Climate change

Our climate is noticeably changing. Since the 1950s the region has experienced a warming of 0.1 degrees Celsius per decade and it is forecast that by 2070 temperatures will increase overall by up to 5 degrees.

As a result we can expect an increase in the number of summer days over 35 degrees, a reduction in frost days, more frequent and longer droughts, drier soil and increased bushfire risk. Annual rainfall is expected to decrease but extreme heavy rainfall events are set to become more intense. The alpine areas can expect the number of days with snow fall to decrease dramatically. These changes also have the potential to impact other major sectors including agriculture, water, biodiversity, forests and community health.

In recognition of the likely impacts from climate change Council has identified roles and responsibilities inherent in its operations and services to the community to address this issue. These are outlined below.

Indigo as a Business

As a business Indigo has a responsibility to reduce emissions from its office and field operations.

Indigo Shire has developed a Greenhouse Action Plan through the Cities for Climate Protection program, which involves the completion of five milestones:

  1. Conduct an inventory and forecast for Community and Corporate (Council) greenhouse gas emissions.
  2. Establish an emissions reduction goal.
  3. Develop and adopt a Local Action Plan.
  4. Implement the Local Action Plan.
  5. Monitor and report on implementation of the Local Action Plan.

Indigo Shire has successfully completed the first two milestones with the formal adoption of an Emissions Reduction Goal of 20% reduction in corporate emissions on 2005-06 levels by 2015-16, and a 20% reduction in community emissions on 2005-06 levels by 2015-16.

Indigo as a Manager

As a manager of public assets and infrastructure Indigo has a responsibility to reduce emissions associated with these assets and ensure infrastructure is adequate.

Indigo Shire has already achieved many significant gains in addressing climate change in relation to managing public assets. These include:

  • The development and ongoing implementation of a Sustainable Water Use Plan.
  • An inventory of streetlights that has identified dayburning lights.
  • Ongoing action to seek funding to improve and upgrade assets.
  • Provision of support to community groups who manage Council assets.
  • Ongoing improvement and upgrading of assets through the Capital Works program.

Indigo as a Leader

Indigo has a role of leader within the community to set an example and encourage others.

Indigo Shire strives to lead the community to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, as well as adapt

to the likely impacts of climate change. This is achieved primarily through our membership and active participation in the North East Greenhouse Alliance.

Established in late 2005, this Alliance is operated by a steering committee currently comprising Wodonga City Council, Alpine Shire Council, Indigo Shire Council, Moira Shire Council, Towong Shire Council, Benalla Rural City, the Rural City of Wangaratta, the North East Catchment Management Authority and Latrobe University. North East Water and the Regional Environment Protection Authority office are also a partner and associate member of the alliance respectively. Funded by the Department of Sustainability and Environment through the Regional Partnerships Program, the Alliance is hosted by the City of Wodonga and employs a regional coordinator.

The Alliance has been established to provide a framework for local stakeholders to work together in a variety of greenhouse project areas such as carbon sinks, community energy efficiency, street lighting efficiency, climate change adaptation strategies, renewable energies and alternative fuels and vehicles. Working groups made up from councils, other government and non-government agencies and business, industry and community groups work together to achieve project goals and reduce greenhouse emissions in our region.

For further information regarding the North East Greenhouse Alliance go to http://www.negha.org.au/ or read the brochure by clicking here.

Indigo as a Regulator

Indigo has a role in regulating land use and development to ensure the effects of climate change are considered in new developments.

Regulation of land use and development is primarily achieved through the application of the planning scheme. Of particular relevance is:

  • Indigo's revised Municipal Strategic Statement: This provides key policy background and a platform for Council's views on development. It identifies Climate Change as a specific issue and is linked with key objectives and strategies.
  • Presence of Floodway Overlay, Land Subject to Inundation Overlay and Environmental Significance Overlays: These trigger the need for planning permission in such areas, ensuring that proposed developments adequately consider certain risks such as flooding susceptibility.
  • Farming Zone" This identifies land suitable for agricultural purposes to ensure that this is protected against other development pressures.
  • Stormwater Local Policy: This is intended to reduce and improve the quality of stormwater runoff.

Climate change predictions for the North East Region

Greenhouse Action Plan

Last updated: 02 November 2011