Mitigating climate change and making Adelaide a carbon neutral city have been prioritised in last week’s South Australian state budget.
“We want South Australia to be at the forefront of addressing climate change,” state treasurer Tom Koutsantonis said.
“Achieving carbon neutrality will help us to achieve our goal of making Adelaide a more environmentally conscious and liveable city. It will also attract investment and contribute to the state’s clean and green image – an image that underpins the state’s tourism and food and wine sectors.”
Minister for climate change Ian Hunter said making Adelaide carbon neutral was an ambitious target that called for a combined effort across governments, businesses, property owners and residents.
He said the government was backing the “industries of the future” to create local jobs, and building on the state’s global leadership.
“Energy use and transport are the two largest sources of carbon emissions, and working with the community to encourage greater action could significantly drive them down,” Mr Hunter said.
The budget includes $3.6 million dollars over four years towards progressing Adelaide’s carbon neutrality. Initiatives include seed funding for community activity to build green infrastructure, reduce and recover community waste and promote shared transport.
The government will also partner with Adelaide City Council to secure private investment in renewable energy and storage, building energy efficiency and electric vehicles infrastructure.
Adelaide Lord Mayor Dr Martin Haese welcomed the budget, describing it as having a “city focus”.
“Adelaide City Council and the state government are working in partnership on the Carbon Neutral Adelaide Action Plan to see Adelaide become the world’s first carbon neutral city,” Dr Haese said.
“This budget sees $11.9 million committed to this project, which aligns with one of Council’s key priorities in its 2016-20 Strategic Plan.”
The budget also funds establishing Carbon Neutral Adelaide as a key node of Climate Knowledge and Innovation Community Australia.
Public transport is being backed, with $50 million towards extending the tram line down North Terrace to the East End. The council has also committed $5 million in funding for public realm upgrades and a new tram stop.
“The extension of the tram down North Terrace is a significant project that will contribute to an improved city experience for residents, workers, students and visitors by making it easier to travel into and around the CBD,” Dr Haese said.
The state has earmarked $142 million for public transport improvements and to encourage greater use of the network, and $10 million to provide improved infrastructure to promote low carbon forms of transport, increasing cycling and public transport journeys.
Waste and resource recovery
The waste and resource recovery sector is another aspect of reducing carbon emissions the budget has targeted. The budget papers said the sector currently employed about 5000 people, and the proposed fiscal measures and reforms are expected to create more than 350 new jobs.
More than $98 million has been allocated to a range of measures designed to protect and enhance the state’s “clean and green” environment. They are being funded through an increase to the solid waste levy, which will increase from $62 a tonne as at 1 July 2016 to $103 a tonne by 2019-20.
The $98 million in spending measures includes $26.4 million for green industries, comprising a range of local government waste and resource recovery grants, as well as grants for the waste sector to facilitate infrastructure investment and innovation.
It also includes $15.8 million to deal with site contamination issues arising from orphan sites and implementing waste management reform and enhanced compliance in the waste and resources recovery sector.
“This funding will help grow what is already a very important, $1 billion industry in South Australia, and help us maintain our enviable position as Australia’s leading recycler,” Mr Koutsantonis said.
“South Australian companies are already capitalising on the opportunities in waste diversion – businesses like ResourceCo in Wingfield turn demolition waste into aggregates and asphalt for construction while Muradel in Whyalla transforms used tyres into Biofuel.”
He said he expected the reforms would see more businesses like these emerge and divert waste from landfill into reusable commodities.
“Every additional dollar raised from the solid waste levy will be invested back into the recycling and re-use of waste and meeting our Carbon Neutral Adelaide objectives.
“This investment can also create a revenue stream for councils that chose to explore ways of adding value to the waste they collect.”
- Read the budget papers