Melville residents ignite climate change action within council and you can too

Melville City CAN Supporters
Melville City CAN Supporters

by Brian Spittles and Paula Samson, committee members of Melville City Climate Action Network

Melville City Climate Action Network (MCCAN) is a group of community residents that formed in January 2020 with the primary aim of encouraging the City of Melville to declare a climate emergency and to review its policies and practices accordingly. 

We are concerned about the present and growing effects of climate change in Australia and the limited actions by governments at all levels to reduce C02 emissions. 

We had all seen catastrophic bushfires around the country destroying homes, businesses, habitats, and billions of native animals. 

There is also a growing global incidence of intense floods, droughts and storms which scientists attribute to weather pattern changes induced by human activities. In our view, this called for an emergency-type response from all tiers of government and their respective communities, beyond ‘business as usual’. 

The Council unanimously committed to the following actions: 

  • • the declaration of a climate emergency
  • • the reduction of the carbon emissions by the operations of the City of Melville Council to Net-Zero by 2030
  • • working with state and federal governments, the community and local businesses to ensure that the carbon emissions within the geographical area of the City of Melville reach net-zero by 2050
  • • the preparation of a Climate Action Plan.

This decision speaks to the concerns of many City of Melville residents. As eloquently stated in an email to the Council by 18-year-old resident, Kate Loveday: 

“I know some people might be worried that declaring a climate emergency will cause alarm, but I speak for my whole generation when I say: we are already alarmed. We are, in fact, terrified. 

“So, few people in power are taking climate change seriously… rising temperatures, rising sea levels, more intense and destructive natural disasters, mass extinction, ecosystem collapse, dwindling resources, large swathes of land rendered uninhabitable – this is what our future holds if we all continue with business-as-usual.” 

We extend our thanks to the City of Melville for declaring a climate emergency. Doing so sets the right tone and intention for incorporating climate change considerations into all aspects of the council’s responsibilities, including fostering community engagement. 

There are now more than 100 local councils in Australia and 10 in WA that have declared a climate emergency.

Examples of Climate Action Plans include the Mornington Peninsula Shire Climate Emergency Plan, the Town of Victoria Park Climate Emergency Plan and Bayside City Council, Victoria, Climate Emergency Action Plan.  

There is also a generic Local Government Climate Emergency Toolkit so councils do not have to reinvent the wheel entirely that can be read online at

MCCAN would like to share our success and the experience we gained during our campaign with the readers of Have a Go News with the hope that more local councils pass motions to take on these goals.

If you would like more information to take steps to facilitate a Climate Emergency Declaration in your local council then please email us at