BASS Coast Shire Council voted unanimously to adopt the Climate Change Action Plan 2020-2030 at its May council meeting this year.

The plan was developed in consultation with the community through significant engagement with residents, businesses, the agricultural sector and stakeholders, in response to council’s declaration of a climate emergency.

The purpose of the Climate Change Action Plan is to:

• Commit a strong, local contribution to the global effort;

• Set a pathway to help us (Council and the community) achieve zero net emissions by 2030;

• Strengthen Council support for our local community to take climate change action;

• Drive transformation within Council to embed climate emergency considerations across all operations and decisions;

• Guide Council investment that will protect and enhance our natural environment and public infrastructure to ensure it is resilient in the face of a changing climate; and

• Improve transparency, to enable Council to monitor and report on progress.

Supporting the community to take action on climate change, while developing council’s own action plan is important in light of the latest revelations from the IPCC, according to the Mayor, Cr Brett Tessari.

“Globally and locally, there is no doubt we are in a climate emergency. The release of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report highlights the gravity of the situation and supports our September 2019 decision to declare a climate emergency in Bass Coast,” Cr Tessari said.

“We have developed a Climate Change Action Plan together with our community, establishing a strong vision and Plan to achieve net zero emissions by 2030.

“The plan recognises the role of both Council and the community and includes recommended actions for Council, households, businesses, industry and the agricultural sector.

“We are making foundational changes to ensure that every decision, investment, and target needs to have climate change impacts at its centre.

“We are leading the way, as one of 46 Victorian councils to form the largest-ever emissions reduction project by local government in Australia, switching to 100 per cent renewable energy.

“Collectively we have a lot of work to do to restore a safe climate that will maintain the special landscapes and lifestyles unique to Bass Coast.”

For more information on the Bass Coast Climate Change Action Plan 2020-30, visit basscoast.vic.gov.au/climateaction.

What’s in the action plan?

Thirty actions Supporting Bass Coast Community include:

• In partnership with DELWP and the local community, support the delivery of technically feasible, long-term solutions for the Inverloch Foreshore erosion issue, with consideration township impacts and maintaining healthy dune systems, commencing with the establishment of the Regional and Strategic Partnership (RaSP) that includes Council, DELWP and the community; and the local coastal hazard assessment and other investigations undertaken through the RaSP to inform evidence based decision-making.

• Expand the Future Farms, Homes and Festivals project in partnership with Landcare and other stakeholders. The Festival offers a series of workshops, talks and tours centred around the question: What would a comfortable home or profitable farm look like in 2040 and what will we have to do to get there?

As an existing project, the momentum behind the Future Farms, Homes and Festivals project can be leveraged and linked with the Toolkit and education action. The Festival provides opportunities for the community to experience climate change solutions first hand. When: 2021-2030. Budget: $20,000 (2021), $45,000 (2022), budget beyond 2022 to be determined in line with evaluation.

• Partner with community to develop a community portal to house locally relevant climate change information. When: 2021. Ongoing delivery Budget: $50,000 (development), $5,000 per year (maintenance).

• Investigate partnerships and support mechanisms to encourage the development of a physical local centre or hubs for climate resilience, focusing on: Demonstration of key technologies. Education relating to climate resilience homes. Information and connection to local projects and community groups. Local food production and sourcing options. Links with primary, secondary and tertiary education and research opportunities. First peoples land management practices.

• Develop a climate resilient homes, businesses and community groups toolkit (three separate modules) and deliver an campaign to support its adoption.

• Actively explore and facilitate financial assistance for sustainability upgrades for homes and businesses.

• Establish a Climate Emergency Community Grants category to support the initiatives of community groups and organisation. $40,000-a-year.

• Develop a multi-stakeholder local working group with a remit to future-proof essential infrastructure from climate impacts (e.g. drainage, water supply, transport, telecommunications, electricity).

• In the next scheduled update, ensure the Phillip Island and San Remo Visitor Economy Strategy 2035 reflects local opportunities and challenges presented by climate change.

Fifteen corporate actions by council are also proposed.