Sydney needs: Urgent climate action

We have a plan to leverage the profile and resources of our global city, to implement radical change that will lead to significant reductions in emissions, while supporting the work of grassroots activists and community groups.

The Greens support a City of Sydney Council which is a climate leader

With the active involvement of Greens on Council, the City of Sydney was the first local government in Australia to become carbon neutral in 2007. While the Council has continued to take meaningful steps to address the climate emergency, people living in our communities know it’s time for serious action to mitigate the worst effects of climate change.

Despite the scientific consensus on climate change, our state and federal governments are choosing to ignore the evidence while they continue to support the vested interests of fossil fuel industries. Here in Sydney, residents face barriers to implementing local sustainability initiatives and need more support to reduce their climate footprint and energy costs.

Our priorities for climate action in Sydney
  1. Fund a city-wide community battery storage network in collaboration with electricity distribution and state government partners, supported by direct Council investment and/or ownership. 
  2. Establish a renters’ climate change strategy, with specific initiatives for landlords, and support for renters to reduce their carbon footprint. 
  3. Reverse the outsourcing of Council’s waste services, and ensure the emissions produced by services contracted by Council are properly captured in Council’s records of its own emissions.
  4. Give priority to making food waste recycling schemes available for all households – something smaller and less wealthy Councils have already achieved.
  5. Support and work in partnership with local residents to support place-based, local climate action strategies.
  6. Actively support community campaigns for urgent action on climate change.

More about our climate policies

Trees and green surfaces

Establish more ambitious and shorter-term tree canopy target for Sydney: double the current canopy cover to 36% by 2040 (currently 27% by 2050).

Strengthen regulations protecting trees and creating green spaces especially in commercial developments.

Implement an ‘active stewardship’ approach – involve local people in planting and caring for trees and transform the role of Council staff to that of expert advisors and a positive resource for residents to consult regarding tree management and care

Prioritise alternatives to concrete and synthetic surfaces, especially for playing fields. In 2014, the City had the highest proportion of hard surface (69%) of all NSW LGAs and a low level of grass-covered ground (13%).

Waste

Identify new ways to work with industry to reduce packaging, especially plastic packaging but also any packaging for which an effective recycling solution does not currently exist (this includes some types of so-called compostable packaging).

Reverse the outsourcing of Council’s waste services, and ensure the emissions produced by services contracted by Council are properly captured in Council’s records of its own emissions.

Introduce separated bins for collection of waste in public spaces, creating an opportunity to encourage residents and visitors to separate waste and reduce difficult-to-recycle waste.

Ensure a focus of waste efforts on private sector where there are huge opportunities for change, for example the hospitality, retail and the food industry. Council can play a role in highlighting bad practices at source, and encourage changes in packaging and distribution.

Introduce a waste innovation fund to encourage support innovations in waste minimisation and recycling

Investigate new opportunities to recycle dumped rubbish and manage litter, reducing industry use of the most-littered materials; work with residents in areas prone to this problem to test solutions such as automated rubbish collection (now being implemented in Maroochydore, Sunshine Coast).

The Council also needs to examine structural solutions that will prevent dumping in the first place. All residents need access to suitable rubbish disposal options and are rewarded for complying with simple guidelines.

Energy

Fund a city-wide community battery storage network in collaboration with industry and government partners. Shared-use batteries in the community can give access to energy storage for residents who are generating rooftop solar power but are not able to install a battery at their home or business individually, because they lack the space or the finance. They also benefit the grid, allowing renewable energy to be pumped in when needed. We will learn from trials currently underway including the City of Melbourne’s new Power Melbourne project, Queensland’s Townsville Tesla network, and smaller Ausgrid neighbourhood trials in Bankstown and Beaconsfield.

Support energy agreements with the City’s biggest commercial landlords to work with their tenants on energy efficiency and renewable energy use.

Increase direct Council investment in community and collective renewable energy projects, and investigate Council becoming a direct, low-cost green energy provider. 

Establish a renters’ climate change strategy, with specific initiatives for landlords, and support for renters (who make up the majority of households in the city) to reduce their carbon footprint. 

Work with tenant advocate groups to deliver energy-saving initiatives for tenants.

Ensure a faster rollout of on-street electric vehicle charging infrastructure.

Water

Ensure Council policies encourage reuse of water and wastewater close to source, such as with on-site wastewater management, rainwater tanks, stormwater recycling and non-potable water reuse.

Boosting funding for household-water recycling programs and school-based environmental awareness programs such as Streamwatch.

Regenerate endemic vegetation and ecosystems in urban areas, in aquatic and wetland environments, and in Council parks

Ensure water development guidelines support and encourage people to collect and manage their own water needs. Water efficiency, conservation and local recycling are generally more sustainable and cost-effective than large-scale water infrastructure.

Increase the use of water permeable paving in suitable areas such as plazas and local streets. This will increase water retention in soils and the local water table, with benefits for reducing localised flooding and stormwater pollution.

Can you help us make Sydney a #CityForEveryone?

Next event

Join Greens for Sydney’s Sylvie Ellsmore at the Lord Mayoral candidate forum organised by Alexandria Residents’ Action Group, Friends of Erskineville and REDWatch, 7pm on Wednesday 10 November.

Candidates will take questions from the moderator and the community. The organisers conducted a survey to select the top three topics for discussion, which will be public housing, climate change and transport.

Event registration is not required. The below button will take you straight to the Zoom meeting room.

Get your questions ready!