Local climate action needs federal support

Climate change and energy have dominated this federal election campaign. But among the noise and bluster, there's one area that both parties have been notably silent on - support for local governments to tackle climate change.

For many years now, local governments have been quietly powering ahead with making the switch to renewable energy to reduce our climate impact.

But while our work is helping to make a dent in Australia's escalating greenhouse gas emissions, with cohesive national policy to support local efforts to tackle climate change we could do so much more.

That's why I'm standing with mayors from across Australia in the Cities Power Partnership, demanding that our next federal government puts climate change at the top of its agenda.

Our demands are simple but far-reaching: for the next federal government to make a binding national commitment to transition to 100 per cent clean energy; for an end to polluting fossil fuel subsidies and; for local level work to tackle climate change to be properly supported and resourced.

Imagine what could be achieved with a national climate vision.

Metropolitan areas such as Sydney and Melbourne are already making great inroads into tackling climate change, from setting city renewable energy targets through to investing in large-scale solar.

These cities are fortunate to have strong council networks, and enough resources to be able to undertake projects on this scale.

But many other local governments, particularly in regional and rural areas, don't have access to the same connections.

That's why a national policy that supports the local government energy transition is crucial.

What our local governments need is for a federal government that is will to step up to the plate to provide long-term finance to support implementation of clean energy and sustainable transport that Australians use and benefit from every day - things like rooftop solar, battery storage, electric vehicle charging stations, public and active transport infrastructure in council and community areas

Without cohesive federal support and funding, local work on climate change will continue to be patchy, dependent on whether councils have the resources to support it.

Our communities, who are living on the climate frontline, deserve more.

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