Climate Emergency

It has been 3 years since Darebin Council’s historic climate emergency declaration and we are still calling for urgent State and Federal action on climate change. We have outlined five key demands relating to renewable energy, electric vehicles, construction and the use of recycled materials for roads, footpaths, products and packaging, to help Australia achieve zero emissions by 2030.

Darebin Council was the first government of any level anywhere in the World to declare a climate emergency.

On 5 December 2016, Darebin Council unanimously voted to recognise we are in a state of climate emergency that requires urgent action by all levels of government, including local councils. At Darebin Council Meeting on Monday 2 December 2019, Councillors renewed calls for the Victorian and Federal Governments to also declare a climate emergency and achieve zero emissions by 2030 through policy reform that:

  • Achieves 100% renewable energy by 2030 and then quickly doubles renewable energy supply - to meet all Australia’s energy needs and foster new jobs and new industry.
    Australia has some of the most significant renewable energy resources on the planet. With investment and policy reform from state and federal governments, these can be harnessed to meet this target. This target could also be achieved in partnership with fostering better energy efficiency, such as introducing new building standards and fast-tracking energy efficiency performance standards of electrical appliances and equipment.

  • Reforms planning laws and building standards to mandate that all new construction and major renovations and extensions on existing buildings deliver net zero emissions outcomes by 2023 including the removal of all mandated requirements to connect to gas.
    New building standards could enforce sustainable design and construction, lowering the energy usage of residents as well as making power bills cheaper. Removing requirements to connect to gas will also accelerate the transition to renewable energy while lowering emissions.

  • Requires all products and packaging sold in Australia to be made from fully recycled material by default.
    A policy like this would transform the recycling and manufacturing industries in Australia, with more buyers for recycled material, which means increased value of recycled material, which would drive investment in good quality recycling collection networks. There would of course need to be some exceptions to this in cases where using recycled material would be inappropriate, but the state and federal governments could work together to make an integrated approach to this policy.

  • Requires all roads and footpaths to be made with fully recycled materials.

    Doing so would further drive the market for quality investment into recycling infrastructure by increasing the value of material while keeping the circular economy turning. Road products already exist, so there is no reason why this couldn’t be mandated on a state or national level. Technical requirements for roads of course would also need to be met.

  • Invests in the infrastructure to support the just transition to all electric cars, buses and trucks by 2025 and support local manufacturing of all types of road transport vehicles.
    There are now alternatives to petrol cars, and this is the time to phase them out. Other governments around the world have already committed to doing so (for example, India plans to only sell electric vehicles by 2030). Governments have a key role to play in fast tracking the charging infrastructure for electric vehicles and encouraging the transition away from petrol cars. Transport greenhouse gas emissions are one of the fastest growing sources of end-use sectorial emissions in the country.

Council is taking a range of actions across energy, waste, transport, business, procurement and events.

  • We adopted the Darebin Climate Emergency Plan in 2017. Read the Darebin Climate Emergency Plan or the 8-page summary.
  • Solar Saver program – we are supporting the 100 per cent renewable target through programs like Council's Solar Saver scheme (which has seen nearly 1300 homes be fitted with solar panels).
  • Carbon Neutral Council Operations – we have committed to go carbon neutral from 2020 in all our Council operations.
  • Waste strategy – We are resetting the vision for waste and recycling in Darebin. A new Waste and Recycling strategy has been presented for community consultation. The strategy takes a fresh look at waste through the lens of a climate emergency and focusses on how to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Local Government PPA Project Darebin is leading a 48 Victorian Council-strong consortium to drive investment in renewable energy, resulting in pooling 250GWh of electricity. The project is seeking a new electricity contract for Council operations that is sourced from 100% renewable energy sources – known as a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA).
  • Food waste Recycling – Darebin residents can now recycle food waste alongside their garden waste. The food and green waste collected through this service is turned into nutrient-rich mulch and compost, to be used on farms and in parks and gardens across Victoria.
  • Single use plastic – we have eliminated single use plastic at Council events, and we are currently supporting local businesses in a number of ways to help them transition away from single use plastics. Learn more here.
  • Roads – we have started resurfacing our roads using 85% recycled materials.
  • Electric vehicles - Darebin has already begun introducing electric and hybrid vehicles into its fleet and has installed public charging points for electric cars.
  • Sustainable Procurement - Darebin has developed a Social and Sustainable Procurement Policy which considers a range of environmental factors like the use of recycled materials, reducing waste and water consumption, and the use of single use plastics, when assessing potential supplier relationships.
  • Infrastructure – through our Streets for People, Octopus Schools and Darebin Loves Bikes programs we are investing in infrastructure and community skills to encourage the uptake of cycling and sustainable transport.

