Greens councillors will work to deliver a comprehensive climate action plan for Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional Council (QPRC) and community including a target of zero net greenhouse gas emissions by the year 2050.

This target is the same as the NSW Government greenhouse gas emissions reduction target and supports the global goal to keep temperatures within safe limits.

Council needs to develop a clear pathway to meet this target both for its own operations and for the wider community, and report on progress annually.

At a minimum, the QPRC should aim to achieve 26-28% emissions reduction on 2005 levels by the year 2030, which is the same as the national target.

There is plenty of scope to reduce greenhouse emissions by investing in key areas of council operations and community and business activity. Taking strong action on climate change can deliver many social, environmental and economic benefits for our community.

Action to date on climate change by the former Palerang and Queanbeyan councils has been inadequate.

Palerang:

  • Had no climate action plan or target for its own operations or a community action plan
  • Reluctantly agreed to support Cr Peter Marshall’s move to invest in solar power for council buildings
  • Achieved its earlier greenhouse pollution target by exporting waste to the Woodlawn Bioreactor in neighbouring Goulburn-Mulwaree through

Queanbeyan:

  • Set a modest greenhouse gas reduction target for its own operations in 2013 but performed poorly on emissions reduction, with emissions rising in most years of the reporting period.
  • Stopped publishing sustainability reports, which included progress towards the target, in 2015.
  • Did not set a target for the Community Climate Change Action Plan (CCCAP) as was promised for 2014, and provided no annual reporting of the CCCAP.

Action plan

Prepare a roadmap

  • Prepare a climate action plan and target for the council’s operations to achieve zero net greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, which is consistent with the NSW Government.
  • Prepare an action plan for the community, with targets to steadily move towards zero net greenhouse gas emissions by 2050
  • Join the Climate Council’s Cities Power Partnership http://www.climatecouncil.org.au/cpp-report

Build a local green economy

  • Facilitate and encourage economic activity that helps QPRC transition to a clean energy future
  • Provide more services and facilities in town centres to reduce the need to travel
  • Investigate council hosting workspaces and promoting local employment to reduce the need for commuting (particularly in Bungendore, Braidwood and Googong). Such spaces can be rented to government and private employers and community groups. Enabling more people to work closer to home can help keep money circulating in the local economy and reduce the need to travel daily.
  • Promote local employment by government and private sector.

Expand energy efficiency and renewable energy

  • Invest in energy efficiency and renewable energy for council operations and community facilities
  • Support community renewable energy projects and business uptake of energy efficiency measures and renewable energy
  • Develop a scheme to help low-income households invest in energy efficiency and renewable energy.

Improve urban design

  • Use planning regulations to improve building design so buildings are more comfortable and affordable to heat and cool
  • Promote use of alternative materials to concrete and bitumen, where appropriate, to reduce urban heat effect and flooding (e.g. in car parks)
  • Protect the existing urban canopy and expand tree cover to improve cooling, provide habitat for wildlife and slow wind speed.

Support local food production

  • Support local food production to:
    • provide more access to fresh food at lower prices (through lower transport costs)
    • improve food security at a time of more extreme climate variability
    • generate local jobs and training, especially for young people
  • Identify land for more community gardens and work with groups to establish them.

Reduce waste and improve resource recovery

  • Support well-managed resource recovery operations that promote re-use and recycling
  • Provide compost facilities for organic waste
  • Work with local businesses to reduce waste
  • Encourage new businesses that recover resources and reduce waste and otherwise divert resources from the waste stream.

Invest in sustainable transport

  • Develop an integrated sustainable transport plan with goals for a greater share of trips using active transport and public/community transport and measures to achieve them
  • Invest in infrastructure to support active transport by:
    • maintaining and extending footpaths and greenways
    • allocating $20 per year per resident to roll out more cycleways. This combined with grant funding to achieve a 1% improvement in cycling’s share of trips annually.
  • Advocate and plan for improved public transport services within QPRC and to the ACT
  • Rollout recharging stations for electric cars and bicycles
  • Improve and extend community transport services.