Council is currently involved in various projects aimed at mitigating and adapting to the effects of climate change in our region.
The term “climate change” refers to changes in climate like increasing temperatures, more frequent extreme weather events and rising sea levels caused by increases in greenhouse gas emissions in the atmosphere. While we can avoid the worst effects of climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions, some impacts are unavoidable and are already occurring.
The Regional Climate Adaptation Plan (2014) identifies risks, vulnerabilities and priority adaptation actions for six partner councils in the Southern Lodden Mallee Region. It complements the Macedon Ranges Climate Change and Adaptation Report (see below).
The plan provides a roadmap for future regional collaborative projects and identifies ways to reduce duplication across local government areas in addressing climate change. It includes:
Preparation of the plan was funded by the Victorian Adaptation and Sustainability Partnership (VASP) and led by the City of Greater Bendigo.
In 2012, Council carried out a climate change risk assessment to understand how vulnerable our organisation, local communities and natural environment are to the potential effects of climate change. The result of this work was the Climate Change Adaptation Report in Climate Change Adaptation Report(DOCX, 2MB) or Climate Change Adaptation Report(PDF, 3MB).
The report highlights population growth predictions and emerging trends in employment, education, health, population and industry. It includes details of historic extreme weather events to help us understand the real-life impact of climate change on Council-managed infrastructure and the natural assets of the shire.
It is a valuable reference tool to help build awareness and understanding of climate change in the community. It also identifies many opportunities available to Council to improve the way we do business and better respond to our community’s needs.
In June 2016, Council adopted a target to reduce greenhouse emissions from its operations by 25 per cent by 2020–21, from the baseline year of 2014–15. On 28 June 2017, Council adopted its first Climate Change Action Plan to outline how it will meet this target, and how it will support the community in climate change action.
More information on Council's guidelines for achieving objectives around and including climate change can be found in Council's overarching environment policy document, the Macedon Ranges Environment Strategy.
A few months ago Malmsbury was selected as the location for a new project—the development of a community climate change action plan.
The project commenced with a short information session held at the Malmsbury Town Hall on 14 October 2018. The mayor welcomed approximately 30 residents who attended the session, to learn more about the project and share ideas about how it may be implemented. The enthusiasm of attendees continued into discussion over lunch.
Two workshops held on Sunday 28 October and Sunday 11 November at the Malmsbury Mechanics Institute saw residents explore ideas about climate change and environmental sustainability, define draft goals, and start scoping actions that would help meet those goals at the local level.
An information stall at the Malmsbury Fayre on Sunday 18 November enabled many more residents to become engaged with the project and express their support for the local action plan.
Consultants Amy and Gavin are now drawing together outcomes from the workshops into a preliminary Sustainable Malmsbury Action Plan.
The outcomes from these workshops are summarised below:
Draft goal: Work towards zero net emissions
Malmsbury will make a contribution to climate change mitigation. We are joining the global community of business, governments, groups, towns, cities and local councils also working toward zero net emissions.
The breadth of this goal means that as actions are completed, we can develop new, relevant actions for an ongoing journey toward zero net emissions.
- Draft action: Energy efficiency initiative
- Draft action: Community solar on local businesses
Draft goal: To grow a sustainable, resilient and connected community
Having strong social connections and practised capacity to collaborate is a key factor in helping communities manage shocks and stresses (heat waves, floods, drought, etc.). Communities that can self-organise are better able to respond and support each other in times of crises.
Connected communities also have a huge positive impact on the health and wellbeing of individuals within that community.
- Draft action: Malmsbury food web
Draft goal: Wise resource use
We can shift the conversation from ‘waste’ to ‘resource use’. Through this goal we are contributing to climate change mitigation and creating opportunities to build resilience through sharing and reusing resources at the local level.
- Draft action: Green waste chipping service
- Draft action: Tip shop
- Draft action: Hard resource swap / collection day
Final workshop and community picnic
The final workshop for the project will be held on Sunday 10 February, 10am – 12.30pm at the Malmsbury Town Hall, followed by a community picnic.
The draft action plan will be further developed and community members can join informal action groups to refine actions and plan for their implementation.
Community members are welcome drop-in for any part of the workshop and/or picnic, or stay for both.
If you are keen to be involved in some way, shape or form (even in a small way), or just want to find out more and be kept informed about the project, contact Silvana Predebon by phone (03) 5421 9659 or email email@example.com