There are two climate action plans for Queanbeyan-Palerang, one for the council’s operations and one for the community. Both were made in May 2020 and cover 10 years. We reviewed them to see what’s good and what needs improving. It’s worth noting that the council’s greenhouse gas emissions account for just 1 per cent of the total for our local government area. That’s all the more reason to improve the community action plan.

We used our review to prepare our proposals for the election. Below are some key points from our review.

Community Climate Action Plan

  • The Community Action Plan has no target for either renewable energy or greenhouse gas emissions. It’s meaningless without one, particularly since QPRC’s population is set to grow by 17% over the life of plan.
  • Most people in QPRC’s action plan workshops wanted a 2030 community target; 60% of participants  wanted ambitious climate action.
  • The 10 year period of the Community Plan is too long. A lot will happen in the climate change world over the next 10 years so the plan should be updated at an interim time, like 2025.
  • The one strong point of the action plan is that, for the first time, there is a baseline of QPRC community emissions. In 2017, about 831,000 tonnes CO2e was emitted by community sources: 24% came from residential electricity use; 26% from commercial and industrial electricity use; and 31% from transport. These three areas are where most emission reduction efforts should focus.
  • Most of the Community Action Plan’s 79 action points do not commit QPRC to very much; there is lots of ‘encourage’ and ‘investigate’ but not much substantial action.
  • Community members who contributed to the action plan wanted council to join the Cities Power Partnership but it didn’t agree to this.

Council Operations Climate Action Plan

  • The biggest shortcoming with the Council Operations Action Plan is that it has weak, non-binding renewable energy and emission reduction targets: ‘review emissions and renewable energy targets and consider adopting 100% renewable energy and net zero greenhouse gas emission targets for council operations by or before 2050’.
  • Like the Community Action Plan, the 10 year period of the Community Plan is too long.
  • The one strong point of the action plan is that it includes information about the largest sources of QPRC emissions: electricity used in council assets – 55%, electricity used in street lighting – 22%; and diesel and petrol used in the council’s vehicle fleet – 20%.
  • Like the Community Climate Action Plan, the Council operations plan has a lot of action points (52) most of which don’t commit the council to anything specific.
  • Strong points include ideas for more solar electricity on council facilities, upgrading street lighting to be more energy efficient, and shifting its passenger and heavy vehicles to low to net zero emissions.

Authorised by Katrina Willis, McKeahnie St, Crestwood, NSW 2620, for The Greens in QPRC campaign. June 2021.