Local Government NSW: Climate emergency requires urgent action

Call for action: The climate emergency was on the agenda at the Local Government NSW Annual Conference in Sydney.
Call for action: The climate emergency was on the agenda at the Local Government NSW Annual Conference in Sydney.

Local Government NSW has called on the state government to join hundreds of other authorities in declaring a climate emergency.

The peak industry organisation representing NSW councils, in recognition of the urgent need for climate action, also called on the state government to make "clear, effective and unambiguous" steps to avert a climate crisis in NSW.

Ryde City Council's two-part motion was narrowly passed 51 per cent to 49 per cent at the Local Government NSW Annual Conference.

Mayor Peta Pinson, who attended the conference, said the vote demonstrated how the general population was split on the matter.

Subsidiary climate emergency motions were also carried including a motion from Bellingen Shire Council that Local Government NSW declares we are in a state of climate emergency that requires urgent action by all levels of government.

Cr Peter Alley attended the conference but was not at the conference when the climate emergency vote took place.

He said Local Government NSW joined the Australian Local Government Association in recognising we were in a climate emergency.

The Local Government NSW Annual Conference brought together council representatives from across the state from October 14 to 16.

Hastings Parents for the Environment's Dr Sarah Mollard said the group welcomed the recent declaration by Local Government NSW that we are in a state of climate emergency that requires urgent action.

"We ask for Port Macquarie-Hastings Council to follow this urgently with a local climate emergency declaration, and more importantly, a plan that takes seriously the critical threat our social, economic and environmental systems are currently facing," she said.

"The technology and knowledge exists to show the steps we need to take, now all levels of government need to get on board so that there can be a rapid transition to 100 per cent renewables and implementation of transport and agriculture solutions with no household left behind."

Community members have urged the council to act now to address climate change.

The council at its October meeting unanimously voted to ask the general manager to provide a report to the December meeting with an overview of significant sustainability initiatives and programs which the council has previously and is currently engaged in.

The report will include how each might relate to climate change mitigation and/or adaptation.

Funding a sustainability officer will also be considered in the council's 2020-2021 operational plan.

The council at its September meeting deferred taking steps towards a climate change policy.

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