Darebin calls for action in the lead up to the Federal election

Published on 19 May 2022

Voter casting their vote

We are asking election candidates to commit to tackling the climate emergency, the circular economy and give greater fairness and equity for people.

In the lead up to the Federal Election, Darebin City Council is calling on local candidates to commit federal support and funding for initiatives to tackle the climate emergency, as well as to promote greater fairness and equity and make sure Australians deal with our own waste properly.

Darebin Council’s record as the first government in the world to declare a Climate Emergency was bittersweet, Mayor Cr Lina Messina has said.

“As a proudly diverse community, Darebin has a longstanding history of taking bold action and advocating on behalf of its residents.”

“Whilst I am proud of Darebin’s 2017 declaration, it should have been the Federal Government taking the lead,” Cr Messina said.

Mayor Messina also said that global news continues to highlight the ongoing need for countries like Australia to keep providing safe refuge from war and danger.

“Many of Darebin’s citizens are here because Australia supported them. We need to double down on this effort into the future, and welcome people in need with open hearts,” Cr Messina said.

With only days to go before the election, Darebin City Council is calling for:

Overhaul of the asylum seeker process

Darebin is home to a large cohort of asylum seekers. The Federal Government must change its inhumane immigration and settlement policy and reform the humanitarian protection system to process asylum seekers in a timely manner, and with an independent and fair merits review system.

All refugees being held in immigration detention should be immediately released into the community with support and assistance, and action should be taken to urgently clear the backlog of refugee claims and appeals.

“As a local government, Darebin’s hands are tied on these issues,” Cr Messina said.

Action on the climate emergency

Through its Australian Renewable Energy Agency, the Federal Government should fund Australia’s first Urban Renewable Zone in Darebin by investing in distributed energy resources and electrical technologies such as batteries, microgrids and electrified industrial plants, including through a new Village Neighbourhood Battery Power Project.

This zone will demonstrate how existing inner city and urban residential, industrial and commercial precincts can transition to 100 per cent renewable energy, whilst boosting local economic activity and energy outcomes.

Creation of a circular economy

The Australian Government’s ban on exporting waste via the Recycling and Waste Reduction Act 2020, has created an opportunity to expand the resource recovery sector, create jobs and transition to a circular economy.

With Federal Government support, Darebin could develop a regional circular economy hub that could enable start-ups, social enterprises, circular manufacturers and community groups to drive a circular economy and provide inclusive jobs for our diverse community.

We could provide new recycling solutions for the community and businesses, help to reduce waste sent to landfill, prevent illegal dumping, and create more local jobs through the sustainable economy.

“We need a Federal Government that is committed to recognising and acting on the climate emergency and creation of a circular economy and is prepared to treat refugees with the dignity people fleeing unsafe situations deserve,” Cr Messina said.

Darebin is also seeking commitments by the Federal Government in key local community development projects such as investment in:

  • a future Reservoir health and wellbeing hub including the major redevelopment of the Reservoir Leisure Centre;
  • the construction of the Northcote Aquatic and Recreation Centre;
  • the future construction of a Darebin Global Learning Hub in Preston;
  • delivery of Darebin’s new Intercultural Centre on High Street, Preston;
  • tree planting, bushland restoration and water quality improvement in key locations including the Edgars Creek and Edwardes Lake area;
  • establishing a sustainable and diverse funding stream strategy to enable long-term planning and construction of social and affordable housing; and
  • high priority road safety projects.
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