David Risstrom - Greens Melbourne City Councillor 1999-2004
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Rosa and Dave's News + Views 2002

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2002 IN REVIEW - GREENS IN GOVERNMENT CAN MAKE A REAL DIFFERENCE

This year has proven to be an extremely busy year for me as a Green on Melbourne City Council. Here are some of the highlights that show that wherever they are, Greens in government can make a real difference.

Melbourne has formally adopted a ‘Zero Net Greenhouse Gas Emissions Target’ by 2020. Having personally presented this to an APEC Sustainable Cities meeting in Canberra in 2000 and in Wuhan, China, earlier this year, the strategy represents the kind of leadership in greenhouse that is needed to avert climate change. This target will not only see us achieve zero net emissions in Melbourne, it will be made available to all Asia-Pacific cities to do likewise.

As an Executive and Management Committee member of The International Council for Local Environment Initiatives (ICLEI), my organisation and I were responsible for organising the Local Government Session at the Johannesburg World Summit on Sustainable Development. Following two years of international preparatory meetings, thousands of conversations and e-mails, the conference theme ‘Local Action Moves the World’ proved true. Despite massive failures by national governments, local government proved it has and will continue to make a difference. The Local Government Session formally adopted the ‘Melbourne Principles’, 10 principles of sustainable development that will be used internationally as a foundation for practical work in the future.

Melbourne renewed its host agreement with ICLEI Australia/New Zealand for a further three years, with active co-operation on sustainable development occurring between Melbourne and Japan, Korea, Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines. Melbourne, the first city in Australia to reach the final milestone in the ICLEI Cities for Climate Protection campaign, is now a world leader in the ICLEI Water Campaign.

The Sustainable Melbourne Fund has established a board of trustees and is very near to seeking interest in how best to distribute the $5M allocated by Council. Stay tuned.

The City of Melbourne unanimously adopted my resolution to commence a 12 month discussion on Indigenous Reconciliation, to consider whether we establish a treaty, formalise a land use agreement, and take whatever other action needed to achieve real reconciliation. We are developing an Indigenous Unit at the Council and strengthening our Indigenous Employment practices.

As a Director of MAPS, the largest local government purchasing scheme is Australia, at my instigation, work is proceeding on establishing a ‘Green Purchasing’ scheme across local government.

On a personal front, I had the good fortune to visit Burma as part of a Vincent Fairfax Ethics and Leadership Fellowship, which gave me the opportunity to consider firsthand how the Burmese people view their dilemma. Despite attempts to pass security barriers, I was unable to meet with Aung Sung San Suu Kyi, though, in pure Burmese style, was able to shake hands with the 10 or so police and soldiers whose duty stopped my progress.

This year also gave me the great fortune to meet the Dalai Lama in person, whose generous gift of his most recent book ‘Ancient Wisdom, Modern World – Ethics for the New Millennium' contains simple and powerful messages for a time when many of us seem focussed on differences amongst us, rather than similarities.

The 60L Green Building has been opened in Melbourne, with ACF moving their headquarters to 60 Leicester St, Carlton. The City of Melbourne has provided a $100,000 grant to assist ACF in extending its work into the community.

The 50 Year ‘Growing Green’ strategy I commenced in 2001 for long term planning of our open space is proceeding well, with many of you having made good contributions.

The Inner City Social Housing Company I chair has made some good progress during the year, though met with some disappointments as a result of State Government funding failures. An agreement to manage La Trobe Close in North Melbourne is now in place.

Melbourne Conversations, which evolved out of a principle I introduced of the Town Hall being the ‘Village Green’ for community discussion, has been well supported by Radio 774 and the community.

I initiated a raft of new arrangements that greatly diminishes the ability of tenderers to rely on ‘commercial-in-confidence’ provisions. Tenderers will be made aware that tender information provided as part of tenders is now presumed to be available for public scrutiny.

Melbourne City Council is increasingly recognised as one of the most advanced organisations applying Triple Bottom Line to our activities. Even though I initiated this work in 1999 [prior to the State Government], despite the resources available to the State, it appears our work at the local government level may well be exceeding that of the State.

Finally, I’d like to think that the balanced economic, social and environmental view Greens bring to governance has contributed to Melbourne, again, achieving the title of the World’s Most Liveable City. With your support, we can work towards Melbourne also being the Greenest!

 

Cool Green Tip Of The Week -

23 April 2017: Only those who decline to scramble up the career ladder are interesting as human beings. Nothing is more boring than a man with a career: Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago 1918 -1956.

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