Climate Change Action

Ballina Shire Council has a long history of corporate and community climate change action. In 2019 Council declared a state of Climate Emergency and in response has prepared a draft Climate Change Policy. The policy sets organisational emissions reduction targets, and a framework for progressing climate change adaptation and resilience strategies.

The targets are more ambitious than the NSW and Australian Governments and aim to achieve rapid emissions reduction by:

  • reducing our operational greenhouse gas emissions to net-zero emissions by 2030.
  • using 100% renewable electricity for our operations by 2030.

These targets are considered achievable as they focus on Council’s own operations such as water and wastewater, street lighting, community facilities, and planning and development.

Our Draft Climate Change Policy looks at ways to progress climate change mitigation, adaptation, and resilience strategies within the community. The Draft Climate Change policy was on public exhibition from  19 May to 16 June 2021 and the community feedback provided will be presented to Council at a future meeting.

What has been achieved so far?

In 2004 Ballina Shire Council joined the Cities for Climate Protection program and commenced its journey of climate change action.

Council actions include climate change mitigation, adaptation and resilience strategies for its own operations as well as the broader community.


Council has implemented quite a range of energy efficiency initiatives over the years that have significantly reduced operational emissions.

Key projects such as the LED streetlighting retrofits, wastewater treatment plant upgrades and efficiencies, and solar installations have protected Council from the full impact of major facility upgrades such as pools, new sub-divisions, and general population growth. Without this action Council's emissions and costs would have been significantly higher.

As a direct result of Council’s actions emissions had only increased by 5% in 2019-20 compared to the 2012-13 base year. This is a great achievement considering that the organisation and Shire continues to grow.

Council’s Operational Emissions by Source

Electricity consumption is the primary source of Council’s annual emissions at around 80%, followed by fuel from Council’s fleet at 18%, and waste emissions at around 2%.

Council’s Operational Electricity Emissions by Sections

The highest user of electricity from Council’s operations is the Water and Wastewater section, followed by Buildings and Facilities such as pools and community centres 35%, and street lighting at 13%.

Council’s On-site Solar Generation 2019/20

Council’s electricity demand in 2019/20 was made up of 90% electricity from the grid (8.7 MWh) and 10% from solar on-site generation. Council plans to install another 130 kW of solar in 2021, and more solar is planned in 2022 for the airport and a number of other sites. This will increase our solar generation to around 15%.

Ballina Shire’s greenhouse gas emissions in 2019 were 625,000 tonnes of C02e (tCO2e). Just like council operations, fuel and electricity usage are the major sources of community emissions.

Source: Snapshot Climate Tool

Council’s Community Emissions Reduction Activities

Council supports our community in emissions reduction through a range of activities. This includes:

  • Promotion of government solar and energy efficiency initiatives and programs
  • Transport initiatives including Bike Week, National Ride2School Week, National Walk Safely to School Day and Northern Rivers Carpool initiative
  • Active transport infrastructure (shared pathway network)
  • Open space and healthy living strategies
  • Community education (transport, water, waste, energy)
  • Organic waste education and diversion
  • Urban forest and greening strategies
  • Forward planning for electric vehicle infrastructure
  • Smart water metering service
  • Advocating State and Federal Governments for legislative changes and support.

A growing number of council's and communities are setting ambitious community-wide greenhouse gas emissions targets to respond to climate change with varying levels of local council involvement. Council and community goals across Australia are presented in the report: Ambitious climate action commitments by states, local governments and communities – Sep 2020.

Tell us if you think this something Ballina Shire should do, and what level of involvement you think Ballina Shire Council should have. Take the survey to have your say.

Take the Survey

Ballina Shire Council’s draft Climate Change Policy proposes two ambitious Council operational emissions reduction and renewable energy targets:

  • Net zero emissions from our operations by 2030
  • Reaching 100% renewable electricity for our operations by 2030

The next step is to develop a detailed Council Plan for how these targets will be achieved in the short, medium, and long term. Key actions that are likely to form part of a plan to net zero emissions include:

  • Short term solar installations at a number of sites including a further 130 KW of solar PV installed at Council’s Works Depot and Waste Management Centre in 2021
  • Solar panels installed at the Ballina Byron Gateway Airport on shade structures over the carpark in 2022
  • Development of a solar strategy for all sewage treatment plants
  • Energy audits of all facilities to improve lighting, heating, ventilation, and air conditioning
  • Investigate use of emerging renewable energy technologies and practices including batteries, hydrogen, and power purchase agreements
  • Increase electric and low emissions vehicles and charging stations
  • Improve sustainable waste management practices at council sites
  • Maintain sustainable financial investment commitments
  • Sustainable procurement
  • Regional waste solutions.

Council will continue to work with the community to support Shire-wide emissions reduction. We are interested in your views on community-wide targets.

Take the Survey

Council’s Pathway to 100% Renewable Electricity

Our preliminary analysis below illustrates what our pathway to 100% renewables could look like.

First step is reduce consumption with energy efficiency, produce renewable energy ie solar and batteries, and source the remaining electricity from a renewable energy source ideally a local producer and/or a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA).

As well as working to reduce emissions, Council supports climate change adaptation and resilience strategies both operationally and at community level. Council’s existing strategic plans list a range of strategies relevant to climate change mitigation and adaption. For example, ensuring plans are in place for natural disasters and environmental changes, increasing resilience of our economy, ensuring planning considers changes to the environment, wise use of resources, and risk management.

The draft Climate Change Policy provides the framework for Council to identify and integrate Climate Change risk assessment, adaptation, and resilience planning into all Council’s strategic plans.

The framework enables planning for adaptation and resilience of Council’s assets and service delivery, and improving the community’s preparedness for a changing climate.

  • Biodiversity and environmental management
  • Flood and coastal management
  • Watercycle management
  • Emergency management
  • Infrastructure and asset management
  • Risk assessment and management
  • Embedding climate change considerations in the Community Strategic Plan
  • Developing land use planning policy frameworks and controls for climate mitigation, adaptation, and resilience.
  • Education programs including the schools waste program
  • Parks and streets tree planting
  • Healthy waterways program
  • Regional collaboration on climate change action

The Paris Agreement, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals have been established to urge collaborative global action on climate change.

Please refer to Council’s draft Climate Change policy for a summary or find more information through the following links.


National and State

Peer support networks:


Net Zero Emissions

Achieving a balance between emissions produced, and emissions taken out of the atmosphere by sequestration like tree planting, soil management, and sustainable agriculture. Producing emissions tips the scales, to balance them there must be no new emissions in any given year, and more sequestration.


Taking action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and limit global warming and changes to the climate.


The process of adjustments and practical actions to manage the risks and impacts of climate change that cannot be avoided.


The capacity for a socio-ecological system to recover and maintain function.

Greenhouse gas emissions

A gas that contributes to the greenhouse effect by trapping heat in the atmosphere. The four main gases are Carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), fluorinated gases.

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Postal Address

The General Manager
Ballina Shire Council
PO Box 450
Ballina NSW 2478

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40 Cherry Street
Ballina NSW 2478


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