As an eco-city, City of Melbourne and its community take shared responsibility for building and maintaining a healthy and resilient environment for Melburnians today and far into the future.
5 projected outcomes
6 progress indicators
9 priorities identified
18 actions for 2014-15
Delivered via 8 service areas, 14 strategies / plans
We partner with the community to respond to impacts from our changing climate, population and economic growth - challenges that prompt us to explore new ways to adapt, while maintaining our status as one of the world’s most liveable cities. We lead by example by setting ambitious climate and environmental targets for the city and our operations.
Transforming Melbourne into an ‘eco-city’ is about the whole community coming together to help the city prosper while minimising environmental impacts, managing climate change risks and leading the way on renewable energy, biodiversity, waste and water management.
Issues and challenges
Given the panel recommendation that planning scheme amendment C208 Developer Contribution Plans be abandoned, we will need to explore alternative new sources of local infrastructure funding in high-growth areas. Projects continuing next year include developing a roadmap for the city’s future electricity supply in line with our Zero Net Emissions Strategy, preparing a solar access planning scheme amendment, and completing an Urban Ecology and Biodiversity Strategy and a Resilience Strategy for the municipality.
Major initiatives in the coming year include work on Lincoln Square stormwater harvesting, the University Square expansion and sub-precinct planning aligned to the Elizabeth Street master plan and Integrated Water Cycle Management Plan, and a resilience implementation plan as part of the 100 Resilient Cities program requirements.
Future Melbourne snapshot
How the city measures up as an ‘eco-city’ based on: Municipal emissions: tonnes of greenhouse pollution (CO2 - e) per resident and per worker in the municipality
Emissions per resident decreased slightly from 2012–13 to 2014–15, while emissions per worker rose during the same period.
Time period (Financial Year)
Tonnes of greenhouse pollution (tCO2e) per resident
Tonnes of greenhouse pollution (tCO2e) per worker
Goal 5 service areas: Sustainable environmental management, Parks and gardens, Street cleaning and waste management, Property and assets, Public health and safety, Roads, transport and infrastructure, Building, development and planning, Urban policy and design
More than 1000 street lights replaced with energy-saving LEDs
Premier’s Design Award for Smart Blocks building energy efficiency program 2 more CBD areas now have waste compactors and shared recycling
AFMA Fleet Environment Award for sustainable fleet management
Australian Institute of Landscape Architecture’s Award for our Urban Forest Strategy
Summary of 2014–15 actions
Detail about this year’s eco-city actions and activities can be found later in this chapter.
As part of the City of Melbourne’s membership of the prestigious 100 Resilient Cities Network, Toby Kent was appointed the City of Melbourne’s new Chief Resilience Officer. Toby and the team are working with the Victorian and local governments, community organisations and peak bodies to explore how Melbourne and its communities can proactively deal with the economic, social and physical challenges confronting cities in the 21st century. Metropolitan mayors and chief executive officers met in April to identify key focus areas to guide the work. A preliminary resilience assessment for Melbourne was developed in June, paving the way Melbourne’s first resilience strategy.
Renewable energy buyers unite
As part of our commitment towards zero emissions and supporting renewable energy investment, the City of Melbourne recruited a group of 10 large energy users to test a new buying approach to attract competitively priced renewable energy proposals. The group is seeking long term electricity supply contracts that will directly support new renewable energy projects. More than 100 businesses have registered interest.
How we’re performing against our indicators of progress
The City of Melbourne aims for several outcomes over the four years of its Council Plan 2013–2017. We measure progress by the indicators below.
The proportional change in greenhouse gas emissions generated by City of Melbourne activities, per year
Time period (Financial Year)
Change in greenhouse gas emissions from our activities
The gross reduction we achieved in greenhouse gas emissions in tonnes of CO2 equivalent
2013–14 to 2014–15
3.85 per cent decrease
From 2013–14 to 2014–15, we reduced direct and indirect emissions associated with our operations. New reporting procedures have prompted us to review our data and we will issue an updated series of historic data in October as part of reporting under the National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting Act 2007. All greenhouse gas emissions are offset and the City of Melbourne is a carbon-neutral certified organisation.
What is a carbon neutral organisation?
