Shire endorses environment stand
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