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Local government and communities

Local government and communities are reducing greenhouse gas emissions and adapting to the changing climate.

Projects and initiatives at the community level are helping reduce emissions from household waste at landfills, energy efficient lighting is replacing less efficient street lights, community groups are investing in solar and storage, and Indigenous communities are running fire management projects.

Community groups can also influence climate action by supporting businesses and organisations that produce and sell carbon-friendly products and services. By supporting companies that have reduced or offset their carbon emissions they send a clear signal to markets.

The Australian Government has a number of climate change and environment programs to help local government and communities to reduce emissions and adapt to the changing climate. This includes direct contributions through programs such as installing rooftop solar panels, solar hot water, and solar-connected battery systems.

Communities and groups can participate in environmental programs that also deliver carbon benefits, such as Landcare, the Reef 2050 plan, 20 Million Trees, and the Green Army. For example, through the Reef 2050 program communities are helping protect the Great Barrier Reef in the face of the changing climate.

Ways for local government and communities to participate or learn more

Programs Policies Tools
Emissions Reduction Fund National Climate Resilience and Adaptation Strategy Australia's emissions projections
Carbon Neutral Program Reef 2050 Plan National Greenhouse Gas Inventory
Solar Communities Program National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting Scheme
Energy efficiency standards CoastAdapt
20 Million Trees
National Landcare Program
Food Rescue Charity Program

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Emissions Reduction Fund

The Emissions Reduction Fund is supporting land managers, local councils and others to take practical steps to reduce Australia's greenhouse gas emissions while benefitting the Australian economy and the environment. Projects run by local government and communities include savanna fire management with Indigenous communities, lighting energy efficiency upgrades and landfill waste gas projects with local government.

Emissions Reduction Fund projects

Emissions Reduction Fund

The Emissions Reduction Fund is one of the Australia Government's major policies addressing climate change with a national focus on a range of projects including agriculture, energy efficiency, and transport

Carbon Neutral Program

The Carbon Neutral Program certifies organisations, products/services and events as carbon neutral against the National Carbon Offset Standard. There are over 40 organisations, products/services and events that are certified carbon neutral including 5 local councils and a registered charity. Carbon neutral certification demonstrates a commitment from these organisations to take action on climate change.

Solar Communities Program

The Solar Communities Program is a $5 million program to support local responses to climate change and help deliver lower electricity costs for community organisations. Community groups in selected regions will be able to install rooftop solar panels, solar hot water, and solar-connected battery systems for community-owned buildings.

Energy efficiency standards

Energy efficiency standards for appliances, equipment and buildings help businesses design, build and buy smarter and reduce emissions. For example, the Equipment Energy Efficiency (E3) program is accelerating appliance energy efficiency standards in areas such as air-conditioning, fridges and freezers, swimming pool pumps and lighting. These improvements could potentially save consumers including community groups hundreds of dollars a year.

20 Million Trees

20 Million Trees is a scheme to plant 20 million trees by 2020 benefiting environmental conservation through community engagement and contributing to reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

National Landcare Program

The National Landcare Program is a locally focussed initiative supporting projects protecting and restoring the environment and making agriculture more sustainable and productive contributing to greenhouse gas mitigation. The Australian Government is investing $1 billion through the Program over four years from 2014-15, including support for the National Landcare Network, 20 Million Trees and Australia's 56 regional natural resource management (NRM) organisations. This funding helps support local environmental and sustainable agriculture projects including the Reef 2050 implementation.

Food Rescue Charity Program

The Food Rescue Charity Program is providing $1.2 million to assist four charities to invest in solar, batteries and energy efficient refrigeration.


National Climate Resilience and Adaptation Strategy

The National Climate Resilience and Adaptation Strategy sets out how Australia is managing the risks of a variable and changing climate for the benefit of the community, economy and environment and what a climate-resilient future will look like. It includes a set of principles to on how we can adapt to climate change effectively and to build resilience as well as outlining the Government's vision for the future.

Reef 2050 Plan

The Reef 2050 Plan is the overarching framework for protecting and managing the Great Barrier Reef until 2050, including from the impacts of climate change. With input from scientists, communities, Traditional Owners, industry and non-government organisations, a key principle of the Plan is developing Reef resilience in the face of the changing climate.


Australia's emissions projections

Australia's emissions projections provide detailed information on Australia's emissions trends and how we are tracking against our emissions reduction targets, including sector specific analysis.

National Greenhouse Gas Inventory

The National Greenhouse Accounts are a series of comprehensive reports and databases that estimate, and account for, Australia's greenhouse gas emissions on a national, state and territory basis.

In particular, local government and communities can obtain:

National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting Scheme (NGERS)

NGERS was introduced in 2007, providing a single national framework for reporting and disseminating company information about greenhouse gas emissions, energy production, energy consumption and other information specified under NGER legislation.

NGERS underpins business and industry's participation in Australian Government emission reduction programs including the Emission Reduction Fund, Safeguard Mechanism and Renewable Energy Target.

Publically available NGERS data is available on the National greenhouse and energy reporting data website.


The CoastAdapt tool is an online tool to help local governments and other organisations understand and manage coastal climate risks, such as sea-level rise, storm surges and other coastal hazards. It helps decision makers balance a wide range of risk factors - environmental, legal, economic and social - in an integrated way. It also supports the use of climate information to consult more effectively with communities and households.