Port Macquarie-Hastings Council has recognised and declared we are in a global climate emergency.
It comes after a long process with lobbying from individuals and community groups, a report to the October 2020 council meeting, a councillor briefing and a further report to the Wednesday, March 17 meeting.
Deputy mayor Lisa Intemann put forward a successful 12-point motion which included that council recognise and declare we are in a global climate emergency.
The council's chief executive officer will finalise a Sustainability Framework and work with the Sustainability Sub-Committee to develop and urgently finalise a Climate Change Policy, Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan.
The documents will include a comprehensive community communication and information plan.
Cr Intemann acknowledged the input from many community groups and individuals during the past 15 months, as well as council's "long action" in various aspects that go towards climate change adaptation and mitigation.
She also acknowledged the strong action taken by the state government but said federal coordination was absolutely needed.
"We need to take on board the enormity of this issue and all of us contribute our small part towards it," Cr Intemann said.
"By linking hands, by working together, we can in fact create a cleaner, healthier, more productive way of life for humanity in general and it is incumbent on this council to do its part towards it."
Cr Sharon Griffiths spoke against the motion, saying she didn't see the need to make statements when they should be looking at using council funds to deliver for the community.
Mayor Peta Pinson put forward the staff recommendation as an amendment which set out a range of proposed actions but stopped short of declaring a climate emergency.
Cr Pinson said there had been no declaration of a climate emergency at a federal level.
"We are the worker ants, the worker bees of government at this [local government] level, yet we are closest to the community and we listen to what our community says, but we don't selfishly do this at the detriment of what our core resolve is to do, which is to deliver to our community," she said.
The mayor said there was no significant accompanying commitment to the declaration of a climate emergency than the statement, and it was merely tokenistic.
Cr Pinson's amendment was lost.
Cr Peter Alley said climate change had such a proliferating impact across the whole community and the environment, and it was appropriate the council acted.
Cr Rob Turner said if we embraced the science, it pushed the politics aside.
He encouraged other levels of government to follow suit.
The mayor said she regretfully spoke against the motion but recognised it had some great points. Cr Pinson did not agree declaring a global climate emergency.
The council will include in its Climate Change Policy, Strategy and Plan actions to make representations to the local, state, federal and even global level seeking strong leadership in mitigating climate change impacts.
Crs Pinson and Griffiths voted against the 12-point motion, while Crs Hawkins, Alley, Intemann and Turner were in favour.
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