Moving towards oil resilience
  • Wednesday 15 October 2008

Recognising the enormous changes needed to move to a less oil dependent future, Sunshine Coast Council plans to scope a local energy transition project to guide the move from a high to a low carbon economy.

This initiative was recommended along-side Council’s submission to the State Government on the Oil Vulnerability Mitigation Strategy and Action Plan, at today Strategy and Planning Committee meeting before being referred to the full Council at next week’s Ordinary Meeting for endorsement.

Regional Strategy and Planning Committee Chair, Cr Vivien Griffin, said the era of cheap oil is over and a growing number of analysts predict production will peak before significantly falling behind demand to negatively impacting on economies that depend on oil for transport, agriculture and industry.

“Predictions vary as to what these negative effects will be,” Cr Griffin said.

“But generally it is agreed that if political and economic change occurs anticipating a peak and decline in oil production, then the economic impact will largely depend on the amount and cost of oil available from exporters.

“This can be managed if we can reduce demand by planning conservation measures and the use of alternative fuels and that’s why the State and Federal governments are seeking comment on policy changes being prepared now.”

The report to the committee endorsed the State’s Information Paper and the key areas identified to minimize the impact, and also took the opportunity to recommend some additional measures.

“Council fully supports the creation of oil-resilient transport networks, promoting sustainable fuel supply and planning oil-resilient towns and cities to minimize the impact of oil vulnerability as proposed in the Paper,” Cr Griffin said.

“However, it also recommends that a public education campaign, protection of agricultural land and support for internet usage be added to the strategic mix to raise understanding as well as to support local food supplies and local employment.”

The Committee also recommended that council begin a local Energy Transition project to explore the local transition from a high carbon economy to a low carbon economy.

“This is really significant work that will put in our hands data about the issues the Sunshine Coast could face from the energy transition to guide the development of a regional Energy Transition Strategy and the future Planning Scheme,” Cr Griffin said.

“Equally important, this project shows local leadership and initiative as we address the challenges now and in the future.”

A separate report explaining the tasks proposed for the Sunshine Coast Energy Transition project is expected to be submitted for council consideration in the near future.

The committee report will now be considered by the full Council at its Ordinary Meeting to be held at the Caloundra Office on Thursday 23 October 2008.