Shortcomings of Geelong Council’s proposed Sustainability Framework

Your help is needed: Please make a submission to the City of Greater Geelong’s proposed Sustainability Framework

The City of Greater Geelong (CoGG) has created a Sustainability Framework intended to guide Council actions and decisions on sustainability, climate change and environment.

It was developed in response to community demands for Council to declare a climate emergency.

CoGG has invited community input, which is open until 30 May 2020 on

The Framework and Action Plan has been examined by representatives of several community environmental groups. Each group has serious concerns about the content of the Framework as well as the process of its development.

We invite you to make a submission, using the above link.

It is preferable that you are a resident or business in the City of Greater Geelong.

We offer the following as suggested points for you to raise.

The main shortcomings of CoGG’s proposed Sustainability Framework are:

1. Whole-of-Council Action and Responsibility: The Sustainability Framework needs to be whole-of-council and guide all of Council’s decisions and operations towards climate action and environmental protection commensurate with the crisis we are in. There is nothing in the document to show that all sections of Council would be tasked with this.

2. Community and Council partnering for action: The framework considers Council-only operations. There is no inclusion for community education or how Council intends to encourage or influence its constituents’ actions: both businesses and residents. Reducing Council’s own emissions to zero will only reduce less than two per cent of emissions in the municipality.

3. Appropriate community consultation: The process of developing the Sustainability Framework was rushed. We need to have much more time for appropriate community consultation given the importance of the issue.

4. Questionable reporting method: The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) which has been provided for comment by CoGG, is not a suitable reporting framework for local government strategies. There are several significant environmental issues not covered by the GRI, such as Climate Leadership and Land Use Planning and Design.

Additionally, the CoGG GRI only measures performance. There is no reference to sustainable (or climate-stabilising) level against which to benchmark. The GRI has limited application as a benchmark when comparing performance against other councils, given that no other Australian councils appear to be using GRI. There is no point of Council reporting its environmental efforts and impacts if there is nothing to advise the public what a sustainable, science-based Council target would be. 

5. Relevant benchmarking: If CoGG intends to benchmark against other councils, it should compare its progress against those councils that are leading climate action in the our region – such as the Surf Coast Shire, Warrnambool City Council, and Borough of Queenscliffe. Each of these councils are working in partnership with their communities to set goals and develop mitigation and adaptation strategies for their local government area.

6. Science-Based Targets: The Framework lacks targets. Science-based targets are required. Important goals that should be targeted include a zero-net emissions by 2030 target, among others. There is an overall lack of urgency in the Framework.  

7. Biodiversity: Australia and the world is also facing a biodiversity emergency and the Framework has not made this issue a high priority. CoGG has so far only assigned the rank of “medium” level of importance to this issue, which is insufficient given the enormous amount of natural areas managed by council.

8. Messaging and commitment: The Framework (and the CoGG) did not declare a local climate emergency. Also, Council did not state that it will act in accordance with its recognition of a local and global climate emergency. Council recognises that climate change is a global emergency but not a local emergency. As such, it has not obligated itself to offer actions or targets commensurate with this challenge. The enormous economic, welfare, health and infrastructure risk of climate impacts to Council and its constituents is not addressed.  

9. Clever and creative: The Framework is simply a reiteration of pre-existing work. Council is rehashing current works and has not introduced any new actions commensurate with the climate and biodiversity crisis we are currently facing. The process is proving to be an expensive waste of ratepayers’ money if it doesn’t add any value, urgency or resources to Council’s existing work.

→ Go to to let Geelong’s Councillors know what you think about the proposed Sustainability Framework and Action Plan. Open until 30 May 2020.

Geelong citizens gathered in front of city hall on 24 September 2019 to call for Council to declare a climate emergency
20 September 2019: Students’ climate strike, calling for Geelong Council to declare a climate emergency

A bit of context for this call

The newly formed Commission for the Human Future, which is made up of Australian scientists, academics and leaders, have tabled the top 10 threats we face as a global community, and how we can easily act to fix them.

The commission was set up to raise awareness of the nature and scale of the catastrophic and existential threats we face, to share information about them and to help develop lasting solutions to them.

→ The New Daily – 22 April 2020:
The top 10 threats facing humanity and how we overcome them

Commission for the Human Future

One comment

  1. For more council and community cooperation I proposed they initiate Geelong sTREEt project to plant and maintain trees in residential streets.

Comments are closed.