Local Leadership in the Face of Inaction from Federal Government

The Local Leadership in the Face of Inaction from Federal Government stream at MEFL’s Spark! 2018 conference discussed the role of local government in ensuring a fair and equitable transition to a zero carbon energy market.

The stream featured the expertise of:

  • Rob Law, Executive Officer of Central Victorian Greenhouse Alliance
  • Cr Trent McCarthy from Darebin City Council
  • Alix Pearce, Director of the Cities Power Partnership
  • Facilitator Cr Dale Martin, City of Moreland Councillor and MEFL board member.

Rob Law, the Executive Officer of the Central Victorian Greenhouse Alliance, kicked off the stream by highlighting how in the context of Federal inaction, it was more important than ever that local governments continued to drive programs in their communities. In particular, he emphasised that local government actions can make a big difference, especially if there is collaboration through alliances and support organisations.

Cr Trent McCarthy from Darebin City Council, then provided an illustration of just how much of a difference a single local government can make. By declaring a state of emergency in the City of Darebin, the Council has been able to:

  • Establish Climate Emergency Darebin
  • Create a climate emergency plan
  • Run a climate emergency conference bringing together over 350 delegates including scientists, industry, councils, activists and governments.

“The 2018 State Conference of Australian Greens Victoria acknowledges that we face a climate emergency and supports calls by Darebin, Yarra and Moreland City Councils and the recent Climate Emergency of over 350 citizens for a declaration of climate emergency by all political parties and all levels of government in Australia.” Resolution proposed by Cr Trent McCarthy, Darebin City Council

Cr McCarthy reiterated that it was important for local governments to not mislead communities and communicate the facts of climate change, without causing despair. He highlighted that high efficacy messages which emphasised the availability of solutions were most effective.

Source: Cr Trent McCarthy


Finally, Alix Pearce from the Climate Council, showed in practice just how powerful local government collaboration can be. The Cities Power Partnership is a national program that supports local governments making the switch to clean energy. With over 100 member councils, some of the innovative achievements and programs include:

  • Community Solar Bulk-Buy programs
  • EV Fleet Bulk Purchasing
  • Floating solar farm

Thank you to our speakers for sharing their expertise. MEFL has been proud to support local governments through our Positive Charge program and Zero Carbon Strategy.

For more information on the other streams at Spark! please visit MEFL’s website.