Environmental Sustainability


Melbourne has the potential to be the world’s most sustainable and resilient city, by leading by example and by supporting businesses and residents to commit to carbon neutral futures, as well as protecting our urban ecology and the natural resources on which it relies.


  1. Melbourne and the planet is facing a climate and biodiversity emergency and must respond swiftly and justly.
  2. The City of Melbourne is well placed to be a regional, national and world leader on sustainability, and so should be.
  3. Inner Melbourne supports an important but non-diverse ecology, with a prevalence of monocultures particularly among trees, requiring government to review its role as urban forest manager and facilitator of a richer biodiversity.
  4. Additional heating (urban heat island effect) of the city has enormous consequences for our community and must be reduced.
  5. Melbourne’s existing parklands are precious to humans, animals and biodiversity and must be protected and expanded.
  6. Councils must facilitate the diversion of all waste resources from landfill through reduction or inclusion in the circular economy.
  7. Water sources should be managed and conserved according to both environmental and human needs.
  8. Buildings are Melbourne’s greatest emitter of greenhouse gases and strategies to reduce their impact must be prioritised.
  9. All Melbourne residents should be supported to reduce their consumption of resources, including energy, water and packaging, and reduce food waste.


Stronger biodiversity

  1. Implement the City’s biodiversity, ecology, urban forest and open space strategies.
  2. Update the Royal Park Masterplan to ensure that its objectives of native state and local ecosystem support and passive recreation are acted upon.
  3. Pursue more biodiversity and water sensitive urban design projects throughout the municipality, including in all significant street upgrades and waterway flood mitigation projects in parks, and also by assisting private property owners to maintain existing vegetation and build new gardens including vertical gardens.
  4. Protect especially critical habitat or remnant vegetation through planning controls, connect vegetation ecosystems of similar type, and promote the planting of complementary vegetation on private properties.
  5. Seek the return to parkland and vegetation of disused spaces and unnecessary expanses of bitumen and concrete.
  6. Allocate more spaces for community gardens.
  7. Manage small-scale community composting, to minimise greenhouse gas emissions and maximise safety and quality of compost (limited to organic waste).
  8. Work with local communities to promote and continually improve Council’s street gardens policy.
  9. Support best practice research and citizen science in all of Council’s urban ecology programs.
  10. Continue the annual biodiversity survey (Bioblitz) for the City of Melbourne in partnership with Universities, the Museum and other citizen science groups, encouraging increased numbers of resident, business and visitor participants.
  11. Support humane and sustainable means of controlling existing and potential threats to biodiversity from feral animals, weeds and pest species.
  12. Support landowners and community groups to conserve biodiversity and plant vegetation.
  13. Review the City of Melbourne’s species selection science to maximise the ecological benefits of Melbourne’s urban forest.
  14. Invest in the Domain Gardens Arboretum, one of the benefits of which will be the development of more arid and existing native plants suited for Melbourne’s soils and warming climate.
  15. Continue to support and learn from local, national and global networks of cities working towards sustainable, resilient urban environments – for all people, plants and animals.

Transforming energy use throughout the municipality

  1. Support and actively promote programs to assist commercial building owners and tenants to retrofit their properties and/or office spaces.
  2. Introduce programs, guidelines and planning scheme amendments to enable individual residents to have access to renewable energy.
  3. Support and actively promote sustainability education and energy retrofitting programs for apartment buildings.
  4. Maximise the benefits available to residents and business owners from the Victorian Energy Upgrades scheme.
  5. Provide sustainability tools and assistance, and advocate for residents living in rental properties and public housing.
  6. Achieve sustainability outcomes across the municipality through the use of smart technology such as real-time sustainability indicators and competitions to compare business precincts and residential areas.
  7. Work with the State Government to initiate, promote and expand upon programs that assist residents and businesses to reduce their utilities bills, including increasing energy literacy and accessing real-time energy data.
  8. Continually support programs that reduce the amount of residential waste that goes to landfill, such as Spring Clean and garage sales.
  9. Help businesses to reduce use of materials that are toxic to humans and the environment.
  10. Provide for the separation of collected residential waste into categories, to maximise the efficiency of post-collection recycling processes.

 Regulatory reform to address climate change

  1. Amend the Melbourne Planning Scheme to require new developments to perform Urban Heat Island Effect reductions and incorporate flood mitigation.
  2. Provide support and incentives for climate change mitigation and adaptation in existing developments, such as white or green roofs, additional vegetation or reduction in concrete and tarmac, and built or landscaped flood retardation.
  3. Replace the Energy, Waste and Water local policy in the Melbourne Planning Scheme with a strong statewide planning control with local schedules that guarantee that new development meets the high standards of sustainability required to address climate change.
  4. Pursue planning controls to require roof-top sustainability infrastructure where possible and practical.
  5. Review older planning controls to identify and limit outcomes that contribute to global warming.

 Leading by example

  1. Complete a retrofit of all council owned buildings to industry best practice (e.g. 5 star NABERS or Green Star) against an agreed emissions reduction plan.
  2. Implement procurement strategies, tender processes, case studies and other bulk purchasing processes across Council to increase sustainability in purchasing.
  3. Reduce the City’s reliance on drinkable water.
  4. Maximise recycling of waste resources from Council operations, and minimise waste sent to landfill.