Climate Emergency declared by Macedon Ranges Shire Council

Published on 12 April 2021

Macedon Ranges Shire Council voted in favour of declaring a Climate Emergency at the March Scheduled Council Meeting.

The term “climate emergency” is broadly used across the globe to reflect the scientific advice and the need to take rapid, decisive action.

By declaring a Climate Emergency, Council publicly acknowledges that action is urgently required to address the causes and impacts of climate change and avoid irreversible disruption to society, the economy and ecosystems.

“Feedback from the community over a number of years continues to show us that this is a priority for our residents,” said Mayor, Cr Jennifer Anderson.

“We in the Macedon Ranges live in a fire prone part of Victoria. Extreme fire events such as fast moving and highly destructive canopy fires and fire driven weather events, once rare, are now becoming a lot more common.

“In the long term, taking action to mitigate against climate change will have broad ranging benefits for the safety and security of the community.

“Declaring a climate emergency makes a strong statement regarding our priorities, and brings all Council activities together under a single policy umbrella.”

Over the past few years, Council has implemented a range of programs and practices to reduce emissions, both in Council operations and across the wider community.

In 2017 Council adopted the Climate Change Action Plan which establishes an emissions reduction target for Council operations of 25 per cent by 30 June 2021 from 2014/15 levels. The plan also commits Council to plan to achieve zero net emissions by 30 June 2031.

Since adoption of the Plan, Council has achieved the following:

  • 30.4 per cent reduction in emissions from Council operations from 2014/15 levels. This has mainly been achieved through replacement of inefficient street lights with LEDs and installation of solar panels on 17 buildings.
  • Facilitation of community climate change action plans for Malmsbury and the district of Woodend. A similar project is currently underway in Romsey/Lancefield.
  • Commitment to participate in the Council-only renewable energy buying group to secure 100 per cent of Council’s electricity from renewable sources from 1 July 2021.

Council acknowledges the receipt of correspondence from the Macedon Ranges Climate Emergency Declaration Coalition, which included over 400 signatures in support of Macedon Ranges Shire Council declaring a climate emergency.

In a shire-wide survey conducted in September 2019 to help inform Council’s Cool Changes program, Council asked respondents to indicate how urgent they felt it is to respond to climate change. Eighty six per cent of respondents chose the option “It’s a crisis, we need to act urgently”.