Shire en­dorses en­vi­ron­ment stand

Augusta Margaret River Times - - Front Page - War­ren Hately

The Shire of Au­gusta-Mar­garet River will deepen its in­volve­ment in pro­tect­ing the en­vi­ron­ment by en­dors­ing a po­si­tion state­ment re­cently re­leased by the WA Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment As­so­ci­a­tion urg­ing in­di­vid­ual com­mu­ni­ties to stand up for cli­mate change.

The de­ci­sion was made as ur­gent busi­ness dur­ing last week’s coun­cil meet­ing, with Shire pres­i­dent Pam Town­shend en­dorsed to write to WA Pre­mier Mark McGowan, plus Min­is­ters for the En­vi­ron­ment and Re­gional De­vel­op­ment, re­quest­ing a for­mal Cli­mate Change Part­ner­ship with the lo­cal gov­ern­ment sec­tor “to en­able the tran­si­tion to a low car­bon and re­silient WA”.

It comes on the heels of a de­ci­sion last month to bro­ker a cli­mate ac­tion sum­mit in Mar­garet River in early 2019.

And it fol­lows a state­ment last week from En­vi­ron­ment Min­is­ter Stephen Daw­son that WA would also de­velop a cli­mate change re­sponse.

Cr Town­shend said the move was “re­ally to try and put a rocket un­der the State Gov­ern­ment and also to work in part­ner­ship with lo­cal gov­ern­ment”.

At last week’s meet­ing, coun­cil­lors stressed the ur­gency of find­ing lo­cal so­lu­tions to cli­mate change, which would be the fo­cus of next year’s sum­mit.

“We can’t wait any longer for (the State Gov­ern­ment) to get (their) act to­gether and make some de­cent pol­icy around cli­mate change,” Cr Town­shend said.

“This is a for­mal state­ment from us say­ing we want to be in­volved.”

The WALGA pol­icy po­si­tion for­mally ac­knowl­edges the re­al­ity of a warm­ing cli­mate and its threat to so­ci­ety and ecosys­tems.

“Ur­gent ac­tion is re­quired to re­duce emis­sions, and to adapt to the im­pacts from cli­mate change that are now un­avoid­able,” WALGA said.

“A fail­ure to ad­e­quately ad­dress this cli­mate change emer­gency places an un­ac­cept­able bur­den on fu­ture gen­er­a­tions.”

WALGA wants com­pre­hen­sive fund­ing from the Com­mon­wealth and State gov­ern­ments na­tion­wide as well as “lead­er­ship and co-or­di­na­tion at all lev­els of gov­ern­ment”.

Cr Naomi God­den said the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment’s in­ac­tion so far was “shame­ful”.

“I’m some­what ex­cited by the State Gov­ern­ment cre­at­ing a cli­mate change pol­icy,” she said. “It comes at the same time as they give sup­port for frack­ing … so there’s an in­ter­est­ing hypocrisy there.”

Cr Peter Lane said cli­mate change was dis­cussed more fre­quently in coun­cil cham­bers than Fed­eral Par­lia­ment “which I think is good”.

Last week, Mr Daw­son said the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment must “lead the way” with the sup­port of State Gov­ern­ment.

“The on­go­ing un­cer­tainty at the na­tional level has made it chal­leng­ing for States and Ter­ri­to­ries to de­velop a con­sid­ered re­sponse to cli­mate change,” he said.

“But there are mea­sures we can take to en­sure WA is well-po­si­tioned in the face of rapid tech­no­log­i­cal change and a chang­ing cli­mate, what­ever the po­si­tion of the Com­mon­wealth Gov­ern­ment.”

We can’t wait any longer for (the State Gov­ern­ment) to get (their) act to­gether. Pam Town­shend

Coun­cil­lors Pauline McLeod, Michael Smart, deputy Shire pres­i­dent Ju­lia Mel­drum, Shire pres­i­dent Pam Town­shend, Peter Lane, Naomi God­den and Ian Earl. Pic­ture: El­e­ments

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