Federally, Australia is going backwards on climate action.
Let's organise around local issues!
So much can be done.
Local government is where the rubber hits the road.
We can advocate and get changes in building standards, public transport, and energy transition. Greening up our streets restoring wetlands improves local heat mitigation, draws down carbon and protects the health of our residents. Giving people credible, tested information about PV and energy efficiency is a fantastic way to drop emissions and promote climate action right through the community.
Support the review process for multi member wards for a more progressive, transparent Council
For years Boroondara has been lumbered with single member wards, making it so much harder to elect Councillors with a diverse, representative range of views. The recent Local Council Representation Review process has attracted a lot of interest, including submissions from our members. The VEC Report has recommended a change to multimember wards, 74% of public submissions recommending Option A - 11 Councillors, three three member wards, and one two member ward (Table 2, page 15).
Right now we have a chance to exercise our democratic rights and make a contribution!
Please email the Victorian Minister for Local Government in support of the VEC Recommendations
Despite the recommendation there is heavy lobbying for retention for the status quo. If you want to support a truly representative Council, and strengthening of community voices, particularly on climate action, then please make your opinion heard by emailing the Minister for Local Government Adam Somyurek here, supporting the recommendation for Option A by the VEC.
You may wish to follow the ideas in this this suggested letter, adapted from one sent by one of Lighter Footprints very active members. Please re-word these points, and add in other ideas of your own -some of the talking points below could provide reasons for why you, personally, would like a more diverse group of councillors allowing debate and action on a range of environmental and climate issues.
Mr Adem Somyurek
Minister for Local Government
121 Exhibition Street
Melbourne Vic 3000
Dear Mr Somyurek
Boroondara City Council Electoral Representation Review
I understand that you will be considering the Victorian Electoral Commission’s (VEC) recent Report on electoral representation in the Boroondara City Council for approval.
Supporting the Report’s recommendation for multimember wards
I strongly support the recommendation by VEC that the Boroondara City Council for multi member wards, in particular for eleven councillors elected from four wards.
Grounds for support
- The process of decision making shows a democracy deficit
- Lack of effective debate in meetings
- Public questions are limited to those previously the subject of previous written correspondence to the Council, relates to matters on the meeting agenda and meets the strict allocation of questions allowable throughout the year and at each meeting
- Many motions are passed without dissent or discussion suggesting a high degree of caucusing prior to the meeting
- Elected Councillors appear to come from a narrow section of the residents both in terms of their demographics and their views and values
- The current electoral system which favours candidates who pitch their appeal to the middle ground and retention of the status quo. This leads to a failure to consider change and new ideas, especially when confronted with the issues around climate change.
I am of the view that Boroondara Council has conducted a dishonest campaign to retain single member wards that favour the more conservative elements and specific vested interests in our community.
I wish to express my support for the VEC recommendation in its final report for a move to multi member wards, particularly Option A (three three member wards and on two member ward) and ask that you consider the views expressed in many community submissions suggesting that multi member wards would better reflect community interests and diversity in Boroondara.
Your name and local address.
Talking points for local council budget submissions process - congratulations to our members who contributed!
Thanks very much to those of you who submitted to the budget process and to those who spoke to Council in support of their submissions. We will be able to use these submissions, and your efforts, in our future work in advocating for improved local emissions reductions decision making in Boroondara, and in our preparation to elect climate councillors.
Of note is that the Report by the Council's Audit Committee - Attachment C, Strategic Risk Matrix, p 56, where Council assesses the risks associated with climate change as "unlikely" and the consequences "moderate".
1) Consult the community over the Climate Change Risk Assessment review
Include wide community consultation in the Council's proposal to spend $50,000 reviewing and updating the Council's Climate Change Risk Assessment statement.
2) Demonstrate commitment to the Cities Power Partnership Program with a substantive pledge
Although Boroondara is a member of the Cities Power Partnership Program, other cities have put in proposals regarding substantive emissions reduction target and action - Boroondara Council should undertake the necessary analysis and work to be able to make such a proposal, and it should be commensurate with our international commitments and the urgency created by increasingly adverse climate science findings from the UN Climate Reports.
3) Use local carbon techniques where possible in Boroondara's major works building program and achieve a 6 Green Star rating
The Council should be using low carbon cement, and natural refrigerants instead of environmentally destructive hydrofluorocarbons in the following large expenditure building programs. The Council should also follow its own Sustainable Council Building Policy and achieve a 6 Green Star rating.
4) Consider the costs of inaction on Climate Change on residents: on health and other costs of climate impacts
Climate change is barely mentioned in the Budget (only on pages 19 and 136) and the costs of climate impacts, and the costs of inaction are not considered in detail. Council should consider its capacity for mitigation as well as adaptation, for instance, the impacts on the health of residents of inaction on emissions as well as local heat reducing measures, instead of looking at emissions reductions measure primarily through the lens of metrics such as payback periods.
5) Preserve and enhance carbon stores within Boroondara
The City of Boroondara should enhance residents amenity through accelerating tree planting programs and the preservation and enhancement of green spaces and wetlands. Programs to increase the take up of composting and gardening should have increased funding.
6) Support the transition to electric vehicles
The City of Boroondara should fund public access charge point areas, and consider dedicated electric vehicle parking spots. The municipal fleet and service vehicles should be studied and a transition program be put forward over a five or ten year period, starting with some vehicles in the next financial year.
7) Support low income residents and community groups wishing to invest in self generation and energy efficiency
As well as providing informational support, the Council should offer low cost grants and administrative help to disadvantaged residents and community groups to reduce their energy bills through facilitating collaborative schemes or helping access low cost finance for instance through the provision of solar rates schemes.
8) Recommend both City of Boroondara corporate emissions reduction and city wide targets be considered and with recommendations for action at both levels
The Budget should acknowledge the collapsing time frame afforded by global climate science community, and the UN in particular for effective action on climate change, and take up responsibility for action within the City of Boroondara. A good first step would be a proper baseline emissions study, with recommendations for targets to reduce emissions in areas such as self generation, energy efficiency measures, low carbon transport, reducing urban heat and increasing carbon stores. These targets should take into consideration our international responsibilities as well as the costs of inaction, and the overall responsibility to preserve our city for future generations.