Port Macquarie-Hastings council takes steps forward on Sustainability Strategy and climate change report

Action on climate change was a message pushed by majority of speakers at the Port Macquarie-Hastings Council meeting on Wednesday, December 11.

In response to growing community concern, council approved the development of a Sustainability Strategy as part of the draft 2020-2021 Operational Plan.

Council’s general manager Craig Swift-McNair is also set to provide a report to the April 2020 Ordinary Council Meeting, detailing general climate change information and predicted risks and opportunities.

The report will include information from reputable sources, such as but not limited to CSIRO, NASA and council’s insurers.

Resident Rachel Sheppard addressed councillors at the meeting and said she fully supports council in developing a strategy that includes action, is appropriately resourced and where progress is monitored and reported on.

However, she said sustainability is not a term that captures the nature of climate change and the specific risks it poses to our community’s economy or safety.

However Ms Sheppard said the report to be provided by the general manager is an exciting development.

She said the report should set the scene for a climate emergency declaration.

Community members Olivia Woollard, David Smith and Harry Creamer addressed councillors to bring attention to climate change and to call for a climate emergency.

Herons Creek resident Olivia Woollard said she is an activist, environmentalist and also a mother.

Olivia was “baffled” as to why councillors have not declared a climate emergency, despite having all the information they need at hand.

Resident David Smith addressed counciillors and said his intention was to give facts and evidence to outline why responsibility falls to local council to declare a climate emergency.

Mr Smith outlined there have been unprecedented floods in Queensland, fires in Tasmania, and the Great Barrier Reef is ailing.

Mr Smith said things will get worse whatever people do and individuals can only do so much.

Cr Intemann asked Mr Smith if he would be willing to contribute information to council as it develops a strategy in this area. Mr Smith accepted the task.

Resident Harry Creamer said Port Macquarie’s climate is too good to lose but we are losing it.

Mr Creamer called on council to put the plans for population growth and housing developments on hold.

Mr Creamer said no one wants to run out of water and a campaign targeting litres, per person per day is now needed.

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