Australian Local Government Climate Action Review

A comprehensive assessment of what councils and communities are doing to tackle climate change

In 2018, Beyond Zero Emissions partnered with Ironbark Sustainability and ICLEI to conduct a comprehensive assessment of what councils and communities are doing to tackle climate change, along with the barriers and challenges they face

The result of this research is the Australian Local Government Climate Review 2018.

The research found that many local councils have corporate and community targets as well as strategies to reduce emissions.

How does your council compare? Download the report to find out.

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Key findings

National overview

  • Australia’s councils and communities are leading action on climate change
  • Nationally, 50% of Australian councils provide public information on climate change
  • 88% of the responding councils were unsatisfied with the Federal Government’s approach to meet global targets.

Corporate and community emissions

  • 19% of Australian councils provide public corporate emissions targets
  • Only 7% of Australian councils provide public targets to reduce community emissions
  • Strong community support can be harnessed to reduce council and community emissions.


  • Common measures to reduce corporate emissions included energy audits of large facilities, installing solar PV and upgrading lighting in council facilities
  • The most common and cost effective action was uptake of solar PV
  • Community actions were focused on education, events or renewable energy access.


  • A lack of funding and resourcing are the most significant barriers to reducing emissions in both corporate and community efforts


  • Reducing emissions creates mutual benefits across the community and council
  • Positive outcomes include cost savings, environmental and health benefits and increased profile
  • Local action contributes to meeting the Paris Climate Agreement and prepares communities for a changing climate.

What councils told us they are doing

Most common measures implemented by councils to reduce corporate emissions

  • Install solar PV on council facilities
  • Upgrade lighting in council facilities
  • Energy audits of large facilities
  • Improve or upgrade heating, ventilation and air conditioning in council facilities
  • Change over residential streetlights to LED
  • Energy efficiency retrofits for large facilities
  • Strict sustainability criteria in planning processes.

Most common measures implemented by councils to reduce community emissions

  • Bike paths
  • Urban forest and greening strategies
  • Organic waste diversion
  • Community climate and green travel events
  • Electric vehicle infrastructure
  • Education and communication
  • Bulk-buy solar PV for residents