Business

We are supporting businesses to become more sustainable through initiatives such as:

  • Business solar saver program – install up to 99KW of solar on their roof top at no upfront cost
  • Lightsmart program – subsidising the cost of upgrading lights to LED
  • Environmental upgrade agreements – low interest loans, repayable through Council rates

 

Education

  • We are sponsoring the National Climate Emergency Summit to be held 14 and 15 February 2020.
  • We are holding events to engage and educate residents, businesses and other organisations on what they can do too.
  • In 2019 Darebin Council held two Climate Emergency dinners for community leaders to get together, listen to speakers and develop action plans of what they can do to better address the Climate Emergency.
  • In 2018 Darebin Council presented the first-ever national climate emergency conference hosted by a local government. The Conference brought together councils, other levels of government, business and organisations as well as our community to identify strategic and urgent action, with appropriate scale and speed to deliver a safe climate. In case you missed the event, you can browse the Climate Emergency Conference Program, and watch many of the presentations online.

 

While it can feel overwhelming at times, there’s so much we can each do to act on climate change. When we all play our part, we inspire each other and our impact grows.

Download our factsheet on Taking Action in the Climate Emergency Together.

Here are some suggestions:

1. Have conversations with your family, friends and colleagues. Conversations with people we know and trust are much more likely to have an impact than things we read or watch. Learn more here.
2. Host a climate conversation.
3. Learn about the climate emergency and solutions from independent media.
4. Work with family, neighbours, friends and work colleagues to move towards a zero emissions lifestyle.
5. Purchase green power
6. Minimise car use and think about sustainable alternatives. The Darebin Travel Smart Map will help you plan your journey.
7. Review your banking, insurance and superannuation to ensure they are not supporting fossil fuels.
8. Make your home as energy efficient as possible.
9. Join/support local climate action groups and access council grants and programs.
10. Take care of yourself. Facing up to the climate emergency is hard work. If you need support, seek out a professional who works in this area via the Australian Psychological Society, and check out their great resources.
11. Work with Council to bring the climate emergency message to the broader community
    • Share our posts on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
    • Ensure your friends, family, neighbours and colleagues know about our food waste, solar and other programs.
    • Let us know how we can support you to have maximum impact! Contact us here.
12. Write a letter to your local MP (click here for a template), supporting Darebin Council’s call for the Victorian and Federal Governments to also declare a climate emergency and achieve zero emissions by 2030 through policy reform that:

  • Achieves 100% renewable energy by 2030 and then quickly doubles renewable energy supply - to meet all Australia’s energy needs and foster new jobs and new industry.

  • Reforms planning laws and building standards to mandate that all new construction and major renovations and extensions on existing buildings deliver net zero emissions outcomes by 2023 including the removal of all mandated requirements to connect to gas.

  • Requires all products and packaging sold in Australia to be made from fully recycled materials by default.

  • Requires all roads and footpaths to be made with fully recycled materials.

  • Invests in the infrastructure to support the just transition to all electric cars, buses and trucks by 2025 and support local manufacturing of all types of road transport vehicles.

Federal Parliament

If you live in Darebin, send your letter to the Federal Member for Cooper, Ged Kearney, at this address Ged.Kearney.MP@aph.gov.au

 

State Parliament

If you’re south of Bell Street, then your State MP is Kat Theophanous, in Northcote. Email her at mailto:Kat.Theophanous@parliament.vic.gov.au

If you’re north of Bell Street and on the West side of Darebin Creek (eg Preston and Reservoir), your’re in Preston and your State MP is Robin Scott. Contact him here robin.scott@parliament.vic.gov.au

If you’re east of the creek (Kingsbury or MacLeod) you’re in the Bundoora seat and your MP is Colin Brooks colin.brooks@parliament.vic.gov.au

 

Outside Darebin

If you live outside Darebin, enter your postcode on the AEC site to find your MP here and on the VEC site to find your State MP here.