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The role for local government in energy conservation: An Australian perspective with particular reference to Fremantle, Western Australia

Campbell, Rex M. (1989) The role for local government in energy conservation: An Australian perspective with particular reference to Fremantle, Western Australia. PhD thesis, Murdoch University.

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Increasing environmental and economic pressure to conserve energy will force Governments of all nations to introduce fossil fuel conservation policies in the 1990's. These national and state policies will require support at the local level, if they are to succeed.

This thesis seeks to determine whether local governments are capable of maintaining that policy support, and to assess the level of influence they can have on energy conservation within the community, as well as within their own operations.

The City of Fremantle, Western Australia was chosen in 1983 as the site for a four-year national energy demonstration programme, focussing on transport fuel conservation. An attractive mix of projects ranging from short-term in-house conservation and bicycle planning to longer term mixed land-use research, were carried out. This thesis is based on that experience in Fremantle. Continual monitoring and evaluation, combined with regular promotion has shown that local governments, despite their current indifference, can conserve energy.

Technical and policy mechanisms for energy conservation within local government were developed and tested for their Australian applicability. Overseas experience was found to have limited relevance due to different local government structures and energy priorities. Common to all however was the requirement for strong political and management support. backed up by constant promotion and energy monitoring to assess performance. Some models for implementing local government energy conservation in Australia are proposed.

An emphasis on transport energy policies within local government, through bicycle planning and land-use mixing, is found to have major energy saving potential by reducing travel distances. The research established a relationship between increased land-use mixing and lower transport energy use, whilst also showing that increased land use does not lower neighbourhood satisfaction. This provides a supportive policy base for pursuing more energy efficient town planning techniques, some of which are presented within.

It concludes, therefore, in favour of the hypothesis that "Australian local government can play a key role in the conservation of energy, and for this to be effective requires an integrated staged implementation of both policies and projects, with priority being given to liquid fuel conservation through land use and transport planning."

Further research opportunities were identified in the transport and land-use planning areas in particular.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Biological and Environmental Sciences
Notes: Note to the author: If you would like to make your thesis openly available on Murdoch University Library's Research Repository, please contact: Thank you.
Supervisor(s): Newman, Peter
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