Bass Coast Shire Council’s corporate greenhouse gas emissions are down almost 10%, falling for the second year in a row new figures released today reveal. Council’s latest Climate Action Snapshot report, which measures progress towards Council’s Climate Change Action Plan target of net zero by 2030, shows that emissions have decreased to 11,919 tonnes in the 2021/2022 financial year.
The drop in emissions was attributable to Council’s participation in the Victorian Energy Collaboration (VECO), a partnership between 51 Victorian councils that provides them with 100% renewable energy from wind farms in central and western Victoria. VECO is the largest emissions reduction project ever undertaken by the local government sector in Australia, saving 260,000 tonnes of carbon emissions each year. By powering Council-operated facilities and street lights with renewable energy, Bass Coast has saved almost 2,000 tonnes of carbon emissions in the last 12 months.
The major remaining sources of Council’s corporate emissions are associated with landfill operations and corporate vehicle use. To address vehicle emissions, Council has received funding from the state government under its Electric Vehicle Charging for Council Fleets (EVCCF) program to install four 22kW electric vehicle (EV) chargers at the Wonthaggi Civic Centre and Wonthaggi Council Depot. These chargers provide essential infrastructure that will enable Council to ramp-up the transition of its light vehicle fleet to EVs.
Other key climate action achievements across the last financial year included a record year for the Biolinks program, which saw over 315,000 plants to go in the ground across Bass Coast. These plants are estimated to store almost 60,000 tonnes of carbon over the next 25 years. Council also launched the first ever round of its climate action grants in 2021/2022. Up to $40,000 per year is now available under the Community Grants program to support community climate action projects.
“Action to address climate change is a key priority at Bass Coast, as demonstrated by our Climate Change Action Plan, as well as our commitment to achieving net zero corporate and community emissions by 2030,” said Bass Coast Shire Council Mayor, Cr Michael Whelan.
“The achievements last financial year speak to Council’s commitment to lead from the front in reducing emissions. The VECO partnership is a great demonstration of how local governments are acting with ambition and ingenuity to drive down emissions.”
“Council will continue to work in collaboration with the community and other tiers of government to take meaningful steps towards achieving net zero emissions. Together we will build a community that will be more resilient to future extreme weather events, rising sea levels and coastal erosion that are exacerbated by climate change.”