As students on the Northern Rivers were getting ready to strike for climate action again last Friday, the Ballina Shire Council quietly released a draft climate change policy.
All four local government councils on far north coast have declared climate change emergencies in recent years, with the Tweed Shire Council so far appearing to be the one most actively pursuing its goal of net zero emissions by 2030.
In July last year, Tweed Shire Councillors called for further action to meet 2022 and 2025 carbon emission reduction targets after a review of its Renewable Energy Action Plan showed savings had substantially increased but weren’t as high as projected.
The council adopted an Interim Climate Action Plan featuring 57 emissions reduction and climate change adaptation actions.
Meanwhile, the Byron Shire Council hopes a new solar farm planned for Myocum and a bio-waste-to-energy plant planned for the Byron Arts and Industry Estate will help it meet its net zero emmissions goals.
The Echo has asked the council whether it has a more recently updated version of its climate change policy than the 2009 document available via its website, which hasn’t been reviewed since 2014.
In Lismore, the city council declared a climate change emergency in 2019 before asking the public for feedback on a climate resilience policy statement late last year.
The Ballina Shire Council says its targets are more ambitious than the NSW and Australian Governments and has joined the Tweed and Byron Shire Councils in aiming for net-zero greenhouse gas emissions and 100% renewable electricity for all operations within the next decade.
The council says the targets are achievable as they focus on council services such as water and wastewater, street lighting, community facilities, and planning and development.
The Ballina Shire Council’s draft Climate Change Policy also considers climate change mitigation, adaptation, and resilience strategies within the community.
Public feedback on the draft policy and participation in the council’s climate change action survey is possible before end of day 16 June via ballina.nsw.gov.au/Climate Change Action.