Sunday, May 26, 2024

Councils contribute to net zero target through SA-first program

A state-first trial is equipping South Australian councils with the tools and resources needed to lower their emissions and compete for extra Federal funding, helping meet the state’s net zero emissions target.

Officially launched in January following an expression of interest process last year, the Local Government Net Zero Accelerate Program is supporting 15 participating councils to identify and report on emissions profiles, act on areas for emissions reduction and establish their own emissions reduction strategies.

SA Local Government Association CEO, Clinton Jury said many councils were already taking proactive steps toward addressing climate change, however for smaller councils it could be difficult to find to work on emission reduction strategies while delivering core services.

“This state-first program provides the funding and expertise needed to help councils reduce emissions, support healthy environments and adopt good sustainability practices,” said Mr Jury.

“Over time, this work will create a consistent, repeatable framework that all councils can replicate in their communities to help our state meet its net zero emissions target.”

The LGA-led trial is the first of its kind in South Australia and is being supported by a $120,000 grant from the Department for Environment and Water.

“Local government plays an important role in delivering vital services for communities and this program will help councils refine their operations to ensure they’re carried out in the most energy-efficient way possible,” said Department for Environment and Water Climate Change Director, Mary-Anne Healy.

“We are pleased to be able to support the LGA and councils – particularly regional councils with limited capacity and resources – in carrying out this important work.”

Councils have already undertaken several workshops, facilitated by Adelaide-based firm, Dsquared Consulting, equipping staff with expert guidance on how to understand their emission sources, collect the data needed to establish their emissions profile, and hear what other councils are doing to reduce their carbon emissions.

By mid-year, it’s expected councils will receive their own specialised Carbon Emissions Profile and best practice guide, while the data collected from councils will provide LGA with a sector-wide snapshot of local government’s emissions profile in South Australia.

Establishing an emissions inventory and identifying priority actions means participating councils are far more eligible for federal funding, through programs like the Community Energy Upgrades Fund, and can actively assist the State Government to halve its greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, the Association says.

Councils participating in the Local Government Net Zero Accelerate Program:

  • The Barossa Council
  • Clare and Gilbert Valleys Council
  • Coorong District Council
  • District Council of Elliston
  • District Council of Grant
  • Kangaroo Island Council
  • District Council of Kimba
  • Lower Eyre Council
  • Mount Barker District Council
  • Rural City of Murray Bridge
  • Northern Areas Council
  • City of Port Augusta
  • City of Salisbury
  • District Council of Streaky Bay
  • District Council of Yankalilla

District Council of Streaky Bay Mayor, Travis Barber said the organisation was keen to join the Local Government Net Zero Accelerate Program and thrilled to have been accepted into this state-first pilot.

“As a regional council, we’re always seeking out ways we can continue putting our best foot forward for our community – and exploring how we can reduce our emissions footprint through more sustainable practices is certainly exciting,” he said.

“Already, the expert support we’ve received through this pilot has been extremely beneficial and we look forward to seeing the outcomes, taking steps towards reducing our emissions and contributing to the ongoing health of our region.”

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