Latest News - Climate Conversation Month - January 2023
In October last year, we celebrated Climate Conversation Month in the Central Goldfields.
It was the first community-led initiative to be delivered as part of the Central Goldfields Climate Action Plan 2022-30, which was adopted by Council in June 2022. The intention was to get our community talking about climate change – listening and learning from their peers about what climate change means to them and what opportunities there are for our community to act.
Eleven kitchen-table style conversations were facilitated with community groups and organisations across the Shire, with a total of 114 residents participating in the discussions.
The initiative received a very positive response from participants and climate conversations are intended to continue throughout the delivery of the Climate Action Plan. These conversations will help ensure delivery of the Plan remains aligned with changing community needs, while also empowering participants with the knowledge, motivation and collaborative connections to act.
In the coming months, Council will profile local community groups and businesses who are playing their part in reducing their carbon footprint.
Keep an eye out on Council’s Facebook page and the website link below for updates.
You can also read the Climate Conversation Month summary report for more information.
During the June 2022 Ordinary Council Meeting, the Climate Action Plan 2022-2030 was adopted.
The Plan provides strategic direction to 2030 through six priority areas and nineteen goals. This includes a Net Zero emissions by 2030 target for Council’s operations. The Plan also reflects the aspirations of community, particularly in terms of elevating council's leadership role in tackling climate action locally.
The priority areas are:
- Education, collaboration and mobilisation
- Built environment and transport
- Health and wellbeing
- Waste and the circular economy
- Renewable energy and energy efficiency
- Land and water
It draws on expert advice from Ndevr Environmental, identifies priority areas and actions to be carried out in the next two years and beyond.
The Draft Plan was placed on exhibition from March 31 to April 21, with 19 submissions being made. Feedback was also received during the Public Consultation Session on April 12. This feedback has informed the final 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
Barry Parsons Goldfields Sustainability Group, Secretary; Goldfields Renewable Energy Group, member
Tony Macer Goldfields Renewable Energy Group, member
Bronwen Haywood Committee for Maryborough, member; Goldfields Sustainability Group, member
Adrian Masterman-Smith Mill House Neighbourhood House, Chair
Lisa Mahon Dunolly Community Garden, coordinator
Colleen Stratford Goldfields Renewable Energy Group, member