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.    The City of Melbourne is well placed to be a world leader on sustainability, and so should be.

2.    Inner Melbourne supports a rich ecology despite the intensity of development and it is essential that it is maintained and strengthened.

3.    The urban heat island effect has enormous consequences for our community and must be reduced.

4.    Melbourne’s existing parklands are precious and must be protected and expanded.

5.    Councils must facilitate the reduction of waste going to landfill.

6.    The use of potable water should be reduced where it is not essential.

7.    The commercial sector is Melbourne’s greatest emitter of greenhouse gases and strategies to reduce its impact must be prioritised.

8.    All Melbourne residents should be supported to reduce their energy consumption across their household and transport activities.



Stronger biodiversity

1.    Implement the City’s first Urban Ecology Plan, and continue to support the roll out of the City’s Urban Forest and Open Space strategies.

2.    Pursue more biodiversity and water sensitive urban design projects throughout the municipality.

3.    Ensure the adequate protection of especially critical habitat or remnant vegetation through planning controls.

4.    Seek the return to parkland of disused spaces and unnecessary expanses of bitumen and concrete.

5.    Allocate more spaces for community gardens.

6.    Work with local communities to promote and continually improve Council’s street gardens policy.

7.    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.

8.    Support best practice research and citizen science in all of Council’s urban ecology programs.

9.    Support humane and sustainable means of controlling existing and potential threats to biodiversity from feral animals, weeds and pest species.

10. Support programs to work with private landowners and community groups to protect, restore and conserve natural values on their land.

11. Continue to support 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

12. Support and actively promote the 1200 buildings, CitySwitch and other programs to assist commercial building owners and tenants to retrofit their properties and/or office spaces.

13. Systematically provide strategic advice to businesses to assist them in increasing their environmental sustainability through collaborative purchasing.

14. Introduce programs, guidelines and planning scheme amendments to enable individual residents to have access to local renewable energy systems.

15. Investigate new share-based business models for resident participation in local renewable energy systems.

16. Support and actively promote education and retrofitting programs for apartment buildings.

17. Maximise the benefits available to residents and business owners from the VEET scheme.

18. Provide sustainability tools and assistance, and advocate for residents living in rental properties and public housing.

19. Use the City’s Smart City Strategy to drive competition and change to achieve sustainability outcomes, through the use of smart technology such as real-time sustainability indicators that compare precincts across the municipality.

20. Initiate programs that assist residents to reduce their utilities bills, including increasing energy literacy and accessing real-time energy data to change behaviour.

21. Continually support programs that reduce the amount of residential waste that goes to landfill, such as Spring Clean and garage sales.

22. Provide support and incentives for climate change mitigation and adaptation in existing developments.

 Regulatory reform to address climate change

23. Amend the Melbourne Planning Scheme to require new developments to perform Urban Heat Island Effect reductions.

24. Review the effectiveness of and improve the Melbourne Planning Scheme’s Energy, Waste and Water local policy, including through the introduction of stronger decision guidelines.

25. Pursue roof-top activation planning controls to support greater sustainability where possible and practical.

26. Review older planning controls to identify and limit outcomes that contribute to global warming.

 Leading by example

27. 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.

28. Implement procurement strategies, tender processes, case studies and other bulk purchasing processes across Council to increase sustainability in purchasing.

29. Reduce the City’s reliance on potable water.

30. Minimise the generation of waste from Council operations that goes to landfill.