Our operations have been certified carbon-neutral since 2011–12. As part of reducing the city’s emissions under our Zero Net Emissions by 2020 strategy, we maintain carbon-neutrality in our own operations by measuring, auditing, reporting and offsetting our greenhouse gas emissions through the National Carbon Offset Standard Carbon Neutral Program.
The proportional change in total tonnes of waste-to-landfill
Time period (Financial Year)
Change in total tonnes of waste-to-landfill
2012–13 to 2013–14
15 per cent increase
2013–14 to 2014–15
6.7 per cent increase
There was an increase of 2015 total residential tonnes of garbage-to-landfill this year (including street litter bins but excluding hard waste), continuing the upward trend from the last reporting period. Note that over the last two years, the average number of households serviced grew 12 per cent in 2013–14 and increased again by 8 per cent to 2014–15 to reach 56,460 households. This results in 566 kg of landfill waste generated by the average household serviced this year, compared with 575 kg last year.
The volume of complaints per capita about waste removal the City of Melbourne receives, per year
While the number of complaints per capita remained the same as last year, the actual number of complaints received declined 12 per cent from 2435 in 2013–14 to 2135 this year, mostly due to a decrease in missed bin collections (including recycling, hard waste, green waste and general waste). This follows a 9 per cent decline in total complaints received in 2012–13 to 2013–14.
Projected outcome: Sustainable water management
The proportional change in the capacity of infrastructure to capture and reuse storm-water, per year
The stormwater storage capacity is unchanged from last year (30508 kilolitres) as no new significant storage was created. We expect the benefits of planned new stormwater harvesting projects to be reflected in future results.
Projected outcome: Increased biodiversity and tree canopy cover in the municipality
The percentage of tree canopy cover of the municipality, annually
The slight decline in canopy cover in 2014–15 is consistent with projections showing canopy reduction in the first decade as our aging trees are removed and replaced with younger trees. Our tree planting rate continues to be above the required level to reach the 40 per cent canopy cover target by 2040. The benefits of the current planting program will be realised in the decade leading up to 2040 with an increased rate of canopy expansion. This year we planted 3155 new trees, including 1200 trees in Royal Park, which in total created an instant canopy of about one hectare that is expected to grow to 30 hectares by 2040.
Projected outcome: Climate change impacts on the municipality are managed
The proportional change in the number of residents who are aware of climate change-related risks and the actions they should be taking, annually
Time period (Financial Year)
Change in number of residents aware of climate change-related risks per year
2013–14 to 2014–15
7.3 per cent increase
Nearly 80 per cent (79.8 per cent) of residents are aware of climate change, connect extreme weather to climate change and have done or intend to do something to prepare for extreme weather events. This reflects an increase of over 7 per cent from last year, with 72.5 per cent of residents reporting awareness of climate change risks.
C40 Climate Leadership Award
For the second year in a row, the City of Melbourne won the prestigious C40 and Siemens City Climate Leadership Award in New York. The Lord Mayor attended to accept the award in a ceremony involving more than 250 mayors, city planners, policy makers and influential thinkers from around the world. The award is for our Urban Landscapes Adaptation Program developed in 2010.
