Financial savings, greater efficiency and cleaner environmental outcomes are all easily achievable aims for councils, according to visiting Climate Council head Dr Tim Flannery.
Dr Flannery’s visit this week was part of the organisation’s Cities Power Partnership, which provides councils with help reaching their emission cutting objectives, and the ability to share knowledge with each other.
“The partnership is really about facilitating councils to achieve their own goals and ambitions by linking them up, assisting them to gain access to grants and loans and so forth, and giving them the information they require to do all that,” Dr Flannery said.
"One amazing program I heard about here is solar panels for surf lifesaving clubs".Dr Tim Flannery
“Bega was one of the very first councils to sign up. We put a bit of a call out to Australia, and you guys were really in there.”
The 2007 Australian of the Year said there are simple approaches councils can take to lowering their environmental impacts.
“For example, you guys have a big vehicle fleet that burns one million dollars worth of diesel fuel a year,” he said.
“If you were able to replace some of your backhoes and graders with hybrid vehicles, you would be saving a lot of money, and also saving emissions. Those sort of things are very straight forward and simple, but they're not something everyone thinks about.”
He said the hand back of sewerage plants to council also offers an opportunity for solar panel placement, and energy generation through biogas extraction.
Local council also has the opportunity to educate others on its successful green waste scheme, and promote other unique approaches from its communities, he said.
“One amazing program I heard about here is solar panels for surf lifesaving clubs,” he said.
“This very region has pioneered that concept. Imagine taking that nationally, its something council can help facilitate. So, having a national program like that would really put Bega on the map, and that's a pretty big thing to be able to do.”
Dr Flannery visited to host a forum, which saw over 400 tickets pre-booked.