Australia has three and a half levels of government?

Climate change response is often much more in evidence at the local government level than at state and/or national levels. Local governments are highly responsive to their communities, they have feedback loops between action and response that are almost immediate. But councils often work better within their municipal boundaries than more broadly, even when the issue they are working on is felt regionally. Enter the half level of government!

Local governments working together in groupings based around identity, geography or community can attain the critical mass to conduct research, implement projects and provide services that would not otherwise be possible. Making these collaborations formal is often a missing step.

Victoria’s nine greenhouse alliances are successful examples of adjacent councils working in collaboration on climate change response. These alliances are more than just occasional meetings of interested councils though – they are formal entities of a varying number of councils with strong governance, mature strategies for dealing with diversity and a range of ways of working to respond to the breadth and depth of the climate change challenge.

Regional groupings of councils can present all the benefits of local action yet not suffer the distance that often characterises state government action. They show that it is possible to build action on local knowledge without falling prey to parochialism.

In this paper, models of governance and operations for regional alliances will be presented and discussed. The benefits of working regionally will be analysed through case studies of successful programs and projects.

Download the full paper from June 2013 here : 0103 NCCARF paper June 2013