Twenty-four Victorian local governments have lodged a planning scheme amendment with the State Government, to further sustainability requirements for new building development with a simultaneous goal of encouraging net zero carbon emissions.

Along with the amendment, the councils have written to the new Federal Minister for Planning, Lizzie Blandthorn, asking her to support the amendment and to acknowledge that the current planning requirements do not reflect the urgency needed to tackle climate change.

The amendment seeks to build on the current Environmentally Sustainable Development (ESD) requirements for new developments and in doing so, better protect the natural environment, reduce resource and energy consumption, and support the health and wellbeing of future occupants.

Under the proposed changes, new developments would include:

  • Produce net zero carbon emissions
  • Reduce household bills by making buildings more energy efficient
  • Provide a healthier and more comfortable environment for building occupants
  • Better manage water quality, use and collection
  • Protect and enhance greening and biodiversity
  • Be more resilient to changing climate impacts

The 24 councils across Victoria that have collaborated on the amendment are members of the Council Alliance for a Sustainable Built Environment (CASBE) and supported by the Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV).

The councils involved are: Ballarat, Banyule, Bayside, Boroondara, Darebin, Frankston, Glen Eira, Greater Bendigo, Greater Dandenong, Greater Geelong, Hobsons Bay, Knox, Maribyrnong, Mitchell, Moonee Valley, Moreland, Mornington Peninsula, Port Phillip, Stonnington, Strathbogie, Warrnambool, Whitehorse, Whittlesea, and Yarra.

The councils represent approximately half the Victorian population and planning activity.

After the State Government’s recent implementation of Stage 1 of its ESD Roadmap (by creating new planning policy objectives), the councils view this amendment as the next step in improving ESD requirements with detailed, measurable targets that will deliver meaningful outcomes in practice.

MAV President, Cr David Clark, said the councils working within the CASBE were leading the way on tackling climate change with these tangible actions.

“The MAV is thrilled to support CASBE councils from across the state on this incredibly important work,” Cr Clark said.

“Local governments have long led work towards net zero carbon in new builds, but we need governments across all levels – state and federal – to work together if we want to create real change.

“Minister Blandthorn has an opportunity to set her agenda in the Planning portfolio and the MAV – alongside these councils – calls on her and her state colleagues to make ESD a key action item to help make net zero carbon in new builds a reality across Victoria.”

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