A supercharged, zero-carbon public sector

Perth city skyline and train station

The opportunity

Not only do we need to investigate mitigation and adaptation opportunities, but we need to completely decarbonize our economy in less than 30 years. The next ten years are considered the ‘critical decade’ we need to reduce emissions by 7.6% every year to have any chance of limiting global heating to 1.5 degrees.

Currently less than ten full time staff are employed in a dedicated Climate unit. Clean State proposes a new Minister with responsibility for Climate Change, and a supercharged climate change unit within the Department of Premier and Cabinet, with at least 50 full time staff.

The proposal

Establish a Minister for Climate Change and employ 50 new staff in a large, cross-government Climate Action and Jobs Unit to coordinate action on climate change across the whole of government and all sectors of the WA economy. ($5m/yr)

Commit to becoming a carbon neutral government by 2025 and develop a plan to achieve this.

Launch an ambitious program to audit and retrofit 600 government owned and leased buildings with energy efficiency and solar power by 2025, starting with WA’s 80 hospitals. ($10m/yr)

Convert the government’s 8000-strong car and commercial vehicle fleet to electric by 2025, starting immediately with the 2021 fleet contract review.

Offset unavoidable government emissions (including from Government Trading enterprises) through investment in a Carbon and Land Restoration Fund (see separate initiative).

Establish a revolving fund to support Local Government to invest in energy efficiency and renewable energy opportunities with a payback of less than 5 years.

Decarbonising government-owned and leased buildings

Improving the energy efficiency of all government-owned buildings presents a massive economic stimulus and is one of the best opportunities to reduce carbon emissions in the built environment.

A whole of government approach with a commitment to becoming a carbon-neutral government by 2025 with a plan to achieve this would be an effective way to show strong leadership.

Jobs and Benefits

This initiative would save millions of dollars every year in energy bills and provide a massive stimulus to WA’s renewable and energy efficiency sectors.

Thousands of tonnes of emissions would be saved each year by electrifying the government fleet and retrofitting all government owned and leased buildings for energy efficiency and solar power.

Clean State estimates:

  • At least 250-400 jobs would be created in energy efficiency retrofits and solar installations.
  • 50-400 jobs in carbon farming and other offset activities created by offsetting unavoidable government emissions.
  • 50 full time jobs in a new Climate Action and Jobs department.

The package described would save over 500,000 tonnes per year by 2030.

Example Action: Decarbonising the government fleet to 8000 EVs

The Department of Finance leases and finances 8907 passenger and light commercial vehicles. Of these, just two are electric and 114 are electric/hybrid.

In addition to the fleet, there are another 251 agency-owned vehicles and fleets for government trading enterprises such as the Water Corporation, which includes 92 trucks and vans.

The $280 million fleet contract is coming up for review in 2021 and provides the perfect opportunity to phase in an electric fleet.

This initiative would save up to $23m per year in fuel costs and the higher price of EVs in the short term would be more than recovered through fuel savings.167 It would also save thousands of dollars being spent every year to offset emissions from the government fleet.

Committing to phasing in an all-electric fleet would also be the single biggest way government could help drive EV prices down for private owners and spur investment in EV recharging infrastructure.