We’ve declared a Climate Emergency in Bayside with overwhelming community support and need your input to help us take decisive action to address the impacts of climate change.

To help us take immediate and decisive action, we sought community feedback to develop our Bayside Climate Emergency Action Plan.

The plan includes actions Council will take to respond to the Climate Emergency, as well as support for our local community to take action to reduce our impact on the environment.

As a community, Bayside emits around 1.2 million tonnes of greenhouse gases per year. We are some of the highest greenhouse gas emitters per capita in the world.

75% of our greenhouse gas emissions come from the burning of fossil fuels to provide electricity and gas to homes and businesses. The remaining emissions come from transport (22%) and waste (3%) [source].

While we’ve been working since 2008 to become carbon neutral in Council’s operations, (and will become carbon neutral this year) the Bayside Climate Emergency Action Plan will help us take the next step.

The final Climate Emergency Action Plan was presented to Council at its meeting on 15 September 2020.

How do I read this draft Action Plan?

Actions are presented under the seven Bayside Climate Emergency Themes. However, many actions contribute to multiple Themes, and as such, the Actions should be considered and delivered as a system.

Each action has: a nominated timeframe for delivery; an estimated cost; budget source; consideration of the delivery complexity; identified lead responsibility for implementation; and an outcome.

Deliverables are specific steps taken to achieve the action. The outcome states what is achieved by the action

Timeframes used in the Action Plan are dated. Unless actions are ongoing, they are to be achieved by the end of the 2024/25 year.

Costs used in the action plan have been categorised as follows:

· Low <$50,000

· Medium $50,000-$500,000

· High >$500,000

The cost ranges listed for actions are cumulative across the timeframe for delivery, i.e. the cost category refers to estimated expenditure across all years for the action to be completed, not each year.

Delivery complexity refers to the extent that the current barriers and enablers to deliver an action are understood by the organisation. This is categorised as follows:

· Low Well understood enablers with minimal barriers

· Medium Enablers and barriers are mostly understood

· High Multiple barriers to delivery with enablers not yet well understood

Examples of enablers and barriers can include: financial, number of stakeholders involved, technology barriers, or required community support.

Responsibility for implementation refers to the Lead team to deliver the action and any further collaborators, both internal and external to Council. The Lead team is the first named.

Which actions are included in the draft budget for 2020/21?

Actions in the draft Action Plan to be delivered in 2020/21 have considered current funding and resource constraints and known and/or committed budgets.

Existing Council budget will be allocated to departments continuing works and operations responding to the Climate Emergency. Implementation of the actions in 2020/21 uses Council operational budget allocated to departments, which includes budget for staff resources. The costs listed for actions in the draft Action Plan do not include the estimated cost of staff resources for delivery.

An additional $172,880 has been allocated in the draft 2020/21 Budget to purchase carbon offsets and achieve carbon neutrality from 2020. Council has also committed to purchase renewable electricity for all its streetlighting and large sites from 2020/21.

Actions will be updated in 2021/22 with future deliverables, subject to funding and resource allocations in future budgets.

As part of the development of this Action Plan, extensive community engagement was undertaken from 3 February to 27 March 2020. During this time over 2,900 people provided feedback through face to face, online and written formats. More detail on the activities and participation is included in Section 8 of the Action Plan, Methodology.

During the engagement six key themes were explored: a further theme was added to include Council’s internal organisational approach. ‘Renewable Energy’ was the most frequently selected of the six themes for Council to focus on in the Climate Emergency Action Plan, with 37% of responses identifying this as the top priority. This was followed by 29% who selected ‘Waste’, and 27% who selected ‘Sustainable Buildings and Homes’ as their top priority area for Council.

Further key insights from both the engagement within Bayside City Council and with the community were:

  • The vast majority of the engaged community supported Council’s Climate Emergency declaration and believed that the declaration needs to be coupled with strong action.
  • There is strong cross-organisational support to deliver the Action Plan.
  • The Action Plan should achieve a balance of actions and approaches that fall between a level of ambition that is ‘Transformational’ and ‘Leading’. Engaged community members expected to see evidence that Council is seeking a deeper transformation through the delivery of the Action Plan.
  • It is important that messaging about the ‘Climate Emergency and delivery of the Action Plan feels relevant to the majority of people in the community.
  • Encouraging and empowering the community is likely to be a key challenge for Council and will require a whole of Council approach, and strong community partnerships.
  • There is a significant expectation from the community that Council will advocate strongly to State and Federal Governments for deeper systems change.
  • There was broad support in the community for Bayside to set targets aligned with State Government targets.
  • While existing Council plans and strategies include actions addressing climate change, there is a significant opportunity to build on these in the context of the ‘Climate Emergency’. There are examples of specific actions assessed as ‘best practice’ that have shown to have a big impact.

These insights have supported the development of the Action Plan. The work to develop actions included in the Plan was undertaken to help ensure that the actions align with Council, community and staff expectations and interests.

You can also click here to view the online ideas board from the first phase of engagement.

The purpose of declaring a ‘Climate Emergency’ is to recognise the need for urgent, meaningful action on climate change, and mobilise for emergency action to reverse current trends and secure our planet for future generations.

The evidence for human-induced climate change caused by the burning of fossil fuels such as coal, oil, and natural gas. Burning of fossil fuels releases greenhouse gases (including carbon dioxide) into the atmosphere which trap heat and alters our climate systems causing biodiversity loss, loss of farming land, sea level rise, and more frequent and intense extreme weather events.

Rapid reduction in the use of fossil fuels is needed to reverse current trends and prevent climate impacts including:

  • Harsher and longer fire seasons
  • More hot days and heat waves
  • Less rainfall in winter and spring
  • More intense rainfall events
  • Increased maximum and minimum temperatures

To read more about the science of climate change, please see (also available in the Document Library):

  • Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning Climate Science Report (2019).
  • United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Report (UN IPCC 2018)
  • Victorian State Government and CSIRO local scale climate projections Report (2019).

To read more about the ‘Climate Emergency’, what Council is doing and what you can do please visit the Council's website.

Draft Climate Emergency Action Plan

Summary of themes and objectives from the Action Plan.