17 councils, representing over two million Australians nationwide, have called for the Federal Government to take action on climate change.
The statement came just weeks before the UN Climate Conference, COP26, in November.
Rural councils like Broken Hill in New South Wales, to inner-city suburbs like Wyndham in Victoria have joined 105 signatories in the Better Futures Australia (BFA) Declaration to urge Federal leaders to put politics aside and work with them to slash greenhouse gas emissions.
The signatories represent more than seven million Australians and over $330 billion in GDP and assets.
Broken Hill Mayor, Darriea Turley, said Australians don’t have time to waste in taking urgent action on climate change.
“Cities and towns are driving down greenhouse gas pollution through investment in renewable energy and sustainable transport,” Mayor Turley said.
“Broken Hill Council has declared a climate emergency and we have a goal to source 100 per cent renewable energy by 2030. But everyone – governments, business, cities, and citizens – must do their part to sharply reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
“The quicker we act, the sooner we’ll realise the lasting benefits like cheaper electricity, more comfortable housing, the development of growth industries and healthier communities.”
Mayors calling for unified climate action include dairy farmer and Mayor in Kiama, Mark Honey; inner-city Labor Mayor Cr Annalivia Carli Hannan of Moreland, Melbourne; and Capital City Lord Mayor Sandy Verschoor of Adelaide.
Kiama Mayor, Mark Honey, said, “While it is pleasing to see various state governments fill some of the Federal Government’s void in this space, Canberra remains the place that has the deep pockets and legal clout needed to get this nation united and on the road to net zero.”
Blacktown City Mayor, Tony Bleasdale, said that the effects of climate change could be devastating for the area, which is the largest local council in the state with over 400,000 people.
“Without urgent action on climate change, the impact of increasing urban heat on our community could be catastrophic,” Mayor Bleasdale said.
“We are continuously improving our energy efficiency, and increasing the proportion of renewable electricity in our energy mix. We plant many thousands of trees, and are running a trial of heat refuges for our more vulnerable residents.”
Sydney Deputy Lord Mayor, Sydney Jess Scully, said, “The world is waking up. We’re seeing more dramatic, accelerated and focussed climate action from all around the world, but we are not yet seeing that in Australia.
“And if we all work together and show that climate action isn’t just driven by environmentalists but by business, by local government, by citizens, then we have a greater chance of putting pressure on those leaders who are not stepping up and leading.”
Dr Portia Odell, declaration signatory and director of the Cities Power Partnership, said local governments working together were making serious inroads into reducing Australia’s climbing emissions.
“Working together, local councils can be far more than the sum of their parts when it comes to tackling climate change,” Dr Odell said.
“But despite the great work we’re seeing from cities and towns across the country, tackling climate change needs a concerted, unified effort from all levels of government.”
The Better Futures Australia Declaration signatories commit to:
- Taking climate actions through individual effort and collaboration to ensure Australia contributes to limiting average global warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels
- Showcasing new climate commitments and actions to inspire other Australians to realise zero emissions opportunities
- Advocating for a national response that will deliver action at the scale required to reach net zero emissions well before 2050
- Working together, alongside and in partnership with Federal, State and Local Government leadership, to support the delivery of the Paris Agreement
Local government signatories include:
- City of Adelaide, SA
- City of Mitcham, SA
- Mount Barker District Council, SA
- Town of Gawler, SA
- City of Melbourne, VIC
- Moreland City Council, VIC
- City of Yarra, VIC
- Wyndham City Council, VIC
- Blacktown City Council, NSW
- Blue Mountains City Council, NSW
- Broken Hill City Council, NSW
- City of Sydney, NSW
- Inner West Council, NSW
- Kiama Municipal Council, NSW
- Randwick City Council, NSW
- Waverley Council, NSW
- City of Melville, WA