Geelong Sustainability’s submission to Geelong Council’s budget is a call for more effective environmental leadership in the municipality.
While it’s exciting to see the City of Greater Geelong giving special emphasis to sustainability and the One Planet Living framework in its new Council Plan 2018–22, an examination of Council’s 2018-19 Draft Budget makes it apparent that these important leadership aspirations aren’t reflected in the numbers, allocations and economic priorities of the budget.
In its submission to the public consultation around both the Council Plan 2018-22 and the 2018-19 Draft Budget, Geelong Sustainability expressed serious concerns that Council has not allocated the funds required to ensure it can address the many climate change challenges it faces.
Geelong Sustainability’s submission comments specifically on how Council’s plan and budget address the areas of:
• Environment and Natural Resources
• Future Proofing Geelong
• Cycling infrastructure
• Climate Safety
“It is commendable and significant to see Council stating that it intends to ‘show leadership to address climate change’ as a strategic priority. Yet, when the only major initiatives in this area are to renew the Environment Management Strategy and start a Hard Rubbish Service Collection Trial it appears as if this statement is just that: a statement that looks good on paper, but will change nothing in the real world.
In Chapter 9, ‘Where rates are spent’, climate change is not even mentioned.
The total expense in this area amounts to $3.7 million, which is to be mainly spent on landfill upgrades, landscaping and water treatment, plus a minor grants program. Out of a $396m expenditure, $3.7 million is less than 1 per cent, and the projects covered within this 1 per cent can hardly be said to be ‘addressing climate change as a strategic priority.’
So our question is: how will Council genuinely and sufficiently address this critical challenge, which it acknowledges as one of the greatest challenges of our time?”
“Too often it’s the squeaky wheel that gets oiled. The 2018-19 Draft Budget perpetuates those that preceded it by allocating a paltry share to environment and natural resources – a mere 99 cents in every $100. Ironically, we could have just changed the date on any of our preceding four budget submissions. Geelong Sustainability takes its community advocacy role very seriously.
We believe we must continue to speak up for the natural environment and for community aspirations.
Geelong Sustainability does not want our city to be left behind – the social, economic and environmental consequences are too great. We look forward to discussing our concerns at a budget hearing in the near future and to partnering with the City to demonstrate effective environmental leadership.”