By Cam Lucadou-Wells
Greater Dandenong Council will plot a zero-carbon future as part of adopting a 10-year ‘climate emergency strategy’.
The “road-map” aims for Greater Dandenong to achieve net carbon emissions as a council by 2025 and as a community by 2040.
A council report on the 2020-2030 strategy stated “substantial”, “transformative” changes were required from the council and the community towards climate change.
There was the need for effective information and education on environmental issues.
“Council will focus on increasing engagement with our residents and businesses, including our culturally and linguistically (CALD) community members and those with low income levels.”
The council will also engage local business and industry leaders to accelerate “responses that support the economic viability of local businesses”.
Cr Matthew Kirwan, at a council meeting on 24 August, said the Covid-19 pandemic showed the dangers of “not preparing adequately”.
“The risks to our resident’s health due to heat stress, our local economy and our environment are clear.
“As the strategy says… ‘This is not the time for complacency, it is the time for action’.”
Cr Sean O’Reilly said the council sought to be a leader, ready to implement new clean technologies at the earliest opportunity.
“The technologies are progressing now and hopefully we see a day where the old, dirty forms of energy are replaced by cleaner technologies.”
Some argued that one municipality couldn’t impact on global issues of climate change, Cr O’Reilly said.
But heat stress was already affecting residents, particularly “our elderly citizens”. That impact could worsen in the future, he said.
The strategy was three years in the making, drawing on 1070 public submissions as well as reports from business services multinational Ernst and Young.
According to feedback, 92 per cent of respondents were worried about climate change. And 94 per cent wanted the council to take action.
The council had already formally recognised an existing “climate emergency”, that all levels of government should commit to reduce greenhouse gases and keep global warming to below 1.5 degrees Celsius.