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Mayor's Message - 14 June

Mayor's Message - 14 June

Published:
Tuesday 14 June 2022
Cr Michael Whelan

As a large organisation, our investment in goods and services is significant. We can reduce our climate impact by choosing goods and services that are climate-aware and in line with circular economy principles, for example, high efficiency electrical appliances and tools, recycled materials, local purchasing and the transition from fossil fuels to all electric. We have also developed a 10 year Electric Vehicle (EV) Transition Plan, which will allow us to implement a phased transition to a carbon neutral fleet, including passenger vehicles, light commercial vehicles and alternative transport opportunities. Currently, 60% of our passenger fleet is now hybrid or fully electric. Although the cost for EV trucks is currently very prohibitive at this stage, as technology improves the cost will reduce and we will be looking to trial several. Our Infrastructure Maintenance Team has also transitioned the majority of its small plant equipment to battery powered.

We have recently applied for funding for new infrastructure to support our growing EV fleet and were recently successful in obtaining a grant for $290,000 from the State Government, to install four new public EV charging stations across the Shire. The new charging stations will be installed in Wonthaggi, Grantville, Inverloch and Newhaven by May 2023. Council will also contribute $140,000 from its Climate Change Action Plan budget towards this project. Providing more EV charging infrastructure is an important step to help us reach our target of net zero emissions by 2030.

Another way that we are looking to reach our zero emissions goal is by installing wind turbines at the Grantville Landfill site, to reduce the need to use diesel generators to run the flares that burn off the gas emitted from the landfill cells.

And finally, while we are on the subject of EVs, it was great to attend a Phillip Island SES and CFA training night recently, on how to handle emergencies involving electric and hybrid vehicles. Council was pleased to provide one of its electric vehicles, and several hybrid vehicles for the teams to inspect and learn more about. We really rely on the SES and the CFA to play their part and make sure that the different hazards that are presented as we transition to EVs are well managed, so it was a real pleasure to assist them and join their training session.