Successful climate change forum in Victoria

Published 2 June 2017 by Ian Davies MEIANZ CEnvP, EIANZ VIC Vice President

In a week which saw President Trump withdraw from the COP21 and put America in an exclusive club of three - with Syria and Nicaragua, as the only countries (of 194) not to commit to the 2015 Paris agreement, it was heartening to see Victoria and Victorians continuing to lead the way in terms of positive action to address global warming and rising sea levels.

At an extremely well attended Victorian Division function on Climate Change on Wednesday night hosted by AECOM, an enthusiastic audience were updated on Victoria state government policy and associated program initiatives.  Alice Bleby, Acting Manager of the Climate Change Division of DELWP (Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning) outlined the overarching framework of the Victorian Government’s ambitious Climate Change Policy which was released earlier this year and Dianna McDonald, Lead Social Researcher at Sustainability Victoria (SV) reported on the findings of a recently completed Victoria-wide social research study which demonstrated overwhelming support and commitment for climate change action.  Fran Macdonald, Environment Coordinator for the Western Alliance for Greenhouse Action (WAGA) showcased the great work being done at all levels across Victoria through initiatives such as SV’s TAKE2 Climate Change Program by describing some of the programs being undertaken by a collective of eight councils in western Melbourne (the Cities of Brimbank, Greater Geelong, Hobsons Bay, Maribyrnong, Melton, Moonee Valley and Wyndham, and the Shire of Moorabool).

Following this government scene-setting, Kate Rowan a Sustainability Specialist with the Level Crossing Removal Authority (LXRA), described how climate change resilience formed an integral component of design and procurement for this major infrastructure project at all stages of its planning and development  and explained how LXRA’s initiatives translated through to its adoption of ISCA (Infrastructure Sustainability Council of Australia) and green building ratings systems.

The fact that Allan Klindworth, who heads up AECOM's Sustainability and Resilience group had to usher out stragglers well past the allotted time for the event after repeated attempts to suggest that it was time to go home was testimony to the level of interest and discussion spurned by the climate change debate.  A couple of interesting observations on the evening:  “… nice to be at an event where everyone is buoyed by the government’s presentation!” and “.. it may sound strange, but I wanted to congratulate the organisers on having an all-female panel of speakers. I found this to be particularly refreshing and a great show of leadership. I attend a lot of conferences and events and can’t remember the last time this happened, let alone in a male-dominated engineering and enviro industry. Kudos to EIANZ”.

Presentations from the event are available on our website here →

EIANZ is a Founding Partner of Sustainability Victoria’s TAKE2 pledge program. EIANZ Climate Change Forum sponsor AECOM is an active TAKE2 Member. If you are not already a member, we invite you to register your support of TAKE2 pledge program. By doing so you will join the growing network of organisations who are showing their commitment to a net zero emission 2050 for Victoria, and will be supporting leadership on climate change.