Council is developing a Draft Climate Change Policy that will meet the NSW State Climate Change Policy direction to achieve a net-zero emissions by 2050.
The Policy will be a framework for Council to undertake key actions on climate change, as well as implement community initiatives for climate mitigation, adaptation and resilience.
Mayor, Jane Smith, said she was pleased that Council was continuing to develop a policy with targets consistent with the State Government Policy on Climate Change, and an action plan to mitigate and adapt to the real effects of climate change.
“We need to be responsible and stand up for our way of life on the Coast and protect it for generations to come,” Mayor Smith said.
“We need real actions and I am looking forward to seeing the Policy and engaging with our community on the best way forward.”
Clr Troy Marquart attempted to move an amendment in relation to the development of the draft policy at the July 23 Council meeting, to ensure the draft policy would be “based upon a defensive adaptation score”.
“Any actual action will be timed so any required reaction will be implemented only when required to accommodate increased risk in a particular area,” Marquart’s amendment proposed.
Finally, the proposed amendment said: “The draft Climate Change Policy will not consider or include planned retreat, management realignment, time limited development consent or any similar actions.”
In speaking to his amendment, Marquart said: “I don’t think it is any secret that Clr Greenaway was talking about myself when she was speaking about climate denialists.
“I do doubt some of the science based around some real scare tactics.
“I know some of the things that have been said in the past have not eventuated, we’ve got desalination plants mothballed because of remarks made by Professor Tim Flannery.
“Let’s not put on the rate payers of the Central Coast that they are going to have to rip their house down because of a couple of high tides,” he said.
He said some responses to the threat of climate change were “akin to doing heart surgery on a blow fly”.
The amendment was defeated via the Mayor’s casting vote and the motion was then debated.
Clr Rebecca Gale Collins said: “As a climate change sceptic, I oppose the motion, I do not want residents paying absurdly high premiums.”
Clr Jeff Sundstrom, asking a question to staff, said: “The correct time for debate on this subject is not at the moment when we have got a motion to receive a report, but when the report comes back, would that be correct?”
CEO Gary Murphy said: “You may debate the motion that is there which is about noting the deferred item and receiving the report.”
He said, going further would be “trying to shape the policy that will be coming back to you.
“I agree with you that the time for council to adopt the policy is not now.”
In closing, Mayor Smith, who again had to use her casting vote to get the resolution through, said: “I support the view that we haven’t even got a draft policy to debate, so I will look forward to hearing a range of views when we do have a policy.
“It is well documented that we have responsibilities to do risk management, climate change is real, that is without a doubt,” she said.
Media release, Jul 23
Central Coast Council media
Agenda item 4.2, Jul 23
Central Coast Council ordinary meeting
Jackie Pearson, journalist