Priorities for nature and climate in the 2021 local government elections
BUSHLAND, GREEN SPACE AND TREES
Set ambitious targets for bushland and urban tree canopy cover
- Set targets for urban trees and urban tree canopy cover. If a target already exists, review it. Develop a plan to achieve the target.
- Set a target for bushland cover. If a target already exists, review it. Develop a plan to achieve the target. Protect and restore remnant bushland, revegetate, protect significant trees
- Enhance protections for remnant bushland and trees through Local Environment Plans and
Development Control Plans.
- Invest more in bushland restoration through the control of weeds and feral animals.
- Oppose removal of bushland and significant trees to enable development.
- When planning and executing bushfire hazard reduction measures, use the latest scientific advice to minimise environmental impacts.
Ensure a koala-friendly council
- Pass the Nature Conservation Council’s Koala Friendly Council motion (available at https://www.nature.org.au/koala_friendly_councils)
Create wildlife corridors
- Identify potential wildlife corridors to link significant wildlife habitat remnants.
- Invest in tree planting, revegetation and ongoing maintenance for these corridors.
Encourage use of native plants
- Use more native plants in council parks and gardens.
- Provide free native plants to home gardeners.
CLIMATE AND ENERGY
Clean up council operations
Set a target of net-zero emissions for all council operations by 2025 by:
- Using 100% clean electricity for all council operations.
- Making all council vehicles, including garbage trucks, electric.
Clean up local transport
- Accelerate the installation of rapid charge electric vehicle stations by working with the local community, businesses and state governments.
- Enhance active transport infrastructure by building and maintaining more and higher quality bike paths and footpaths.
Help locals, businesses and organisations slash their emissions
- Create and implement a local-emissions reductions plans with clear targets.
- Set ambitious energy performance standards for all new developments.
Support national and international movements to reduce emissions
- Adopt the Climate Emergency Declaration, which is already supported by more than 2000 councils across 34 countries.
- Sign up to the Climate Council’s Cities Power Partnership, Australia’s largest local government climate network, made up of over 145 councils from across the country, representing over half of the Australian population.
Ensure a diverse and drought-resilient water system
- Oppose the construction of new dams or other rainfall dependent water sources.
- Invest in system-wide water efficiency.
- Investigate stormwater harvesting and recycling.
- Investigate the use of purified recycled water.
Reduce water waste
- Encourage water saving in households with education and water saving devices.
- Investigate current water wastage across the LGA and implement ways to reduce waste.
- Subsidise rainwater tanks for residential use across the LGA.
Restore our rivers and waterways
- Restore natural wetlands for benefits including stormwater management.
- Set ambitious targets to improve the health of all rivers within the LGA.
- Invest in the active restoration of riparian zone vegetation.
 The NSW Government has pledged to plant 1 million trees in Greater Sydney by 2022 and 5 million by 2030. It also wants to increase tree canopy cover in Greater Sydney from 16% to 40% by 2030. See Total Environment Centre and NSW Government.
 If a project is considered critical infrastructure, apply best-practice approaches to offsetting. First, try to avoid impacts entirely. Second, if impacts are unavoidable, minimise them by modifying the proposal. Third, as a last resort, offset the impacts by restoring and permanently protecting similar habitat nearby.