Council plays a key role in responding to the challenges of climate change and sea level rise.
With our extensive coastline, pristine natural environments and outstanding built heritage, many of the features that make our community so special are also those that require the most protection from increasingly adverse weather.
We've developed an award-winning Climate Emergency Response Plan in collaboration with the community. The plan commits to achieving net zero emissions by 2031, as well as interim steps including matching local electricity consumption with 100% renewable energy by 2025.
We'll achieve our zero-net emissions goal by completing or facilitating 54 individual actions laid out in the plan. Actions vary from solar bulk buys to a shared commitment to phase out single-use plastics throughout the Borough. Many actions involve partnerships, with community action playing a key role in achieving the targets. We're now developing an implementation plan to further outline how each of the actions in the plan will be achieved.
We've taken concrete action to reduce emissions and deliver climate-friendly infrastructure for our community. By being the first local government area in Victoria to change all our street lighting to low-emissions LEDs, purchasing 100% renewable energy for Council buildings, and making progress towards our Carbon Neutral Action Plan, the Borough of Queenscliffe is a leader in climate-responsible policy.
The Queenscliffe Coastal Management Plan 2006 recognised the likely impacts of climate change on the locations of Queenscliff and Point Lonsdale and recommended further studies into the specific consequences at a local level. Council is currently investing in an updated Coastal and Marine Management Plan to strategically prepare for rising seas and coastal erosion.
In 2010, using Australian Government funding, the Borough carried out a climate change risk assessment on Council assets and services and developed a local adaptation action plan to respond to those risks. The local adaptation action plan, titled 'Preparing for Climate Change in the Borough of Queenscliffe: Climate Change Adaptation Action Plan', helped Council to:
Council adopted its Corporate Carbon Neutral Action Plan in 2012 and has since achieved a number of key objectives, such as:
In 2016, the Borough collaborated with DELWP, the City of Greater Geelong, and three local coastal management organisations to establish 'Our Coast', a project that uses the latest data on projected sea level rise and storm surge to model potential inundation levels across Geelong and the Bellarine Peninsula. The 'Our Coast' program was recognised for its in excellence in March 2018 with the Borough receiving the Australian Coastal Award for Climate Adaptation.
Council facilitated two community solar initiatives (2015 and 2017), which delivered 83 solar installations in Queenscliff and Point Lonsdale. Combined, these solar systems will generate a total 369 megawatt hours of solar power every year, which is the equivalent of supplying electricity to 80 homes in Victoria for 12 months. The solar initiatives reduce the community’s carbon emissions by 369 tonnes every year. Council officers worked with community members to design and deliver the initiatives, which included solar education workshops and selection of a preferred solar system and supplier/installer.
In response to our community’s interest in home batteries to store energy from solar systems, in 2018 Council joined forces with Indigo Shire Council and Towong Shire Council (in Victoria’s north east) to develop the Home Battery Storage Systems: Frequently Asked Questions guide. The guide included information about how battery storage works and what’s needed to be ‘battery ready’.
Note: Council is currently updating its emissions tracking data to include data from 2015 to 2019. Reported emissions include scope 1 and scope 2 emissions.