What do we want our city to be? Starting from a ‘Wish for Knox’ campaign launched at the 2020 Knox Festival, thousands of people contributed thoughts and ideas to inform Knox’s next ten-year Community Plan.
The campaign began with the vision that Knox is the place where we connect with people and environment, to ensure they are safe, supported and have every opportunity to thrive.
Priorities identified are:
- Helping businesses recover from the COVID-19 pandemic
- Introducing state-funded three-year-old kindergarten
- Addressing housing affordability and accessibility
- Responding to climate change
- Developing a plan to honour First Nations culture
The new Community and Council Plan identifies what the community wants Knox to look like in ten years’ time, and the work required from Council, its partners and stakeholders, as well as other levels of government, community groups, businesses and individuals, to make this a reality.
Mayor, Cr Lisa Cooper said the plans reflect the voices of the community and thanked those who participated in their development.
‘These plans represent our promise to the people of Knox and guide our work to achieving the vision for our city that we’ve set together,’ said Cr Cooper.
‘Our community is still feeling the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic and our response and recovery as a city will be a key focus over the next four years. We will continue to prioritise delivering services for those facing hardship, helping local businesses to bounce back, and working towards a healthy, connected and resilient community into the future.
From the people who shared their ‘wish for Knox’ at the 2020 Knox Festival, to all those who took part in surveys, focus groups and many other activities, thank you for your valuable contribution.’
The plan identifies five key directions to guide action towards this vision:
- Opportunity and innovation
- Neighbourhoods, housing and infrastructure
- Natural environment and sustainability
- Connection, resilience and wellbeing
- Civic engagement and integrity.
The plan also incorporates the Municipal Public Health and Wellbeing Plan which includes priorities for supporting, protecting and improving the health and wellbeing of the community.
Key initiatives of the Council Plan include:
- Implementing the Climate Response Plan to reach zero greenhouse emissions by 2040
- Advocating to State government for improved public transport and road connectivity
- Delivering Boronia Renewal works
- Prioritising mental health and wellbeing initiatives.
The plans were formally adopted at the meetimg on 25 October along with the Financial Plan 2021-2031, which provides a long-term view of the resources Council will need and how they’ll be used over the life of the plans.
The plans are available on Council’s website.
Knox by 2030
Knox City Council has recognised the climate emergency and adopted its Climate Response Plan.
The plan identifies 56 actions to achieve zero greenhouse emissions by 2040 and support the community to adapt to climate change impacts.
The actions in the ten-year plan cover themes such as:
- Preserving the natural environment,
- Changing the future of transport,
- Improving the energy efficiency of buildings
- Increasing renewable energy use.
A total of $33 million is expected to be invested to implement these actions over that period, including:
- Supporting vulnerable residents to stay safe in hot weather
- Encouraging ‘tree-friendly’ streetscapes that promote healthy canopy tree growth
- Surveying the community on sustainable transport options to encourage more people to consider active and public transport
- Replacing streetlights with energy efficient LEDs.
Mayor, Cr Lisa Cooper said strengthening targets was important to drive urgent action and align with the latest climate science and recommendations of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
‘The science now shows that we are predicted to reach global warming of 1.5°C by the 2030s and limiting this to less than 2°C is crucial to avoid severe impacts such as heatwaves, droughts and floods from becoming more widespread. The work we do in the next decade to reduce emissions and limit warming will have profound impacts on the future the Knox community will face,’ said Cr Cooper.
‘Reducing emissions is a shared responsibility between all levels of government, business and the community. We will lead our community to support and drive emissions reduction across Knox, assisting them in choosing everyday actions that will help in reaching net zero emissions by 2040.
‘Further to this, Council will aim to achieve net zero emissions in our operations by 2030.’
The stronger targets have been reflected in the 56 actions, requiring minimal additional budget to implement, with an emphasis on community education programs and advocacy to other levels of government, business and industry on issues such as electric vehicles and energy efficiency standards for rental properties.
Among the first projects to launch will be workshops for households to find out more about switching to solar power, installing two new electric vehicle charging stations at local Knox sites and joining the Cities Power Partnership, Australia’s largest network of local councils working for a zero-emissions future.
The adopted Climate Response Plan can be found on Council’s website at: www.knox.vic.gov.au/climatechange