Draft Climate Action Plan available for community feedback

The science on climate change is clear and the community are already experiencing changes to climate patterns locally.

Through the Draft Climate Action Plan, Council seeks to play its part in addressing climate change through committing to net zero emissions for Council operations by 2030.

Further, while the draft Plan sets out the steps for Council as a leader, it also recognises the community's responsibility to reduce their footprint and to lead change.

The development of this draft Plan has been co-led by passionate locals Tony Macer, Barry Parsons, Jeff Hoober, Bronwen Haywood and Troy Butler.

Following a public exhibition period, 19 submissions were made to the Draft Climate Action Plan.

Well-considered and detailed feedback provided by community members, local organisations and regional agencies was submitted.

Feedback was also received during the Public Consultation Session on the 12th of April.

Due to the extensive feedback, an additional month has been allowed to incorporate this into the Plan.

The Central Goldfields Climate Action Plan will be considered for Adoption by Council on 28 June 2022.

Key messages from feedback

  • Overall, our community is happy with Council showing leadership through the development of this Plan and setting a net Zero emission by 2030 target for its operations
  • The use of plain language and focus on localised and collaborative community-led solutions is a positive a feature of this Plan
  • There is scope to ensure the Plan is inclusive to Dja Dja Wurrung and honours the deep knowledge and connection that Djaara (people) have with Djandak (Country)
  • It is important that this is a living document that does not merely sit on the shelf: need to provide greater clarity around the Partnership Approach, built-in accountability and timing for delivery of actions in the Plan.

Local governments have increasing climate responsibilities and duties of care and diligence to consider climate risk in their activities, under the Victorian Climate Change Act 2017 and the Victorian Local Government Act 2020.

The science on climate change is clear and we are already experiencing changes in climate patterns locally (see Loddon Mallee Local Climate Update in attachments). The Central Goldfields Shire Council is committed to showing leadership on climate action and supporting its community to both reduce emissions and be proactive in adapting to a changing climate.

Local government has a limited scope of influence in effecting change and addressing the complex problem of climate change. To increase resources and expand the scope of influence, local and regional partnerships will be critical, as well as working closely with the community.

The Maryborough Climate Action Group approached Council to work together on climate action in April 2021, leading to the development of a group of people with a shared commitment to steward climate action across the Shire and an invitation to the broader community to be involved.

In July 2021 the Central Goldfields community was invited to join a local collaborative approach to climate action – the Climate Action Collaboration.

Expressions of interest were received from passionate residents, community groups, schools and businesses and across community, health, emergency, agriculture and environmental sectors.

We now have a growing list of 40+ local climate leaders interested in engaging in climate action together.

A series of community workshops took place from August through to November last year. Through these workshops we gained an appreciation of what climate change means to our community, where we are on our climate action journey and what guiding principles would best support our local climate response. Ndevr Environmental supported an assessment of climate change risks and opportunities for our community and proposed potential future directions for climate goals and actions.

This work has been used to inform the development of a draft Central Goldfields Climate Action Plan, to guide Council and community in local climate action.

Cr Liesbeth Long Central Goldfields Shire Council, Councillor

Cr Wayne Sproull Central Goldfields Shire Council, Councillor

Kylie Long Central Goldfields Shire Council, Community Engagement Manager

Julia Walsh Central Goldfields Shire Council, Sustainability Officer

Bronwen Haywood Committee for Maryborough, member; Goldfields Sustainability Group, member; Maryborough Climate Action Group, member

Barry Parsons Goldfields Sustainability Group, Secretary; Maryborough Climate Action Group, member

Jeff Hoober Goldfields Sustainability Group, member; Maryborough Climate Action Group, member

Tony Macer Maryborough Climate Action Group, Convenor

Troy Butler Maryborough Education Centre, Sustainability Officer