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A new Local Government Association of South Australia program is set to help the state reach its emissions targets by supporting councils in emissions reduction efforts. 

The Local Government Net Zero Accelerate Program will provide an opportunity for councils to access support and help them better identify and report their emissions profiles, taking action on key areas for emissions reduction, and establishing an emissions reduction strategy.

The program is supported by a $120,000 grant from the Department for Environment and Water and is the first of its kind in the state.

Expressions of interest are now open to both metropolitan and regional councils. Priority will be given to  councils that require the basic essentials in net zero emission planning.

Successful councils will be provided with information and support on how to build their greenhouse gas emissions profile and baseline for measuring, opportunities for emission reduction in council operations, setting targets and building pathways for emission reduction, and principles in developing a net zero strategy.

With the State Government targets of net zero emissions by 2050 – and at least a 50 per cent reduction by 2030 – this project has the potential to fast-track any councils that are yet to establish emission baselines.

Learnings generated from this program will also help to establish a standard operating guideline which other councils can use for implementing an emissions reduction strategy, providing greater consistency across the local government sector.

Interested councils can register their expression of interest by 11 August 2023 through the Local Government Association

Department for Environment and Water’s Director of Climate Change and Hazard Risks, Neil McFarlane, said, “Responding to climate change has its challenges, so we’re very happy to be able to help councils – particularly smaller regional ones – to contribute to the state’s emissions reduction targets by supporting this program.

“The councils involved will be provided expert support so they can understand their emissions profiles, identify opportunities to reduce emissions and build an emissions reduction plan.”

LGA President and Kimba Mayor, Dean Johnson, said while many councils are already taking important actions to address climate change, some haven’t had the available skills, time or resources to take the steps needed to progress emission reduction targets or establish a net zero strategy.

“Councils play an essential role in their local communities to reduce emissions, support healthy environments and adopt good sustainability practices,” Mayor Johnson said. 

“Larger councils, especially those in metropolitan Adelaide, have a pretty good idea of how much greenhouse gas emissions they create and have systems in place to keep track of it over time.

“What we hope this project will do is leverage the work already underway and use it to create a consistent, repeatable framework that other councils can replicate in their own regions.”

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