Council reaching for net zero

MOVING TOWARDS ZERO: District Council of Grant environmental and health team leader Aaron Price said the Local Government Association initiative was a great opportunity for council. Picture: CHARLOTTE VARCOE

Charlotte Varcoe

THE District Council of Grant is making moves towards reaching net-zero emissions targets under a Local Government Association program.

Council is the only one in the Limestone Coast to take up the program and is one of 15 from across the state.

Officially launched in January following expressions of interest last year, the Local Government Net Zero Accelerate Program aims to support the councils to “identify and report” on emission profiles, act on areas for emissions reduction and establish their own emissions reduction strategies.

The association-led trial is the first of its kind in South Australia and is supported by a $120,000 grant from the Department for Environment and Water.

While several workshops facilitated by Adelaide-based firm Dsquared Consulting have already taken place, council is expected to have its own specialised carbon emissions profile and best practice guide.

District Council of Grant environmental and health team leader Aaron Price said the Local Government Association initiative was a great opportunity for council.

“I imagine there should be some learnings out of it that we can share with our neighbours and other like-sized councils and regional councils,” Mr Price said.

“We are in the preliminary phase in terms of working with the consultant who has given us a spreadsheet to start mapping through all of our energy uses.”

He said this included machinery, plant telecommunications, waste management and waste streams as well as fuel usage.

“We will collate all that data and go back through the consultant and late in the year we are hoping to get an understanding of our emission sources and a draft emissions summary report specifically for our council,” Mr Price said.

“The fact there might be some federal and state funding opportunities down the track – depending on what is realised in the study – is a good opportunity.”

He said council would not often get data such as this and labelled it as a “good learning curve” for all.

“I presume in time we will need to be doing this sort of recording anyway so why not be on the front foot and help us handle this and let it guide us on how to compile the data,” Mr Price said.

“We record on all sorts of other means in terms of licensing and other government requirements but we pull the information together in the same manner so there has been a good collaborative effort.”

He said being a part of the program was exciting and gave council a bit of a “lead role”.

“We are privy to this and we would be able to share and support something first in the region,” Mr Price said.

“We are at the tail end of finalising the data and fielding any calls or queries from the consultant and so in terms of how the information is packaged up and making sure it is in working form for them.

“Once they are satisfied that it covers all of our sites and different areas of operation we will wrap up that part.”

A further report is expected to come back to council later in the year.