Cli­mate change sum­mit panned

Augusta Margaret River Times - - News - War­ren Hately

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.

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