Strathbogie Shire Council last night endorsed a Notice of Motion to declare a Climate Emergency.
The Notice of Motion was moved by Councillor Sally Hayes-Burke, seconded by Cr Reg Dickinson and supported by all Councillors.
It comes after Climate Change and the Environment were ranked as the second and fifth service priority by the community during Council’s recent Share Strathbogie community engagement program.
Speaking at the meeting, Cr Hayes-Burke said the community deserved the best from its elected members.
“The risk is too great for us to sit back and not do anything, and we as Council should not be prepared to take that risk,” Cr Hayes-Burke said.
“Climate Change modelling is alarming and there is a sense of urgency because we now know irreversible damage can be done to our planet if we do not act quickly.
“By the end of the century inaction on Climate Change will cost the Victorian public $1 trillion.
“We have the benefit of science and data to help us comprehend the dire situation upon us and help us understand how critical protecting our natural environment is for human existence.”
She said this was why she believed it was imperative for Council to declare a Climate Emergency – to act to reduce the impacts of Climate Change and reduce the carbon footprint of Strathbogie Shire.
“As a Shire we now have an opportunity to hear from and work with our community to bring about a change so that our children have a habitable planet,” she said.
“I would love for my children who are now one and three to have the chance to not have to learn to live in a planet that is too hot for them and maybe even experience the Great Barrier Reef in all its glory which might still be possible if we do something now.”
Cr Dickinson said the Notice of Motion had created extensive comment from within the community and thanked those who have contacted Council and encouraged the motion.
“I believe the time to act is now. The longer we delay it the harder and more challenging it will become,” Cr Dickinson said.
“If we delay the more frequent and severe weather events will become, like floods, heatwaves, bushfires and droughts.
“The consequences of this will include declining crop production, loss of species, degraded ecosystems and higher insurance bills.”
The next steps are for Strathbogie Shire to engage with the community to set priorities in a Climate Change Action Plan.