Major projects update
CEO Michael Stretton
In August 2019, Councillors voted in favour of a motion to acknowledge the urgency created by climate change.
As part of the motion, the Council agreed to a set of goals and objectives aimed at limiting the organisation's impact on the natural environment, noting that the science of climate change made it clear that action was necessary at all levels of government, including local government.
These included commitments to achieve carbon neutrality for corporate emissions by 2025, and to source 100 per cent renewable energy for all Council-owned buildings by 2025.
Some 18 months on from that decision, I thought it worth sharing with you some of the steps we've taken to address this challenge.
In November of 2019, the City of Launceston finalised and published its Sustainability Strategy, the road map to help us become a more sustainable organisation. The Sustainability Strategy details the organisation's direction forward, and outlines an initial implementation plan.
In July last year the Council completed an audit of its greenhouse gas emissions, which allowed us to establish our emissions baseline and to identify priority areas for future action.
The Council joined Climate Emergency Australia, a network of more than 100 Australian councils, as well as the City Power Partnership, which is the nation's largest local government climate network.
We've launched new energy efficiency projects, including new solar panel and heat pump installations which are currently underway at the Launceston Leisure and Aquatic Centre, and which will ultimately see the facility transition away from natural gas.
In June last year the Council committed to cease purchasing single use plastics at Council-operated buildings, and to ban single use plastics at Council facilities and at sponsored events on Council-owned land by 2022.
Our landfill facility is an area where we've undertaken some interesting work. For example, the Council has introduced a GPS-based guidance system in our heavy compactor to allow drivers to easily identify which parts of a landfill cell require compaction and which parts don't. This initiative alone has resulted in our compactor using 20,000L less of fuel annually.
We've replaced 4800 street lights with more energy and cost efficient LED globes and installed 1294 solar panels across 12 different Council-managed facilities.
Meanwhile we're continuing work on a Towards Zero Emissions Plan, utilising United Nations sustainable development goals, and exploring automated irrigation systems to limit water consumption.
We're also reviewing our procurement policy with a view to future consideration of environmental and socially sustainable principles.
In short, the City of Launceston is undertaking a lot of work in this area as we seek to make our organisation more sustainable into the future.