Climate change summit panned
Retired multi-term councillor Jenny McGregor has lashed the Shire of Augusta-Margaret River council for plans to hold a climate action summit next year.
Reacting to last month’s Times report, the former Cowaramup councillor described the decision as “an absolute joke”.
“Without entering into whether or not climate change is real, neither the Federal or State governments and indeed some other countries have been able to address this issue,” she said.
“How in the heck does our Shire council expect to do so and supposedly make a difference to the world? And it is totally uncosted.”
On November 14, councillors backed an amendment to the Shire’s Local Energy Action Plan instructing officers to prepare a “climate action summit” in the first half of 2019.
Cr Naomi Godden cited the latest United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report in moving the addition. She told the Times the summit was not a conference but would develop a plan with “clear and measurable targets for Augusta-Margaret River to significantly reduce its emissions and adapt and respond to . . . climate change”.
Mrs McGregor believed the summit was not core local government business, would be a burden on ratepayers, and was ill advised, given the scale of Australia’s emissions on the world stage.
“What a waste of our rates,” she said. “How about the council gets back to basics like roads, rubbish, and the things that local governments should do for their community?”
However, former councillor Felicity Haynes said local government had a role influencing higher levels. “This council has seen a revolution in its attitude to sustainable development in the past five years,” she said.
“The economy is important only in so far as it supports the health of our economic and environmental future.”
Shire acting chief executive Dale Putland defended the council decision and pointed to green initiatives already in place.
“The Shire takes enormous pride in working to achieve an environmentally-sustainable future and take our responsibilities in this regard very seriously,” he said.
“Being a coastal council there is a significant risk to our community as a result of climate change.
“We have a role to play as being part of collective global movement for a sustainable future.”
Shire president Pam Townshend said every community had to help reduce emissions. “Communities and local governments are on the frontline of climate change and we need to be smart, collaborat(iv)e and strategic in our response and actions to mitigate and adapt to climate change,” she said.
Cr Naomi Godden.
Dr Dale Putland.
Cr Pam Townshend.
Former councillor Jenny McGregor.