Our 4 year priorities are…
Our 2014–15 focus was…
Over the next year we will…
Update and continue to implement our Zero Net Emissions Strategy
As part of the Zero Net Emissions Strategy:
Work with the local energy distributor to plan the city's future energy grid
Develop a plan to leverage the Federal Government’s Direct Action Plan to attract investment in business
Investigate the viability of providing a carbon offset service for businesses and residents
Provide services to enable residents and businesses to transition to zero net emissions through energy efficiency and renewable energy sources
Promote the Council of Capital City Lord Mayors CitySwitch and the City of Melbourne 1200 Buildings programs to low-participation buildings
In conjunction with the Department of Human Services, real estate agents and student housing providers, expand the high-rise recycling program to incorporate waste-reduction education programs and target high-rise communities, renters and low-income groups
Develop and run programs that improve the uptake of renewable energy generation in the city, particularly in commercial buildings, and drive investment in large-scale renewable energy
Implement the planning scheme recommendations from the Solar Access Options Study
Work with the Sustainable Melbourne Fund to adapt Environmental Upgrade Agreements to support investment in renewable energy
Lead the C40 Sustainable Urban Development Network and determine whole-of-council opportunities to engage in the network
Facilitate a group procurement model to encourage investment in large-scale renewable energy
Prepare a planning scheme amendment to help provide solar access certainty for future solar facilities
Develop sustainability plans for the Lorimer and West Melbourne structure plans and the Queen Victoria Market renewal project
Investigate and consider options to document and make public the environmental performance of buildings approved under the Melbourne Planning Scheme - Clause 22.19 (energy, water and waste efficiency)
Embed municipal-wide waste management practices to increase recycling, reduce waste generation and lessen amenity impacts
Install an additional waste compactor in the city
5.4.1 Continue to implement the High Rise Recycling Program and public housing program in collaboration with the Department of Human Services, student housing providers and building managers
Operate four waste compactors in the city
Trial residential organic processing technologies
Improve sustainable water management by updating and implementing our Total Watermark Strategy
Produce an integrated water management plan for the Elizabeth Street catchment as part of the Total Watermark Strategy
Using preliminary analysis of municipal and related catchment areas, prepare a scoping document for the development of an Integrated Water Management Plan for the municipality
(Major initiative) Progress work on Lincoln Square stormwater harvesting, the University Square expansion and sub-precinct planning as key projects contributing to Elizabeth Street’s Integrated Water Cycle Management Plan and aligned with the street’s master plan
Develop integrated water management infrastructure through structure plans and planning approvals
Complete the planning scheme amendment C208 Developer Contribution Plans
Accelerate the program of closed circuit television (CCTV) inspections of selected drains to create 3D flood modelling
Improve resilience to environmental impacts by implementing our Urban Forest and Open Space strategies and also develop a Biodiversity Strategy
Present the draft Biodiversity Strategy to the Council
Increase the resilience of the city’s parks and street trees to climate change and plant at least 3000 trees to reduce the urban heat island effect
Complete the Urban Ecology and Biodiversity Strategy and begin implementation
Continue to improve the resilience of the city’s parks and street trees to climate change and plant at least 3000 trees to reduce the urban heat island effect
Undertake the development of both a participatory framework and a financial mechanism to enable community and stakeholder contribution to the urban forest
Update and continue to implement our Climate Change Adaptation Strategy and Action Plan
Lead Melbourne’s participation in the Rockefeller 100 Resilient Cities Challenge, appoint a Chief Resilience Officer, develop a resilience strategy and determine whole-of-council opportunities to engage in the network
(Major initiative) Develop a resilience implementation plan that meets the needs of metropolitan Melbourne and our municipality, in keeping with the requirements of the 100 Resilient Cities program
Review and update our Climate Change Adaptation –Strategy
Work with the University of Melbourne to establish a City of Melbourne chair in Resilient Cities
Embed a stronger focus on sustainability and climate change adaptation in our systems, governance, tools and knowledge and in our interactions with the community
Undertake a pilot study to measure the environmental impact of a premier event and complete an analysis of all event delivery models to identify opportunities to reduce their impact
Review sustainability reporting within the organisation
Implement year one of the lighting strategy including energy efficient technology
Measure the environmental impact of Melbourne Music Week and select Melbourne Celebration events to identify opportunities to reduce their environmental impact
Review current emission reduction actions and develop a new five-year emissions reduction plan for our operations
Implement actions from the Lighting Strategy, including continuing to change over street lights from mercury vapour to LED
Complete 2015–2017 actions from the solar action plan for Council- owned facilities
Several actions not completed in 2014–15 will continue to be delivered in the 2015–16 financial year. Some relate to projects that span multiple years. Some actions were delayed due to unforeseeable external factors.
Growing our urban forest
This year, together with more than 400 community members, we developed Urban Forest Precinct Plans for Parkville, Southbank and Fishermans Bend. This marks the completion of 10 precinct plans that cover the entire municipality to implement the Urban Forest Strategy over the next 10 years. More than 1000 community members have collaborated on these plans in the last four years. We will continue partnering with the community through our expanded Citizen Forester Program which involves research projects to help us better understand our urban forest and enhance its health and longevity.