The first Peak Oil contingency plan in Australasia? Press release….

Maribyrnong City Council’s Peak Oil Contingency Plan first for Australia

Making history as the first-ever local government organisation to strategically address the impacts of rising oil prices, Maribyrnong City Council has completed their Peak Oil Contingency Plan.

The newly completed Peak Oil Contingency Plan spells out the threats and shifts required by Council to achieve the same level of community service provision in times of reduced oil availability and subsequent escalated prices.

In April 2008, Council endorsed the Peak Oil Policy and Action Plan following engagement with the Maribyrnong community. The Peak Oil Contingency Plan, one of the recommendations listed in Council’s Peak Oil Action Plan, was undertaken by Council’s consultants, Institute for Sensible Transport.

“As the level of government closest to the community, it’s local Councils that residents will turn to in times of peak oil crisis when petrol prices will become unaffordable and food prices will skyrocket,” said the Mayor of the City of Maribyrnong, Cr Michael Clarke.

“And it’s the very core community services provided by Councils that will be potentially affected by a reduction of oil availability, yet it’s these same services that cannot be compromised. This includes things like rubbish collection, home meal deliveries and other aged care, maternal and child health services and our road maintenance programs.”

“The Peak Oil Contingency Plan illustrates the ways we can maintain these services and survive significant threats, with as little impact on our community as possible when times of limited oil supply hit global and local economies.”

“In coordinating our responses to peak oil threats, Council will introduce a greater level of resilience into our operations, as well as assist in creating a more resilient, prepared community,” said Cr Clarke.

The Peak Oil Contingency Plan has made a number of recommendations, which will be worked into the annual Peak Oil Action Plan.

“We have been on the front foot the last few years in addressing environmental issues, with our carbon neutral commitment. Some of the Contingency Plan actions have already been implemented, while others will require greater planning and resources. Nevertheless, we are steadily implementing key steps to prepare Council for a reduction in global oil supply,” said Cr Clarke.

Recommendations in the Plan to boost resilience to oil depletion included:

  • Introduce car pooling software, boost work from home options and encourage sustainable transport use and video conferencing facilities
  • Create opportunities for urban food production
  • Boost the proportion of Council budget dedicated to sustainable transport
  • Advocate to State and Federal Governments for improved public transport
  • Reduce demand for oil consumption across Council service areas.”

Cr Clarke said Council is continuing to embark on an exciting, challenging journey to tackle Peak Oil and has undertaken considerable work so far to ensure Council’s core services are delivered in an environmentally sustainable way.

“We have incorporated our Peak Oil work into existing Council processes such as our Risk Management Framework, Council Policies and our Business Continuity models. From here, there is plenty more to be done – and now that we are equipped with out Peak Oil Contingency Plan, we are ready for the challenge,” said Cr Clarke.

Here is what Elliot Fishman at the Institute for Sensible Transport had to say:

Our team worked closely with council staff to assess council’s operations and vulnerability to oil supply constraints. This process led to the identification of ten service areas considered most vulnerable to either a short or long term reduction in available fuel supplies.

We facilitated a workshop in which council staff nominated the key threats to their business area posed by a reduction in fuel availability and what response measures they could implement to mitigate against these threats.

Using a risk management approach, we were able to develop risk profiles for each of the ten service areas and prioritise the recommendations made by council staff. This analysis enabled our team to provide practical recommendations to assist council to meet its fuel use reduction targets and increase Maribyrnong’s resilience to future threats posed by fuel supply disruptions.

Project deliverables:

  • Analysis of local demographics and transport patterns
  • Analysis of council’s operations, services and oil consumption
  • Identification of ten critical service areas most vulnerable to oil supply disruptions
  • Facilitated workshop with over 35 council staff
  • Risk analysis of service areas against a short and long term reduction in oil supply
  • Critical analysis and prioritization of response measures to oil depletion
  • Recommendations to increase council and community resilience to future oil supply disruptions.

The full report is available from the Institute for Sensible Transport website here (2.8MB PDF).

Maribyrnong is one of several local Government organisations in Australia starting to move on peak oil, so we hope to see more peak oil policies and action and contingency plans soon. Thanks to my colleagues Elliot and Joe, and Grace and Gavin and the rest of the team at Maribyrnong for what was a very interesting and enjoyable project to be involved with.

Maybe the next level of Government will step up to the challenge soon?


One Response

  1. […] This blog article reports on the action taken by Maribyrnung City Council      BLOG Article […]

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