Boroondara Climate Action Plan
Boroondara Council committed to develop a Climate Action Plan for the municipality at the end of 2019, but the plan has still not been completed. Finalisation of a plan which rapidly drives down emissions in Boroondara should be an urgent priority for the Council.
The positive news is that since the election of a new Council in October 2020, we have significantly more Councillors who are committed to meaningful climate action. Two of the Councillors who supported a climate emergency declaration in May 2020 were re-elected, and three new Councillors who scored strongly on our climate questionnaire plus another with good (though somewhat qualified) responses were also elected. That makes six of eleven Councillors who support effective climate action.
However, we can’t afford to slacken the pressure on the Council to produce an ambitious Climate Action Plan.
What’s the Council done?
The Council has now completed three rounds of community consultation on the Climate Action Plan. The first (in August and September 2020) included an open access on-line survey and a random phone survey. The results of the two surveys were broadly similar, confirming strong support for development of the plan, the high importance to the community of action in all relevant sustainability areas, and a high percentage of people already taking action, with many wanting to do more. Full details of the consultation results can be found here.
The second round of consultation (in March 2021) included another on-line survey and two on-line community forums. The results have not been published.
In addition, the KCCA was invited to make a presentation to the Council’s internal Climate Action Plan Advisory Committee in March. The Committee is chaired by Cr Wes Gault, and includes five other Councillors as members (Jane Addis, Susan Biggar, Victor Franco, Nick Stavrou and Garry Thompson). The KCCA also submitted a document to the Council setting out recommended climate priorities and actions for the Council and providing examples of climate initiatives undertaken by other Councils.
The Council released a draft Climate Action Plan in July 2021, and the community was invited to comment on the draft via an on-line survey or by making a submission. There were a number of very positive things in the draft, including targets for carbon neutrality for both Council operations and the community as a whole, and a commitment to embed climate action in Council staff roles and responsibilities. However, the draft needs significant strengthening if it is to be an adequate response to the climate emergency. It lacks detail and urgency, and the 2030 emissions reduction targets are unambitious.
The KCCA submission on the draft provides Council with detailed suggestions about how the draft could be improved.
What happens next?
The Council is now developing the final version of the plan, together with an implementation plan. It is understood there will be no further opportunity for community input, and that the final plan will be considered for adoption at the Council meeting on 27 September 2021.
Demand Climate Action in Boroondara!
Although consultation on the draft Climate Action Plan is now over, we need to keep the pressure up on Councillors while the final version is being prepared. The KCCA has given the Council clear and detailed feedback about how the plan should be strengthened, and many other individuals and groups have made submissions. However, some Councillors will only be swayed if they think many of their constituents want the Council to act. Please consider sending your Councillor a short email (with copies to all Councillors) telling them how concerned you are about the climate emergency and asking them what they are doing about it. Or better still, call them and tell them directly what you think. You can find contact details for all Councillors here.
Community Plan refresh
The Council is also undertaking a ‘refresh’ of its 10-year Boroondara Community Plan. This is a key document for the Council, outlining a 10-year vision to guide the Council’s planning, Budget, services and actions under 7 priority themes, including the Environment.
A draft plan has now been prepared, and the Council is inviting feedback via an on-line survey, with a closing date of 5pm on Tuesday 14 September 2021. Please take this further opportunity to highlight the importance of climate action for the people of Boroondara.
What do our Councillors say about the climate?
All candidates were invited to complete our detailed climate questionnaire before the election in October 2020. The questionnaire (which also covered governance issues) was designed to identify the policies and actions which candidates were committed to pursuing if elected. You can find the full responses of the successful candidates who responded by clicking on their names below.
Garry Thomson (Solway)
Four of the elected Councillors declined to answer the questionnaire, three of whom were on the previous Council and voted against declaration of a climate emergency (starred below):
Jim Parke* (Bellevue)
Felicity Sinfield* (Cotham)
Nick Stavrou (Studley)
Cynthia Watson* (Maranoa)
We need to hold our councillors to account, and make sure they deliver what they promised. And of course we need to keep up pressure on the recalcitrant councillors to deliver for the community on the climate.
Join our Council Campaign!
If you would like to join our campaign for climate action in Boroondara or help with any of the other work we do, please volunteer here.