More than 40 mayors and councillors across Australia have pledged to create a stronger economy that facilitates jobs and tackles climate change.
Port Macquarie-Hastings Council was not one of them, however had not received correspondence about participating and have since requested this.
Bellingen Shire was the only Mid North Coast council signatory.
The joint statement released on Wednesday (October 21) outlines the pledging councils' commitment to supporting industries which invest in a zero carbon future and help those communities hardest hit by climate disasters and the COVID-19 pandemic.
The joint statement signed by mayors and councillors from NSW, Queensland, Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia, outlines eight solutions to help councils create jobs in clean energy that do not rely on coal or gas.
It comes as Cr Peter Alley will put forward a notice of motion to tonight's (October 21) council meeting that the acting general manager provide a briefing and information to all councillors to enable them to consider making a climate emergency declaration.
The Hastings Climate Emergency Alliance is supporting Cr Alley's recommendation.
The alliance of six local groups is calling on council to declare a climate emergency before the end of 2020.
Cr Alley is encouraging council to consider that the state government has committed to achieving net zero emissions by 2050; the NSW Bushfire Inquiry report acknowledged climate change played a role in the conditions that led up to the 2019-20 bushfires; and the Jardine Lloyd Thompson Local Government Key Risk Report for 2019 identifies "natural catastrophe/climate change" among the top four risks for local government.
Cr Alley said over 1,780 jurisdictions in 31 countries have declared a climate emergency.
Council resolved in September 2019 to defer the development of a climate change policy/action plan until it is a legislative requirement to do so.
Cr Pinson supported that decision saying there is nothing in current legislation that refers to climate change, however in accordance with the Local Government Act council is "obliged to consider the long-term cumulative effects of our actions on future generations, and consider the principles of ecologically sustainable development, and inter-generational equity".
"Delivery of services and infrastructure is what local government has core responsibility for, and it is the role of the mayor and councillors to ensure that decisions of council in that regard are delivered upon," Cr Pinson said.
"It's really important that we understand that there is no single thing that can be done to protect and repair the damage to our environment as a result of climate change."
She said protecting the environment is a priority of council and that is achieved through its land use and planning decisions, design of new developments, transportation strategies, providing shade in open spaces, minimising waste, being water-wise, using reclaimed water to irrigate or sporting fields and looking after the health of our rivers.
In March 2020, council agreed to prepare a climate change risk assessment as a step towards further action.
The assessment would identify the risks to council and develop appropriate mitigation and/or adaptation responses to the identified risks specific to the local government area.
Deputy mayor Lisa Intemann said this step was not declaring a climate emergency but it was an acknowledgement of the situation and the risks that we faced in a changing climate, and an acknowledgement that prevention was more cost effective than trying to deal with an ongoing series of crises.
Spokesperson for Climate Change Hastings, Harry Creamer, said the science of climate change is now widely known and council needs to acknowledge the seriousness of the climate crisis.
Patrick Rudd, School Strike 4 Climate representative in Port Macquarie, said he wanted council to follow the lead of hundreds of councils across Australia and declare a climate emergency.
"Young people have the most to lose when it comes to the climate crisis, and we want to see council step up and do its part in tackling global warming. That starts by calling it what it is, a climate emergency", he said.
In 2019 Local Government NSW 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.
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