Item 7.1 - Attachment 1

Previous Council Report



ITEM NUMBER         11.2

SUBJECT                   Community Emission Reductions under the Proposed Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme (CPRS)

REFERENCE            F2008/00542 - D01349293

REPORT OF              Environmental Management System Coordinator         




To support efforts to ensure that voluntary actions taken by Council and its community to reduce personal contribution to climate change are recognised as additional actions under the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme and do not give licence to big polluters to increase their emissions.





(a)       That Parramatta City Council write to the Prime Minister, the Minister for Climate Change, the Leaders of the Liberal Party, National Party and Australian Greens, Senator Steve Fielding and Senator Nick Xenaphon expressing Council’s concern that the proposed CPRS will not recognise voluntary action to reduce emissions by the community, councils and businesses outside the CPRS.


(b)       Further, that the letter call on all parties to amend the CPRS legislation to ensure that voluntary actions that result in the abatement of greenhouse gases are considered as additional to mandatory emissions reduction targets and that CPRS permits are retired for every tonne of abatement from voluntary action.





1.      The CPRS is a “cap and trade” scheme in which a cap is set on greenhouse gas emissions, with tradable permits issued up to the amount of this emissions cap. The intent of the scheme is that emissions reductions can be achieved at the lowest possible price.

2.      The CPRS will not cover all greenhouse gas emissions in Australia. Rather, only businesses deemed to be liable entities will be required to participate. Under the existing CPRS proposal, Parramatta City Council will not be considered a liable entity and will have no associated reporting responsibilities.

3.      The emissions reduction targets under the CPRS legislation are:

a.   25% below 2000 levels by 2020 if there is global agreement on greenhouse gas stabilisation, or

b.   between 5-15% if global agreement falls short of the necessary stabilisation.

4.      Council’s targets for emissions reductions are higher than those adopted by the Federal Government.




5.      Parramatta City Council has long acknowledged a corporate responsibility to minimise its contribution to climate change. The first Principle of Council’s Adopted Climate Action Plan 2006-2011 is that “we are all, individually and collectively, responsible for managing climate change. We must recognise that we are all responsible for the total greenhouse gas emissions in the LGA”.

6.      In support of this principle, Council has set targets for energy and emissions reductions, purchased accredited GreenPower for all assets, purchased carbon offsets for some aspects of the business and installed solar panels on some buildings.

7.      Likewise, Council has encouraged the local residential and business communities to reduce their contribution to climate change, including through purchase of solar hot water systems and GreenPower, participation in business programs to reduce energy consumption and emissions and purchase of energy efficient products.

8.      As the existing CPRS legislation stands, the cap on emissions will act as both a “floor” and a “ceiling”. This means that, although emissions will be lowered to a certain level, they will also be prevented from going lower still. Thus, individual action taken by residents, businesses and councils outside the CPRS requirements will create additional permits for more and cheaper emissions from the big polluters.

9.      For example, under the CPRS, Council’s purchase of GreenPower will allow large businesses to create as many tonnes of emissions as Council has saved through those purchases, in addition to the maximum already permitted.

10.    Council has a strong interest in ensuring that its actions have a real impact and are not a waste of ratepayers’ money, however, the existing form of the CPRS will make Council’s voluntary actions on climate change largely pointless as they will merely allow big business to pollute more.

11.    To prevent climate change, it is necessary that all individuals, businesses and government contribute to reducing emissions. To ensure this occurs, action taken by Council and its community must not enable large businesses to reduce their own efforts.

12.    An alliance of environmental and consumer advocacy groups including CHOICE, the Australian Conservation Foundation, WWF Australia and Environment Victoria, have initiated a campaign to ensure that voluntary action is taken into account. The group has proposed that the Federal Government amend the CPRS legislation to ensure that voluntary actions are counted as additional to the target emissions cap, so that the total number of emissions permits remains constant regardless of individual action outside the scheme.  Unlike the current form of the scheme, this change would ensure in an actual reduction in emissions.

13.    The group has called upon local councils to support the recommended change to the CPRS to ensure that the efforts of councils and their communities to reduce emissions are recognised.




14.    Should the CPRS be brought into effect as current legislation allows, Council’s expenditure on GreenPower and other actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions will be paying for large businesses to increase their pollution levels.

15.    There are no financial implications for Council if the recommendations are adopted.


Katherine Lustig

Environmental Management System Coordinator




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