Suggestions for Geelong Council’s draft climate change response plan

Submission to City of Greater Geelong

Centre for Climate Safety’s response to the City Council’s draft Climate Change Response Plan

We congratulate the City of Greater Geelong for having presented a courageous and decisive target to address this crucial climate issue. The target of zero carbon by 2035 is backed up with a wide-ranging set of actions, which provides an excellent starting point for the unprecedented level of sectoral cooperation and collaborative effort that will be necessary if we are to achieve the target 2035 outcome. However, the usual incremental change processes we are all used to have little chance of producing the required collaboration and outcomes in the time we have available.  We see the draft Climate Change Response Plan as an invitation to its many stakeholders to get creative and to generate positive solutions that can quickly deal with the inevitable roadblocks.

The draft plan in its present form appears to be heavily weighted towards the City of Greater Geelong and its residents, with relatively little indication of the consultation and involvement with, and support from, the business sector i.e. manufacturing industry and commerce, or with the public sector – entities like utilities, health, education, ports and coastal protection. Specific commitments from these sectors must be a central feature of the plan if it is to gain the necessary universal support. Just like the COVID-slogan, “We’re all in this – together!

The draft Climate Change Response Plan for City of Greater Geelong is a timely document, that is absolutely worthy of detailed community responses. Since it is so extensive in its scope, our group has elected to provide its suggestions and comments in the form of comprehensive additions and edits to the original document, rather than limiting ourselves to a traditional submission of selected points.  

Read the submission

The most important proposed additions and changes, and their rationale, are outlined in a redrafted Executive Summary, along with the warnings delivered by the IPCC soon after the draft plan had been published. Please note that not all our edits in ‘Part B’ of our proposed Executive Summary have also been incorporated into the detailed plan that follows.

The original actions within the plan have been collected, chronologically sequenced, separated between City and Community, and presented here as a 5-page Appendix. The intent of this is to provide a sharper action orientation for the plan. Ideally all actions will be introduced with a suitable ‘commitment-to-action’ verb beyond ‘review’, ‘consider’ and the like.

All actions should be time-bounded and tabulated as a schedule for project management, and subject to frequent review.

Attention is drawn to some gaps in the plan.

We have suggested a simple but important variation to the structure of the plan, to combine ‘like-with-like’ and to provide more visibility to Adaptation.  

Given that the City’s emissions are around one percent of the total community emissions, the sequencing of strategy and actions should reflect this.   

The detailed actions in the earlier ‘Who is Responsible?’ section and particularly in the ‘Principles 1 to 7’ sections that follow this section are a bit repetitive and tedious to absorb.

The actions don’t always start with a real ‘action’ verb, they don’t always include a completion date, and they don’t lend themselves to a time-sequenced schedule for project management.

We have added a new section to the document in the form of a (temporary) appendix. In this added five pages, the detailed actions under each heading have been drawn where possible directly from the original document’s text and boxes, with grouping, sequencing and minor rewording to emphasis ‘action orientation’ for project management purposes. A number of new roles and actions have been added. We have also recommend that some modifications to the layout and content of above sections be considered.

(We deleted the contents page, since our additions affected page numbering).

We hope the City will see our input as positive and constructive, and not as an overall negative response to the draft. We believe that clear and decisive intentions and language are very important for this document, and we hope the reviewers will see our contributions in that light.


Alan Barlee                Mik Aidt  

Centre for Climate Safety, Geelong
24 August 2021

Read the submission

Have your say: go to City of Greater Geelong’s website before 25 August 2021 at 5pm


  1. Go to to lodge your submission.
  2. Recommendation is to draft on a Word or saveable document, then copy paste, just in case internet drops out and so you maintain a record.
  1. Start by introducing yourself, why you care about the project and why you’ve taken the time to make a submission (for example “As parent I am concerned…..”)
  2. Identify the key issues that you want to raise and why they concern you, refer back to key points and the project documents [include proposal link]
  • Make it as long or as short as you like, e.g. a few sentences or paragraphs or more.
  • Make it unique, written in your own words. Include things that are relevant to you and the reasons why you are making a submission. Make sure if you are using the key points provided that to put them into your own words for your unique submission
  • Avoid unsupported claims. Use evidence and data to support your statements. You can reference sources if you feel confident they support your claims. This does not have to be formal referencing; you can simply include links to articles or reports you have read that back your claims.
  • Links to articles and further reading related to the project key points were shared via email. Don’t link to the sources unless you feel comfortable with the content you are referring to. It is not necessary to include references but do ensure the points you make in your submission can be supported.
  • Be polite, respectful and clear. A lot is at stake, but the review team will dismiss submissions that are rude or target individual public servants.
  1. Conclusion: summarise your submission and why you’re asking for the Climate Response Plan to be reviewed and amended based on points raised. Reiterate why it is so important to you and your community.

Excerpt of Australian Parents for Climate Action’s Key Points: What to include in your submission

“Geelong can seize the economic opportunities to build prosperity and sustainable jobs. Geelong has the infrastructure, skilled workforce and manufacturing heritage to become a regional hub for renewables and advanced manufacturing. We must rapidly electrify our homes, industry, commerce and transport. Reducing demand for gas will reduce the need for more gas supply and the import terminals proposed for Corio Bay.”
Geelong Sustainability’s submission

Wednesday 25 August 2021

Council joins regional alliance to tackle climate change

The City of Greater Geelong has further strengthened its commitment to action on climate change, becoming a foundation member of a new climate alliance for south-west Victoria.

The newly established Barwon South West Climate Alliance is expected to feature councils, water authorities and other organisations between Greater Geelong and Glenelg Shire on the Victoria-South Australia border.

It will work to deliver climate change initiatives that provide joint benefits for the entire region.

The alliance will also provide a platform to share information and ideas.

Mayor Stephanie Asher said the council’s decision to join the alliance represented the latest in a series of moves aimed at showing leadership on climate change.

“We have heard clearly from the community that they want to see us taking strong action on climate change,” Mayor Asher said.

“Our draft Climate Change Response Plan includes a number of ambitious but achievable targets, including reaching net zero emissions Greater Geelong-wide by 2035.

“As part of this alliance we will have the opportunity to work closely with other members on projects that will advance us towards that aim, as well as gaining new ideas to further support our work.”

The City of Greater Geelong is already a non-fee paying member of the Western Alliance for Greenhouse Action, a group made up mostly of metropolitan councils from Melbourne’s western suburbs.

Councillor Belinda Moloney, Chair of the Climate Change Action portfolio, said becoming a founding member of the new alliance demonstrated the Council’s passion and dedication to tackle climate change.

“Being part of the two alliances will give Greater Geelong the opportunity to shape both metro/growth area and regional climate change initiatives,” Cr Moloney said.

“Grassroots and local initiatives are driving climate action in this country, and the cross-pollinated collaborations that will come about from the expertise and knowledge of these alliances will move our environmental protection to a new level.”

As an example of the potential impact of the new alliance, the Central Victorian Greenhouse Alliance (featuring 13 councils including Ballarat, Bendigo and Swan Hill) has delivered $60 million in climate change related projects over the past seven years.

This has led to a significant reduction in that region’s greenhouse gas emissions.

A $15,000 membership contribution has been included in the Council’s 2021-22 budget.

The alliance is being established with the help of funding from the Victorian Government.

Community feedback on the council’s draft Climate Change Response plan closes today (25 August) and will then be assessed before a final version of the plan goes before council for adoption.