Climate Summit for Local Government

Sept 6-8, 2023 | Melbourne

Community Engagement Achievement Shortlisted Finalists

Listing is in alphabetical order of council entrant name

Augusta Margaret River Shire (WA) Climate Action Summit

On the 28 May, the Shire of Augusta Margaret River, allied with the community as represented by the ‘Climate Action Augusta Margaret River’ group, hosted a one day Climate Action Summit. The summit was held in partnership with Surfing WA and the World Surf League, who provided the site for the event which overlooks Margaret River’s iconic ‘surfers point’ break.

The Summit attracted more than 130 attendees, representing all facets of the community including youth, all manner of community groups, local and state politicians and subject matter experts. The Summit’s focus was on ‘climate change mitigation’, with a second summit planned for 2020 dealing with climate change adaptation.

The purpose of the Summit was to raise awareness regarding the climate change realities for our community and to arrive at a consensus regarding appropriate actions, which can be taken at the local level (the Climate Action Plan).

City of Canning WA: #carbonoff: Opt in to Offset

#carbonoff: Opt in to Offset is a unique, voluntary program that allows staff and councillors to offset the emissions from their private vehicle use or household energy use, through a simple salary deduction program. For less than the cost of a coffee per fortnight, City of Canning staff can have a collective influence on our natural environment and contribute to accredited, gold standard carbon offsets.

The tax deductible donations go towards rehabilitating degraded Western Australian farming land, decreasing drought, improving biodiversity and creating habitat corridors for our native fauna, in collaboration with the Carbon Neutral Charitable Fund (CNCF) The project was designed by the City’s Sustainability Team, but required cross-organisational collaboration to implement, including the support of the CEO and Governance, Payroll, PR & Marketing and People & Performance.

It is the first time in WA that such a program has been offered to local government staff through a payroll deduction program. New staff will be invited to join the #carbonoff program as part of the corporate orientation program, for which the Sustainability Team is designing a new induction and sustainability training module.

City of Port Phillip VIC: The Butterfly effect

The City of Port Phillip (CoPP), together with Albert Park Kindergarten (APK), have developed an Australian leading partnership that has delivered outstanding results. These include becoming the first certified carbon neutral (CCN) Early Childhood Education and Care Service (ECECS) in Australia*, a finalist in both the 2018 Victorian Premiers Sustainability Awards and the 2016 Victorian Worksafe Health & Wellbeing Awards, a collaboration with Boon Wurrung Foundation, a reduction in gas usage by 100%, electricity by 59%, water by 71% and waste by over 50%. APK also achieved an ‘Excellent’ rating from national authority ACECQA.

The impetus for the above results began in 2012 with the launch of council’s program ‘Seedlings – Early Years Education for Sustainability’ a sustainability initiative for ECECS. Our main challenge was figuring out how to get more CoPP residents engaged and active with global warming. This application features just one of the 26 highly successful participants as an example of what is possible when Council and community work closely together. APK believed that they could be the little butterfly that would flutter its wings and change the world. This application celebrates their 6-year journey to become CCN.

*Carbon neutral since February 2018, certification pending June-2019.

City of Sydney: CitySwitch national green office program

The national CitySwitch program delivers a high-value low-cost sustainability service for governments and commercial office-based businesses. Founded 14 years ago to address the carbon impact of office tenancies, CitySwitch has built a highly respected, impartial and trusted sustainability and emissions reduction program, with voluntary targets for members and robust evidence of achievements.

CitySwitch is a successful model of national collaboration by city governments. It is jointly funded by Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Perth and several smaller councils. Services to members are delivered by local program managers who understand the local business context, whilst the program resources and campaigns are delivered by a national office that ensures high quality execution and consistency. A national steering committee provides strategic input to ensure that the program continues to meet the needs of participating councils and members.

The program now boasts over 900 workplaces and over 4 million square meters of commercial office space – approximately 16% of commercial office space in the country signed up and measuring through CitySwitch. In 2018, program signatories evidenced an annual saving of 711,000 tonnes of CO2 through energy efficiency, carbon offsets and renewables, and collectively saved over $72 million in energy spend over the last four years alone.