Responding to climate change

Looking underneath Queenscliff Pier

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.

How have we responded to climate change so far?

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.

Coastal Management Plan

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.

Climate Change Adaptation Action Plan

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:

  • Identify and prioritise climate change risks to Council operations, services and activities;
  • Identify adaptation actions to improve the resilience of Council; and
  • Identify opportunities to engage with stakeholders and the community on further adaption efforts.

Corporate Carbon Neutral Action Plan

Council adopted its Corporate Carbon Neutral Action Plan in 2012 and has since achieved a number of key objectives, such as:

  • Installing solar power on Council-owned buildings (Council offices, Queenscliff Community Sports Club, kindergarten and Queenscliff Community Hall)
  • Upgrading to energy efficient lighting in Council buildings and public amenities blocks
  • Introducing a kerbside green waste bin service that has diverted more than 2,500 tonnes from landfill since July 2015
  • Purchasing 100% GreenPower for Council-operated caravan parks
  • Upgrading 318 residential streetlights to LED technology in 2018, which reduced Council’s electricity consumption by 55,270 kilowatt hours and saved $10,200 in 2018–19.

Our Coast

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.

Community solar initiatives

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.

Home Battery Storage Systems Guide

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’.

What are we doing currently?

Council plays a key role in responding to the challenges of climate change and sea level rise and where possible working with various federal, state, regional and local organisations to inform and educate the community on practices that support environmental sustainability.

The Borough spends around $115,000 each year dealing with climate change. Initiatives undertaken by Council each year include climate change adaptation per the 2010 report, the Corporate Carbon Neutral Action Program, and the provision of Community Environment Alliance seeding grants.

Specific activities which Council engages in include:

  • Supporting the community to organise and promote events that increase residents’ knowledge on sustainable living and protection of our environment such as the Sustainable Living Show, and annual community planting days
  • Developing education programs and materials to assist residents to correctly use their kerbside wasterecycling and green waste bins including the annual green waste collection calendar and A-Z waste/recycling guide
  • Increasing residents’ opportunity to recycle more household items through organisation of annual e-waste drop-off event, national recycling week collections and ongoing battery and toothbrush collection programs.

How are we tracking?

Council subscribes to an environmental scorekeeper to measure consumption of electricity, gas, water and fuel used to deliver Council services and programs. Emissions have steadily been falling since 2013–14 when tracking commenced. Emissions for Scope 1, 2 & 3 for 2018–19 totalled 709.28 tonnes carbon dioxide equivalent.

While the Borough aims to be a leader in preventing and preparing for climate change, we can make an even bigger impact by working with other levels of government. Council will continue to work with the state and federal governments to develop practical and effective solutions. With a wide range of Australians increasingly looking to governments to prevent and prepare for climate change, the Borough of Queenscliffe reaffirms our commitment to building a sustainable, secure future for our community.