Latrobe (set) to upgrade climate policy



LATROBE City Council will detail updated climate change policies and targets in its draft Sustainability Action Plan due to be out for comment next year.

It comes as Latrobe City had noted its position on climate change in a 10-point statement from 12 years ago.

But Latrobe Valley Sustainability Group presented council with a petition at its December meeting calling for the statement to be updated in line with new information on climate change.

In presenting to councillors, LVSG treasurer Lorraine Bull said the community was looking to Latrobe City for leadership as the community transitioned from coal in the next decade.

Ms Bull said she hoped the impending Sustainability Action Plan would provide some assurance, and congratulated Latrobe City on some actions it had already been rolling out.

“The need for a climate policy is evident. Investors, business, workers, students, farmers and researchers and visitors are all affected one way or another by council policy,” Ms Bull said.

“Power workers may be just as concerned about bushfire and flood for instance, as anybody else. But they rightly wonder where their future employment might be.”

The state government is now requiring all local governments to consider climate change mitigation and adaptation responses.

Latrobe City has stated it was addressing this through its Council Plan and Municipal Public Health and Wellbeing Plan.

Some of this included a biogas generator at the Hyland Highway landfill, new solar panels on council buildings, street lighting upgrades and geothermal at the Traralgon aquatic centre.

Latrobe City mayor, Kellie O’Callaghan, said council had been been preparing for anticipated coal closures and was supporting alternative energy and low emission technologies.

Cr O’Callaghan said council had a responsibility to ensure every effort was taken to minimise environmental impact.

“Council has acknowledged for a long time that we must take action on climate change, both by supporting international and Australian efforts and focusing on our own impact locally,” Cr O’Callaghan said.

“We are also working collaboratively with other Gippsland councils to deliver innovative solutions that respond to shared challenges of a changing climate.

“This includes our involvement in the Gippsland Alliance for Climate Action.”