The Victorian Government recognises that acting on climate change is fundamental for a thriving and resilient future for Victoria, and it is more important than ever for us to work together to address these significant challenges.

The Climate Change Act 2017 legislates a target of net zero emissions by 2050 and provides a clear signal to all sectors of the Victorian economy for sustained and significant actions to reduce emissions. The Act sets five-yearly interim targets, with the first period from 1 January 2021 to 31 December 2025. The Act also requires pledges to reduce emissions in line with interim targets. The first sector pledges have now been released.

  • Sector pledges relate to actions that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions related to specified economic sectors across Victoria: energy; transport; agriculture; land use, land use change, and forestry; industrial processes and product use; and waste.
  • A whole-of-government pledge relates to actions that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the activities and operations of the Victorian Government; and
  • Voluntary council pledges are associated with actions that will reduce emissions related to the performance of a council’s powers and duties under the Local Government Act 2020.

To bring these pledges together, the Climate Change Act requires a Climate Change Strategy to be prepared that aligns with the five-yearly interim target periods. Victoria’s Climate Change Strategy has now been released.

Council pledges

Voluntary council pledges under the Climate Change Act seek to acknowledge the substantial efforts of local governments on climate change. A council pledge should include:

  • council actions over next 5 years (from 1 January 2021 to 31 December 2025) that are reasonably expected to reduce emissions caused or otherwise influenced by the council; and
  • a reasonable estimate of emissions reductions that are expected to result from those actions.

Recognising the current operating environment, the Government is proposing a more flexible approach to council pledges and is encouraging councils to submit:

  • council pledges that can include actions without identified emissions reductions; and
  • collective pledges that reflect actions being taken by multiple councils, such as those working together on cooperative projects and through partnership organisations.

This flexible approach seeks to recognise the significant breadth of climate action while making it easier for councils to submit pledges. Every action taken by councils is important and helps us to get closer to our goals for net zero emissions.

Pledges that have been submitted can be found on the Submitted council pledges page.

How to make a council pledge

1. Timing of council pledges

The Climate Change Act specifies that council pledges must be submitted by 1 August 2020 for the first five-yearly period (1 January 2021 to 31 December 2025).

Considering the unprecedented circumstances of 2020, and to support a more flexible approach to pledges, this date has been extended to allow for ongoing submission of council pledges with no deadline.

2. Preparing a council pledge

Council pledges are intended to recognise whatever actions your council is taking that help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Some examples of individual and collective council pledges are below.

For example, your council’s pledge may include:

  • A brief statement of your council’s commitment.
  • A list of the key actions you will implement over the 2021-25 period to reduce emissions, which could include existing climate change strategies, energy efficiency programs, investments in renewable energy systems on council facilities, purchases of energy through Green Power or negotiated Power Purchase Agreements.
  • Where possible:
    • include an estimate of the emissions reductions that are expected to result from these council-oriented actions.
    • identify which of those actions are focussed on council operations compared to a broader community focus.

More information is available for councils that wish to include an estimate of the emissions reductions associated with their pledge.

Sustainability Victoria has advice on energy upgrades for your council and information on the Local Government Energy Saver Program.

3. Format

  • There is no set template – a council pledge is not required to follow the outline above.
  • There are no length requirements – a council pledge may be succinct or detailed.
  • Pledges received to date can be found on the Submitted council pledges page.

4. Submitting council pledges

Councils may submit their pledge by writing to the Minister at: lily.dambrosio@parliament.vic.gov.au.

Where to get further help

For further guidance and if you have any questions or suggestions please contact DELWP Climate Change Policy at climate.change@delwp.vic.gov.au.

Examples of council pledges

  • Council actions (qualitative): A council may submit an existing climate change strategy for its corporate operations and / or across its local community (community-scale), where actions within that plan are expected to result in emissions reductions during the 2021-25 period.
  • Estimating emissions reduction (quantitative): Emissions reductions could be estimated for each of the actions contained in the plan, or as a total sum of all actions. Preferably, estimates should be focused on emissions reductions within a council’s corporate operations for the 2021-25 period, even where actions extend beyond this timeframe.
  • Council actions (qualitative): A council may submit an existing energy efficiency or renewable energy plan, where actions within that plan are expected to result in emissions reductions during the 2021-25 period.
  • Estimating emissions reduction (quantitative): Emissions reductions could be estimated for each of the actions contained in the plan, or as a total sum of all actions. Preferably, estimates should be focused on emissions reductions within a council’s corporate operations for the 2021-25 period, even where actions extend beyond this timeframe.
  • Council actions (qualitative): A group of councils may submit a collective pledge related to collaborative actions they are undertaking across the state, such as the Local Government Buyer’s Group on Renewable Energy, where those actions are expected to result in emissions reductions during the 2021-25 period.
  • Estimating emissions reduction (quantitative): Emissions reductions could be estimated for each of the councils individually, or as a total for all councils. Preferably, estimates should be focused on emissions reductions within a council’s corporate operations for the 2021-25 period, even where actions extend beyond this timeframe.
  • Council actions (qualitative): A group of councils may submit a collective pledge related to collaborative actions they are undertaking within a region, such as through a Renewable Energy Roadmap, where actions in that plan are expected to result in emissions reductions during the 2021-25 period.
  • Estimating emissions reduction (quantitative): Emissions reductions could be estimated for each of the councils individually, or as a total for all councils. Preferably, estimates should be focused on emissions reductions within a council’s corporate operations for the 2021-25 period, even where actions extend beyond this timeframe.

Page last updated: 29/04/21