Darebin Council has taken a lead role in the successful coming together of 46 Victorian Councils who have agreed to buy their power through Red Energy from two Victorian wind farms - the Dundonnell (near Mortlake) and Murra Warra (near Horsham).
Darebin Council staff recently outlined this exciting breakthrough initiative at a DCAN webinar. Called the Victorian Energy Collaboration (VECO) it represents the largest emissions reduction project in the local government sector in the whole of Australia. Equivalent to taking 90,000 cars off the road each year, Darebin Council also estimates a 30% saving in energy bills which will be ploughed back into other community programs.
Council staff explained how the length of the contract period provides stability for the wind generators which in turn supports further investment in renewables, creates jobs and contributes to the electricity grid as whole. If you would like to hear more about this exciting project you can watch the webinar recording here or visit the VECO website.
Thanks to the persistence of DCAN supporters, climate emergency is upfront and centre of Darebin Council’s new 20 year Vision and 2021-2025 Plan. With unanimous support from all Councillors, continued action on the climate emergency is one of the top 10 Big Actions in the Plan. The Plan explains why addressing climate change is a key responsibility of Local Government under Victorian legislation and outlines Darebin City Council’s proud history of leadership in this area.
DCAN looks forward to working with Council in the development of a new Climate Emergency plan to reach zero emissions by 2030 and the implementation of the new and continuing projects outlined in the Plan. Thank you to all DCAN supporters who contacted their local councillor, wrote submissions and participated in the consultation process.
DCAN is deeply concerned at the lack of reference to climate emergency action in Darebin Council's draft planning documents which spell out Council's priorities for the next four years. The plans are due to be finalised at the Council meeting on 28 June 2021.
Darebin Council’s support for the declaration of a climate emergency in 2016 elevated understanding about the serious nature of the threat, prompting a national, then a global movement with 100 Councils around Australia declaring a climate emergency and 2000 governments internationally. All newly elected Councillors either pledged or repledged their support for climate emergency action in the Council elections last year.
DCAN is disappointed, therefore, to find that the draft 2041 Community Vision statement, the Big Action Items, the Municipal Health and Wellbeing Plan and the Four Year Plan all need strengthening to show the community that Councillors remain committed to taking a climate emergency approach.
DCAN understands the need for Council to provide support to businesses and residents to help with the impact of COVID-19 but we simply can’t allow our Councillors to drop their focus on the climate emergency. The effects of the climate crisis continue to bear down on us and the window of opportunity to avert its worst impacts is closing fast.
It is vital that Council continues to take a strong leadership role in reducing Darebin’s carbon emissions and advocating to all levels of government for strong action. We believe that the right policy and economic measures can both enable recovery from the pandemic and drive down emissions. Read DCAN's full submission on Council's draft Four Year Plan here. Contact your local councillor and let them know that you want to see a continued priority on climate emergency action in the 2041 Community Vision Statement and the Four Year Plan.
Lumina and Thomas were very impressive in their knowledge about climate change and their advice to us on what we can do to help. They spoke about the skills they have gained from being involved in environmental and climate change actions and the variety of ways they have discovered to put "their voice out there" - from small, local actions to involvement in much bigger events like the School Strike4Climate.
They reflected that their friends already have information from social media about climate change which is causing stress and anxiety. Lumina and Thomas encouraged us as parents, grandparents, guardians and teachers to fully engage with young people in discussions about climate change and, most importantly, to talk with them about the solutions. We can empower young people through giving them the information they need and by helping them to find ways to take positive actions in line with their concerns.
For Lumina and Thomas, taking action has been the best antidote to their fear and anxiety - a lesson we can all benefit from.
Transitioning from gas to electricity is a great way to save money on your bills, improve your comfort and health and help tackle climate change. Whether you are a home owner, landlord or tenant, doing some early planning means you will have all the information you need when your gas appliance (hot water, heating, stove or cooktop) suddenly breaks down. This leaflet will help you make the best choice for you, your family or your business by moving to cleaner, cheaper energy.
The leaflet has been produced by a community based, non partisan Climate and Environment Reference Group set up by the Federal Member for Cooper, Ms Ged Kearney. DCAN is an active member of the group which works to promote environmental sustainability and action on the climate emergency.
Over February and March this year, local councils will be consulting their communities over the development of new plans. These plans will set the key priorities and projects for the council for the next four years. We need to make sure that every single councillor is aware of the Climate Emergency we are facing and that actions need to be built into the plan to make sure communities are informed, mobilised and kept safe. The most important thing you can do right now is email or telephone your councillor and tell them you want Climate Emergency action as a priority in the council plan. Contact details for councillors can be found on council websites. If you live in Darebin you can find the contact details for Darebin councillors here.
CACE (Community Action in the Climate Emergency) has developed a wealth of resources to help guide you. Find out more here.
2020 was another very active year for DCAN - even during an extended COVID19 lockdown! While many of our activities moved online we were still able to pack in alot. This included distributing Climate Emergency house signs and booklets, meeting with our State and Federal politicians, producing a scorecard for the Council elections and helping to run a Candidates' Forum, running seven webinars, submitting submissions to several Government inquiries, writing powerful letters to the major newspapers and supporting our young school strikers. Click here to see the highlights with pics and here for a more detailed description. Excited by what you read? Contact us at [email protected] to see how you can be part of the action.
DCAN congratulates the newly elected Darebin Council. We are especially pleased that all of the successful candidates either signed or reaffirmed their support for the declaration of a climate emergency. DCAN looks forward to supporting Darebin Council in taking strong action on climate over the next four years and beyond.