Council gives preliminary tick to new climate action plan

29 July 2020

City of Newcastle will lead the way to a net zero emissions future by reducing greenhouse gasses while implementing a range of environmental efficiencies under a five-year action plan endorsed for public exhibition last night.

The Newcastle Climate Action Plan 2021-25 outlines priorities for the City and community to minimise carbon emissions, embrace sustainable transport, deploy clean technology and support low-emission industries.

The plan proposes to reduce fuel use by transitioning to electric vehicles, increasing battery storage to lessen the City’s reliance on the electricity grid, cutting emissions via LED lighting replacements and building upgrades, and encouraging development of sustainable buildings.

Over the next five years the plan will specifically target:

  • A 20 per cent reduction in electricity use, based on 2019/20 consumption
  • Replacing all lighting, including streetlights, with LED or the best alternative
  • A 50 per cent reduction in fuel use, based on 2019/20 consumption
  • A 50 per cent reduction in operational carbon emissions.

“Through strong and consistent actions to reduce our emissions, City of Newcastle is now recognised as one of Australia’s leading local governments in terms of addressing climate change,” Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said.

“After achieving so much over the past five years, particularly by becoming the first NSW Council to be powered by 100 per cent renewable energy in January, our transformation will continue under this new plan.

“By supporting residents, business and industry to act more sustainably, encourage local resilience and build a circular economy, our sustained investment will propel the city towards a net zero emissions future. I encourage the community to have their say on the way forward during the public exhibition period of the Climate Action Plan.”

The draft plan also covers better resource management, headlined by an organics processing facility at the Summerhill Waste Management Centre; recycling initiatives and infrastructure, use of more recycled products in construction, water-efficient technologies, community-owned renewables projects and solar garden innovation.

Community engagement on the new plan helped build on the 2020 Carbon Water Management Action Plan (CWMAP), which delivered a five-megawatt solar farm, rooftop solar panels, LED streetlights and a 100 per cent renewable energy deal.

Under the 2020 CWMAP, the City has:

  • Reduced electricity usage by 17 per cent
  • Upgraded 31 per cent of streetlights to LEDs
  • Secured 100 per cent of electricity from renewable sources
  • Reduced potable water usage by more than 8 per cent
  • Slashed the City’s carbon footprint by 77 per cent, excluding emissions from Summerhill Waste Management Centre
  • Reduced liquid fuel use by 77 per cent

The draft 2025 Climate Action Plan will be available for comment from Tuesday 4 August until 5pm Monday 31 August by visiting