Councils want more say on climate change

Twenty-one local councils, including Mundaring, Augusta and the Town of Bassendean are asking the State Government for easier implementation of community climate change initiatives.

Representatives from local councils meeting in Perth. Photo: Bonnie Meacock.

The Mayor of the City of Fremantle, Dr Brad Pettitt, said the Climate Council’s Cities Power Partnership is working with the West Australian Local Government Association to make reforms to regulation surrounding climate change.

“There are certain roadblocks where local governments are trying to do something … but bureaucracies and state enterprises make it much harder than it should be,” said Dr Pettitt.

Dr Pettitt said an example of a classic roadblock was the financial inability for local governments to change the 200,000 old, inefficient and mercury ridden bulbs in street lights situated around West Australia.

“It’s pretty rough to go to the community and say spend hundreds of thousands of dollars replacing those lightbulbs, but all the savings will flow to Western Power and the state.”

He believes the State Government needs to step into this space and enable partnerships to happen between local governments and private sectors to gain big investment and reduce the state’s carbon footprint.

“There is a real opportunity right now, post-Federal Election, for state action in partnership with local government to address climate change and invest in those new technologies, making us cleaner and greener,” he said.

According to Dr Pettitt, WA is lagging behind the rest of the country and needs assurance around a renewable energy target or an emissions target.

Dr Pettitt said the proposed target should match the science and would suggest WA’s low 8 per cent contribution to emissions reduction should be closer to 50 per cent by the year 2030.

Organiser Tracie Armstrong (r) with Renee and Xavier McLennan.

The acting Director of Cities Power Partnership at the Climate Council, Tracie Armstrong, said WA was unfortunately a little behind and this is their opportunity right now to begin responding.

“There’s a lack of federal leadership in these spaces so local governments are recognising they can’t wait any longer … they have a responsibility to do what needs to be done to keep their communities safe and that’s increasingly recognised by local governments,” she said.

“Local governments are expressing their frustration at the unnecessary roadblocks put in front of them, which create unnecessary costs to their communities.

Shire of Augusta Councillor Naomi Golden said they are on board and they must take action to reduce their emissions.

“We should be doing everything we can to support renewable projects within our communities, to have ownership of our leadership ability,” said Dr Golden.

Fremantle’s Dr Brad Pettitt explains the campaign partnership. Video: Bonnie Meacock.

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