New project mapping out a low carbon future for the Greater Whitsunday region

The Decarbonisation Accelerated project is taking a regional economic approach to encourage businesses and industries to start their decarbonisation journey.

Greater Whitsunday Alliance (GW3) chief executive officer Ms Kylie Porter said the Decarbonisation Accelerated project is one of the first of its kind in Australia, where a whole-of-region approach to decarbonisation is being taken.   

“Our region is focused on seizing the opportunities that global decarbonisation brings.

“All current evidence indicates that while the metallurgical coal industry will remain strong for many decades, we still need to decarbonise our industries at the same time. 

“The purpose of Decarbonisation Accelerated is to secure the future viability of our traditional sectors, by supporting businesses on the pathway to decarbonisation, while at the same time, creating opportunities in emerging sectors which have decarbonised principles.”

Ms Porter said some of those new emerging sectors include renewable energy, critical minerals, biomanufacturing and aerospace.

“Our vision is by 2025, is the Greater Whitsunday region, through reducing carbon output, will have continued to diversify its economic base to ensure long-term economic prosperity,” she said.

Ms Porter said decarbonisation is essential in ensuring the Greater Whitsunday economy and its population can continue to attract investment and participate in global supply chains. 

“We want our region to be recognised as a global hub of leading decarbonisation practices,” she said.

The Decarbonisation Accelerated project is a partnership between Greater Whitsunday Alliance (GW3) and the Resources Centre of Excellence (RCOE), along with major funding partner the Local Buying Foundation (LBF).

Resources Centre of Excellence (RCOE) Mr Steven Boxall said the initial focus of Decarbonisation Accelerated will be the METS sector and their critical role in supporting the coal sector decarbonise.

“The METS sector also stand to gain new options from the diversification opportunities that will come from decarbonisation. 

Mr Boxall said our region has a major role in achieving a new direction with mining companies working hard to decarbonise their operations.

“Mining companies are changing their business models and what they do around decarbonisation,” he said.

“When you think about it, the path to decarbonisation impacts the entire Australian resources sector.

“This is not something that’s going to slow us down, but instead, speed us up. And we have a major role to play, not just locally, not just nationally, but globally, in achieving the path to decarbonisation. Without our region, a lot of this can’t happen.

“The win for us is at a community level, by securing the economy of our region and the jobs of the future. It’s a big challenge but it’s a great opportunity for Greater Whitsunday,” Mr Boxall said.

Local Buying Foundation (LBF) Chair Ms Melissa Westcott said the LBF is proud to be a major funding partner of this trailblazing decarbonisation initiative.

“For small businesses, understanding decarbonisation and learning what steps they can take to mitigate this is not just an option, it is an imperative.

“By supporting this project, the LBF is providing more than just financial support; it’s a testament to the stakeholders’ collective commitment to building sustainable business communities for the future,” Ms Westcott said.

The Decarbonisation Accelerated project will officially launch on Friday October 6 at the Resource Centre of Excellence with special guest speaker BMA Head of Supply, Jessica Simpson. 

What is Decarbonisation?

Decarbonisation is the process of significantly reducing or eliminating carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions from the atmosphere. This includes the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions from energy production, and from other activities undertaken by communities, businesses, and households.

With decarbonisation comes terms such as ‘net zero’ and ‘carbon neutral’.

 Net zero refers to a long-term approach of reducing emissions in line with the latest climate science and balancing the remaining residual emissions through carbon removal credits.

Carbon neutral refers to a short-term process of purchasing carbon reduction credits equivalent to any emissions released, without the need for emissions reductions to have taken place.