By Mitchell Clarke
An Emerald couple have launched a petition urging Cardinia Shire Council to endorse an international campaign which forbids all activities relating to nuclear weapons.
The petition, which received 180 signatures from local residents, was brought to the attention of councillors during the 18 May general council meeting.
On behalf of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), the petition requested that Cardinia Shire join other cities in expressing support for the prohibition and elimination of nuclear weapons.
The ICAN Cities Appeal aims to promote initiatives that municipalities can take to stand up against nuclear weapons and explore measures which promote nuclear disarmament.
“We request that council endorse the ICAN Cities Appeal urging the Australian Government to sign and ratify the Treaty,” the petition read.
“We further request that council communicate its endorsement to the Prime Minister, Foreign and Defence Ministers, the Leader of the Opposition, shadow foreign and defence ministers, and leaders of all political parties represented in the Australian Parliament.”
The petition also suggested that the Shire weren’t using council funds to support companies which produced nuclear weapons.
According to research compiled by council officers, no investments or dealings had been made with any companies that held investments in nuclear weapons.
“This is a positive thing from our point of view as an organisation,” Central Ward councillor Michael Schilling said.
Both Cr Schilling and Ranges Ward councillor Leticia Wilmot highlighted the hard work of the petitioners, stating they were “good people” who should be commended for their quest.
In terms of endorsing the petition, Cardinia Shire Council decided to instead refer the matter on to local state and federal MPs.
“We did have a discussion about this as a council group and at this point in time, there wasn’t support to take further action, particularly with some of the big challenges that council is facing at the moment,” Cr Schilling explained.
“As a council, we don’t have a policy standing on this, so the right thing to do is to acknowledge the hard work they have put in to gain these signatures, acknowledge these signatures and thank them for being passionate about this cause,” Cr Wilmot added.
“I think it’s a very noble cause and one that all of humanity should be supporting.”