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Saturday, June 19, 2021

Hunter region councils commit to climate

The Hunter is committed to collaboratively tackling shared challenges of changing global energy markets and climate change impacts.

That’s the definitive message as Maitland City Council, Dungog Shire Council and Singleton Council officially joined Australia’s largest local government climate network, the Cities Power Partnership (CPP).

The Hunter Joint Organisation (Hunter JO) and each of its member councils have now signed an agreement to accelerate clean energy initiatives and jobs in an effort to move towards a cleaner tomorrow for their communities – and set the region up for a prosperous future.

Board chair and Cessnock City mayor Bob Pynsent said the collective agreement, coordinated by the Hunter JO, strengthened the Hunter’s reputation as a region that supported meaningful regional responses on to forces beyond its control.

“In order to deal with the simultaneous challenges of changing global energy markets and climate change impacts, our councils need to be able to support one another and coordinate our efforts to benefit our communities across the region,” he explained.

“By partnering with Cities Power Partnership, our councils and the Hunter JO are ensuring that we take joint action for our region and our communities.

“Working collaboratively, we aim to attract more funding, expertise and resources to support region-wide and council specific projects.”

Cities Power Partnership director Dr Portia Odell welcomed the program’s newest members Maitland City, Dungog Shire and Singleton councils and the Hunter JO.

She commended the region for committing to work collectively on clean energy and climate-related initiatives.

“Right now, local governments have an opportunity to get on the front foot of Australia’s energy transition and accelerate projects that will deliver local jobs quickly, drive new investment and tackle long-term challenges like climate change,” Dr Odell said.

Councils taking part in the CPP pledge five actions to tackle climate change locally, from ramping up renewable energy through to planning sustainable transport systems.

The Hunter JO is the first joint organisation nationally to join the Cities Power Partnership, creating a new regional partnership model that can be replicated across the country.

“The sustainability and future of the Hunter region has been a key strategic priority of the Hunter JO since its establishment in 2018,” Cr Pynsent said.

“We have a range of different projects driving this agenda within the organisation and across our member councils, including their Circular Economy and Hunter 2050 Foundation programs.

“Through partnering with the Cities Power Partnership, the Hunter JO and councils are further building the Hunter into one of the most liveable, inclusive, resilient, sustainable and connected regions in Australia.

“With thriving people, natural environments and progressive primary industries there continues to be untapped potential for development and growth.”

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