Scenic Rim Regional Council to speak up on climate change

ACTION: Councillors have voted to discuss releasing a statement on climate change after the 2020 election.
ACTION: Councillors have voted to discuss releasing a statement on climate change after the 2020 election.

SCENIC Rim Regional Council has agreed to discuss proceeding with a Climate Change Statement of Intent at council's first meeting in January 2020 but Business 4 Climate Action spokesman Innes Larkin said the time for discussion was decades ago.

Mayor Greg Christensen said that while council had been undertaking a wide range of activities that were already addressing climate related impacts, it was time for council to strengthen the guidance given to both council officers and to its communities, which will inform further responses to climate change.

"Given our shared responsibility to a community that holds wide and diverse perspectives, it will be imperative that this guidance is based on science and provides a platform for unifying the efforts across our region to secure a sustainable future," said Cr Christensen.

Once developed, Cr Christensen said a Climate Change Statement of Intent would need to be read in conjunction with the Scenic Rim Community Plan 2011-2026 (revised 2018).

"Our Community Plan aims to ensure the long term economic, social and environmental sustainability of the region.

"In the 2018 review of this plan, Scenic Rim community and Council jointly confirmed that climate change and adaptation present a challenge, require an outcome and are priorities for attention to secure the best future for our region."

Councillors also unanimously supported a motion from Councillor O'Carroll, which acknowledged that climate change is a risk requiring council's prompt and ongoing focus and management as the goals and aspirations outlined in the Community Plan are fulfilled.

Cr Christensen said while the future presents many challenges, council is well placed to work together with local communities, businesses, industries and other levels of government in mitigating and adapting to climate change.

"It is our intent to rise to this challenge, ensuring our council plays a pivotal role in support of our unique and diverse region," he said.

Cr Christensen said it was expected following the 2020 local government elections that the newly elected council would progress with public consultation to inform a final version of the statement.

Business 4 Climate Action's Innes Larkin said he was encouraged that the mayor and Cr O'Carroll along with SRRC had acted on the deputation that B4CA Members Innes Larkin and Lisa Groom presented to council on November 12 regarding declaring a climate emergency.

"It is also encouraging that any guidance the SRRC develops will be based on the science, because that very science is saying we are in a climate crisis," he said.

However Mr Larkin said the time for statements of intent was 20 yrs ago.

"Now we need leadership, now we action, now we need all levels of government to step up," he said.

"To defer this action to a new SRRC elected next year is not appropriate and very disappointing."

Mr Larkin said Business 4 Climate Action looked forward to working with any level of government to provide meaningful action on the climate crisis unfolding.