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Council calls for more action on climate change

Aerial view above Market Building at Castlemaine showing solar panels.

Council has called on the Victorian Government to do more to address climate change.

Thursday 22 August 2019

Mount Alexander Shire Council is urging the Victorian Government to take stronger action, do more planning and invest more resources to help communities tackle climate change.

The position is outlined in a submission to a Victorian parliamentary enquiry into what communities are doing to tackle climate change and how they are responding. The inquiry will also consider ways in which the government can support Victorian communities.

Council’s Response to Tackling Climate Change was endorsed at a Council Meeting this week outlining what council and the Mount Alexander Shire community are doing, and what the state government can do to reduce the severity and adapt to climate change.

“Mount Alexander Shire is home to many active climate change and environment groups who are leading the way in areas such as renewable energy, protecting our environment and reducing waste, and there is growing anxiety about a lack of action at state, national and international levels,” said Cr Bronwen Machin, Mayor of Mount Alexander Shire.

“In our submission we highlight where the state government can work with local communities but what we really want to see is stronger leadership at the state level to help us future proof and adapt to climate change, and reduce our greenhouse gas emissions.”

“The state government has much stronger legislative powers and resources to develop policy, advocate and plan for change than any small local government or community organisation,” said Mayor Machin.

“We want to see more action on reducing our reliance on coal, developing waste management solutions through a circular economy, more research into the effects on agriculture and promoting regenerative agriculture, and more funding and resources dedicated to emergency management to deal with issues like heatwave and fire,” she said.

Council’s submission can be reviewed in the Council Meeting Minutes for August.

Potential state-based mitigation strategies include:
• Planning for and advancing energy systems that support the production and distribution of renewable energy and move away from a reliance of fossil fuels.
• Plans to develop a more circular economy to identify and implement solutions to reduce and manage waste and recycling.
• Supporting rural areas with funding and research to promote regenerative agriculture and other carbon drawdown solutions to reduce greenhouse emissions.
• Investment in planning and infrastructure to ensure large projects are reviewed with a climate change lens to ensure adequate building standards, supply of social housing and future proofing critical infrastructure such as roads and rail.

Adaptation strategies include:
• Ongoing support and funding for councils to prepare and respond to emergencies.
• Undertaking research and embedding environmental sustainable development standards in the state planning and policy framework.
• Advocacy and implementation for a review of National Housing Rating Scheme standards to better prepare for future climate changes.
• Facilitating research on the social and economic impacts of climate change; and
• Providing funds to future proof or build resilience to the impacts climate change at the local level in areas such as strategic planning, emergency management, heatwave, and maintenance of assets and infrastructure.

The Victorian Legislative Assembly’s Environment and Planning Committee is inviting public submissions before 26 August. To find out how to make a submission visit www.parliament.vic.gov.au/ClimateChangeInquiry.

Image: Council has installed solar panels on many public buildings including the historic Market Building in Castlemaine.

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