Murrindindi Shire Council is committed to combating climate change. We know that climate change poses serious risks to our health, our unique landscapes and our way of life – and we are already feeling its impacts.
Extreme weather events such as bushfires, heatwaves, storms and floods are becoming more frequent and severe. Immediate action is needed to reduce climate pollution and help us adapt to a harsher climate.
We also know that climate action will benefit our Shire, with opportunities for local development and improved community wellbeing.
Some of the benefits include cheaper and more reliable power, extra income from renewable energy production and carbon credits, a healthier community that supports the production of fresh, local food and chooses to walk or cycle instead of drive, and more resilient and prosperous tourism and agricultural industries, which support economic sustainability.
Council is currently developing a Climate Action Plan. The Plan will act as a roadmap for the coming years, to help us achieve our goals and work together with the community to combat climate change.
Climate change poses a serious risk to Council’s assets and services. Council is also required under Victorian legislation to consider climate change in decision-making.
In January 2022, we made a formal pledge under the Victorian Climate Change Act 2017 to:
- Work across all areas of Council responsibility to reach net zero emissions by 2035 in our organisation and support our wider community to do the same.
- Prepare ourselves for any unavoidable impacts so that we can keep providing essential services to our community.
- Partner with our community to help the Shire transition to a climate-safe way of life.
We have strategic partnerships that help us accelerate climate action. These include:
- The Cities Power Partnership - Australia’s largest local government climate network, with participants sharing information and support to accelerate local action.
- Goulburn Murray Climate Alliance - A network of 20 committed local government, agency & alpine resort partners across the Goulburn and Upper Murray regions, responding and adapting to climate change through innovative projects and research.
Council has mapped out our pathway to reaching net zero emissions by 2035 (figure 1). This pathway shows the impact of projects including renewable energy purchasing, energy efficiency upgrades, transitioning our fleet to electric, and purchasing offsets. The large drop in 2023/24 is due to phytocapping our existing landfill cell and opening a new one, and introducing a food and organic waste collection service. tCO2-e refers to tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent – a measure that includes other greenhouse gases like methane and nitrous oxide.
Figure 1: Council's emissions reduction projections for Climate Change Pledge
What we've achieved so far
Council has already taken a number of steps, including:
- reducing our emissions by 10% since 2017, by installing more than 130kw of solar power on Council buildings, upgrading hundreds of street and office lights to LEDs, and other energy efficiency upgrades
- signing up to the Victorian Energy Collaboration (VECO), locking in 100% renewable energy for our operations for the next 10 years
- supporting community transitions through a Solar Bulk Buy program, which saw 68 solar systems installed on private homes
- installing two electric vehicle chargers in Kinglake available to the general public
- delivering a program of public education on home composting to keep organic waste out of landfill
- continuing to advocate to State and Federal governments on the importance of addressing local barriers and constraints, and to follow our lead and take more ambitious action to protect our livelihoods and communities.
How does VECO Work?
VECO is the largest local government emissions project in Australia and a huge step forward in combating climate change.
VECO, led by Darebin City Council in Melbourne’s north, will provide 45% of all Victorian Councils’ electricity requirements with renewable energy. As of January 2022, all of Murrindindi Shire Council's electricity accounts switched to renewable electricity, reducing our emissions by 13% every year. This is equivalent to taking 185 cars off the road and takes us closer to our goal of net zero emissions by 2035. This has been made possible through an agreement signed directly with our supplier, where in addition to reducing our carbon footprint we have been able to secure a lower cost by using clean renewable energy generated right here in Victoria.
In the past we were buying fossil fuelled electricity on short-term contracts that only lasted a few years. Now we have joined a group of local governments to pool our energy needs into one long-term renewable contract. The power produced by Murra Warra II and Dundonnell wind farms does not come directly to our buildings, it goes into the national electricity grid. But our contribution means more renewable energy in the grid and less need for fossil fuels like coal and gas.
For every megawatt of renewable energy we purchase, we also get what’s called a Large Scale Generation Certificate (LGC). These LGCs prove this renewable energy was made specifically for us. This allows us to claim that our electricity is 100% renewable and emission-free.
Council also meets much of its own energy needs on site through 130kw of solar panels installed on our buildings across the Shire. We are proud to be part of the global transition away from fossil fuels, which is needed for safe climate.