Climate change on council budget agenda

Rob Bakes and his Green Energy Coalition van. Picture: Joe Mastroianni)

A Macedon Ranges group hopes the shire is a step closer to taking the path to carbon neutrality after putting climate change on the council’s agenda during its budget submission process.

The Macedon Ranges Green Energy Coalition, which has collected more than 3000 signatures at markets and events, urged councillors to commit to creating a plan by December this year, with a view to becoming carbon neutral by 2020.

It also called on the council to purchase or produce 50 per cent of its electrical supply from renewable sources by 2015 and 100 per cent by 2016. The coalition recommended installing solar panels on all council buildings at an estimated cost of $1 million.

While the submission did not result in action in this year’s budget, coalition co-ordinator Rob Bakes said the council was now more aware of the community’s appetite for clean energy. ‘‘The arguments are all there. Other councils are doing it,’’ Mr Bakes said.

‘‘People are ready for action on climate change.’’

He urged residents concerned about the environment to make their voices heard.

‘‘The more signatures we get, the more confident the council can be that it’s making decisions the community supports. The way our environment is being denigrated and ignored through the way we live, a lot of people are concerned about it,’’ Mr Bakes said.

A report to the council recommended solar panels be considered for every new building project. Cr John Letchford told last week’s meeting that councillors had been inundated with emails from residents and would “take on board” the community’s aspirations for clean energy.