Council declare climate emergency

Cardinia residents gathered at a screening of a climate change documentary. Picture: SECAN

By Mitchell Clarke

Cardinia Shire Council has joined a growing list of other councils by declaring a climate emergency.

Councillor Michael Schilling moved the motion to enhance council’s already “progressive” climate change targets by calling for funding to a climate action plan in the 2020-21 budget cycle, with a focus on climate change adaptation and mitigation.

“You don’t have to delve far into the literature to see the dramatic impact climate change is having both locally and globally,” Cr Schilling said.

Gaining the support of his fellow councillors, Cr Schilling’s action plan is set to come at a cost of approximately $40,000 and will work towards creating measurable outcomes and actions to help the community respond to extreme weather events like fire and floods which are prominent in Cardinia due to the diverse landscape.

“We know we are prone to these extreme weather events,” he said.

“We need to be able to look in the eyes of our families, friends and communities and say as councillors we did our best to protect our future. Ensuring a safe climate is everyone’s business.”

The South East Climate Action Network (SECAN) welcomed the announcement after 75 residents attended a public screening of the award winning documentary ‘2040’ on Friday 13 September.

The documentary highlights the journey of filmmaker Damon Gameau as he travels the world to search for new approaches and solutions to global warming.

“There’s huge community support for Cardinia Shire Council to acknowledge the climate crisis, and act urgently to protect our future,” SECAN co-founder Jamie Longmuir said.

“This is the first step. Now our community and council need to work together to urgently address the climate crisis.”

But not everyone is on board, claiming it’s not an issue for council to tackle, rather they should stick to “repairing roads and collecting rates”.

“Some might say our advocacy on this issue is only a small drop in the ocean and won’t result in any net change,” Cr Schilling said.

“I would argue the benefits of collective advocacy across government, not-for-profit and private industry will be instrumental in ensuring we’re able to lobby for effective climate action.”