the lessons learned
  • increase on-site generation of electricity from renewable energy at Council facilities
  • trial and, where viable, roll out energy efficient technologies for public lighting, including street lights
  • promote development that adopts climate-responsive design, incorporates clean energy technologies and achieves high-performance and energy ratings
  • promote the modernisation of old building stock in the city centre to improve energy efficiency through refurbishing of existing buildings
  • investigate infrastructure solutions to free-up congested inner city sections of Brisbane’s busway network and move bus patrons quickly into and out of the CBD
  • continue Council’s programs that support changed travel behaviours such as Cycling Brisbane and Active School Travel.

What Council hopes to gain from being a member of the Cities Power Partnership

As the largest local government authority in Australia, Council is in a unique position to influence sustainability outcomes not only in Brisbane, but in the region, the state and the nation. The Cities Power Partnership provides a platform to join with like-minded councils around the country, as we work to attain our sustainability goals, share our experiences and seek to influence national policy agendas.


Council has committed to the following Cities Power Partnership pledges:

Renewable energy
Install renewable energy (solar PV and battery storage) on council buildings.
Support community facilities to access renewable energy through incentives, support or grants.
Energy Efficiency
Adopt best practice energy efficiency measures across all council buildings, and support community facilities to adopt these measures.
Sustainable Transport
Encourage sustainable transport use such as public transport, walking and cycling through council transport planning and design.
Work Together and Influence
Develop education and behaviour-change programs to support local residents and businesses to tackle climate change through clean energy, energy efficiency and sustainable transport.

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Join now and be part of the groundswell of local governments and communities across Australia tackling climate change.