Bega Valley Shire mayor Kristy McBain said there was a lot of positivity during Wednesday’s launch of the Climate Council’s Cities Power Partnership in Canberra.
Created to tackle a zero emissions future in what was seen as the absence of federal leadership on the issue, the initiative launched at the Mount Majura Solar Farm with 30 mayors from across Australia, representing three million residents.
The launch provided the first opportunity for local governments to interact and share ideas on tackling issues surrounding the future effects of climate change.
“I had some great conversations with mayors from Noosa, Alice Springs and Albury City,” Cr Kristy McBain said.
“I think one of the great benefits is being able to network with other councils going through the same things, and allows us to learn from each other about changes like changing street lights to LEDs.
“It [local government] is the only level of government looking to share information freely to work towards doing things a little better.”
A Climate Council report released on Wednesday stated, “the window of opportunity to limit damaging climate impacts is rapidly closing and governments are struggling to meet this challenge at the pace required”.
“We’re taking seriously the impact climate change is having along our coast,” Cr Kristy McBain said.
The Bega Valley’s nearest city Canberra is aiming to have 100 per cent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2020, and the town of Tathra is headed towards meeting its 2020 renewable energy targets.
While not opposed to the idea of getting the shire involved in the Cities Power Partnership, councillor and former Australian Industry Greenhouse Network chair Robyn Bain had reservations, saying she did not know enough about the Climate Council. and whether forced targets were involved, to make a decision.
“For me it’s about how we can ensure we minimise our footprint and keep the costs down,” she said.
In the next few weeks, Bega Valley Shire Council will reach almost 200 kilowatts of solar power capacity, generating about 240 megawatt hours of emission free energy every year.
“Our partnership [with CEFE] around the Tathra Solar Farm is a great example of what can be achieved,” Cr Kristy McBain said.