Council acknowledges the impacts that climate change is having across Australia and the world. Through previous community consultation we have learned that a green and sustainable environment is extremely important to the residents of Glen Eira. Therefore, in 2020 and 2021, we asked the community for feedback to help us address the climate emergency as a municipality. We also asked the community what their priorities were and what steps we would need to take to mitigate and adapt to future impacts. Community responses informed the development of the Our Climate Emergency Response Strategy 2021-2025 | Dhumbali Wurrungi-biik Parbin-ata.
To inform the development of the new strategy, Council undertook the first stage of community consultation in October and November 2020. This round of consultation gathered initial feedback and ideas from community, staff and key stakeholders.
Community Engagement - Stage One
- Initial feedback and ideas were gathered from the community in October/November 2020. This feedback informed the goals and objectives of the draft Strategy. The methods of engagement used were an online survey and ideas forum, three online workshops, a virtual movie screening with Q&A, presentations at two business events, articles in Glen Eira News and numerous council e-newsletters, large signs in busy parks and distribution of short survey postcards through Council’s libraries and services centre
- All staff survey in October/November and staff workshops in October, February and March
- Sustainability Advisory Committee workshops in August, December, February and May
- Community Voice survey in February/March
- External stakeholder interviews with Eastern Alliance for Greenhouse Action, Melbourne Water, Metropolitan Waste and Resource Recovery Group and Sustainability Victoria
- Traditional Owner engagement from February to May
- Peer review by a sustainability officer at a metropolitan council which has declared a climate emergency.
The outcomes of this consultation coupled with policy research and review led to the development of the draft Our Climate Emergency Strategy 2021-2025, which was endorsed by Council for community consultation on 6 April 2021.
Community Engagement - Stage Two
- The second stage of consultation took place from 7 April to 9 May 2021 to gain feedback on the draft Strategy. The methods of engagement included an online survey, two workshops, articles in Glen Eira News and numerous council e-newsletters, six pop-ups in busy places across the municipality, large signs in busy parks, a telephone survey and an extensive social media campaign
- This period was due to conclude on 2 May, however, it was extended by one week to allow for the six pop-ups and a telephone survey to be completed
- Research and review of current strategies and plans, the broader policy context, local government benchmarking and Glen Eira action to date by external consultant
- A cultural review was completed in April/May by Traditional Owners with a series of recommendations.
Key outcomes included:
- A total of 2,238 interactions, leading to 785 participants providing feedback via telephone, online or in-person
- Those aged between 40-59 years were the most engaged (36%), but there was a good spread of participation from most age ranges, except under 18 years.
Participants indicated the following:
- Climate change was a genuine problem for the future (93%)
- Their own day-to-day habits and behaviours had an impact on the environment (87%) and they cared about their personal impact on the environment (92%)
- Were committed to change their own habits and behaviours to reduce their impact on the environment (91%).
Top three actions they would consider to reducing impacts:
- Buying an electric or very fuel efficient vehicle (66%)
- Switching all gas-powered appliances/ technologies to electric (62%)
- Being involved in a local climate or environment group (58%).
How Council can support the community to take action. All options were supported and the most effective or recommended were to:
• Building more or improving bike and walking paths, making it easier and feel safer
• Providing solar panel bulk-buy programs support and information
- Install electric vehicle charging stations
• Supporting businesses to reduce single-use plastics and packaging
• Council to lead by example
• Advocating for change through information, seminars, meet-ups and signage.
Most important areas for Council to work on to reduce environmental impact and emissions:
- Biodiversity and urban forests – planting more trees to cool our city and support native wildlife
- Water – decreasing our water use, increasing the amount of water we capture locally and improving the quality of water (eg. raingardens)
- Advocacy and leadership – advocating to the State and Federal Governments for stronger climate action and leading by example
- Fossil fuel divestment – moving Council’s money away from financial institutions that in invest in fossil fuels
- Community education and empowerment – providing information and advice to our community on how to cut their carbon footprint
- Waste – reducing waste to landfill by focusing more on waste avoidance, reducing, reusing and recycling
- Sustainable transport – supporting the community with increased access to public transport, walking, cycling and electric vehicle charging stations
- Sustainable buildings – designing energy-efficient and climate resilient buildings, as well as retrofitting existing buildings
- Renewable energy – accelerating our use of renewable energy and moving away from fossil fuels.
The data we collected informed the development of the Strategy and Action Plan. It was evident from the levels of engagement that the community needed to be involved in the development process for implementation to be successful. The Strategy was adopted at a Council meeting on 29 June 2021. The Climate and Sustainability team are currently working to implement the Action Plan.