Published on 26 October 2021
Councillors from across Melbourne’s south east have called on the Australian Federal Government to commit to an ambitious 2030 emissions reduction target, underpinned by a clear plan to achieve the target, in the lead up to the COP26 meeting in Glasgow.
The Federal Government’s long-anticipated commitment to a 2050 emissions reduction target is welcome, however even more pressing is the need for a 2030 emissions reduction target, aligned with the other developed countries’ commitments.
It is absolutely essential Australia makes an equitable contribution to global efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in order to limit warming to 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels. A stable climate must be a primary priority for all levels of government.
Councillor Kerri McCafferty of Mornington Peninsula Shire Council, a member of the South East Councils Climate Change Alliance, said local communities across the south east, and local communities around the world, were right now experiencing the devastating impacts of global warming and these impacts would worsen if the increase in emissions was not halted.
“The Mornington Peninsula Shire Council has declared a climate emergency. An ambitious 2030 emissions reduction target and a clear plan that drives a rapid decarbonisation of Australia’s economy are urgently needed. We need to deploy renewable energy and energy efficiency, as well as driving investment in zero emissions transport and carbon sequestration,” Cr McCafferty said.
“Australia’s response to global emissions reduction efforts needs to be clear and decisive. Australia’s commitments must reflect the scale and scope of the challenge – an existential threat to our human civilisation and the biodiversity of the planet.”
An ambitious 2030 emissions reduction target and an economic transition plan will also send a clear signal to local businesses and the community to embrace the economic opportunities and wellbeing outcomes presented by decarbonisation.
Councils of the south east are setting ambitious emissions reduction targets for their own councils and working to support their communities to transition to net zero emissions. As a member of SECCCA, Mornington Peninsula Shire Council is also part of regional efforts to decarbonise.
Mornington Peninsula Shire Mayor Councillor Despi O’Connor said: “Local governments are at the front line of responding to climate change impacts. We have seen this through the major role we have played in responding to the bushfires and floods over the past two years. Even far from the fires, the Mornington Peninsula Shire Council supported evacuees from the Mallacoota fires in the summer of 2019.”
“On the Peninsula, we must manage the impact of coastal erosion along our coastline, as well as storm damage, flash flooding, bushfire risk and the impact of extreme weather – all exacerbated by climate change.”
“Our Council is strongly committed to climate change action, which includes recently being certified as carbon neutral as an organisation. We have also adopted a Climate Emergency Plan, which includes helping the Peninsula to transition to net zero emissions by 2040, with interim targets including a 65 per cent reduction in community emissions by 2030.”
“We are not alone. Local governments across Australia are taking action. The 2021 Australian Local Government Climate Review this year shows 87 per cent of the 84 local governments surveyed have, or intend to have, corporate emissions targets while 40 per cent have, or intend to have, a community emissions target.”
“We call on the Federal Government to set strong emissions targets for 2030 backed up with legislation, policy, programs and financial investment. Accelerated climate change action this decade is critical if we are to keep a safe, liveable climate for future generations.”
Information on Southeast Councils Climate Change Alliance
The South East Councils Climate Change Alliance (SECCCA) is made up of nine local governments in the south east of Melbourne. SECCCA Councils span the metropolitan, peri urban and rural divide and have some of the fastest growing residential developments on the fringe of metropolitan Melbourne.
Together, SECCCA Councils serve over one million residents. Through SECCCA, these Councils collaborate to act on climate change. This action includes mitigation and adaptation projects and advocacy for the community.
SECCCA’s vision is for a thriving and productive southeast Melbourne region that has a safe and sustainable climate. Together with a majority of member councils, SECCCA has declared a Climate Emergency recognising the existential threat climate change poses to our communities and our environment and calls for urgent action to address the risks.
For further information please contact:
Dominique La Fontaine
SECCCA Executive Officer
M: 0428 455 005