City's motion passes unanimously at ALGA

27 June 2022

The City of Stirling’s motion on climate change adaptation has passed unanimously at the National General Assembly (NGA), as part of the Australian Local Government Association’s (ALGA) annual conference held in Canberra between 19 - 22 June 2022.

Convened by ALGA, the NGA is the peak annual event for local government, providing a unique opportunity for the sector to engage directly with the Federal Government, to develop national policy and to influence the future direction of our councils and our communities.

The City of Stirling’s motion calls on the Federal Government to:

  1. Work with State and Territory Governments to develop a sustainable, equitable and efficient national funding model for the implementation of coastal hazard management actions to mitigate coastal erosion and inundation
  2. Charge the Productivity Commission with undertaking an investigation into an appropriate funding framework that shares the cost of coastal hazard management appropriately among all levels of government and the community.

Mayor Mark Irwin said the City of Stirling was far from being the only local government in the nation whose coastlines were being affected by climate change.

“Sea-level rise (and associated coastal hazards such as storm erosion, coastal inundation and shoreline recession) is affecting coastal communities across Australia and will continue to affect these communities ongoing,” he said.

“Over the next 50 years alone, it has been estimated that at least $30 billion (net present cost) of investment in large-scale coastal protection and adaptation projects is needed to manage coastal hazards.

“The Commonwealth has recognised that coastal hazards are an issue of national importance but is yet to provide adequate funding to address these hazards. A number of reviews and inquiries into coastal hazard management have been undertaken, which identify the risks to coastal settlements across Australia caused by increasing sea levels and the limited capacity of local governments to fulfil coastal hazard management responsibilities.

“A sustainable, equitable and efficient funding framework will help preserve Australia’s public beaches and foreshores, while minimising climate change impacts on assets such as tourist destinations, ports, marinas, harbours and private property.

“We are doing our part by reducing emissions, addressing localised coastal erosion and coming up with a long-term coastal hazard and risk mitigation plans, however this motion rightly points out that the forces at play are global, and that Federal Government co-investment is not just warranted, it is essential and justified.”

The City of Stirling has endorsed an ambitious but achievable plan for reducing corporate emissions through our Sustainable Energy Action Plan (Corporate) 2020-2030.

This plan is aligned to the goals and commitments of the Glasgow Conference, to reach net zero emissions by 2050, with ambitious targets to reach 100 per cent of the City’s electricity needs from renewable sources and a 70 per cent reduction on emissions by 2030. More recently, the City endorsed a solar escalation program that will see a near-doubling of annual investment in photo-voltaic (PV) panel installations.

The City is also developing a long-term body of work that will identify which assets along the City’s 7km of coastline are most important to residents and how the effects of climate change to the coast can best be managed into the future. The Coastal Hazard Risk Management and Adaptation Plan (CHRMAP) will include findings in risk identification, vulnerability analysis, risk evaluation, risk treatment and an implementation plan.

Significant works and costs have already been incurred by the City to manage coastal erosion have occurred at Mettams Pool since 2019, with the installation of geotextile sand containers (GSCs) to support the main ramp.

Cr Linda Scott, ALGA President, said motions passed at this year’s NGA would help inform ALGA’s advocacy over the coming twelve months.

“The motions passed at last year’s NGA underpinned ALGA’s advocacy platform in the lead up to this year’s Federal Election, and our national ‘Don’t Leave Local Communities Behind’ campaign,” she said.

“ALGA was also able to secure commitments from both parties to increase the highly successful Local Roads and Community Infrastructure Program, that will see more federal funding flow into every Australian community.

“Finally, our advocacy resulted in a new $200 million per year Commonwealth disaster mitigation program that will help us better protect our communities from future cyclones, fires and floods.”

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