Liberal Cr, Troy Marquart, led the opposition to the Climate Emergency Declaration at Central Coast Council’s August 26 meeting.
“What’s the emergency?” he asked, when he grilled one of the speakers in the public forum, Greg Olsen.
Olsen said the evidence was visible: high temperatures, bushfires, water issues, drought, bleaching of coral.
“We don’t have coral here,” Cr Marquart said and was asked by the Mayor not to interrupt the speaker.
Cr Marquart then asked about lower emissions food.
“Don’t eat as much beef,’’ Olsen said, “Eat more vegetables.”
“And why would we ban gas?” asked Cr Marquart.
“It was a huge emitter of CO2 emissions,’’ Olsen said.
“So the gas industry has to go as well,” Cr Marquart said.
He also questioned the next speaker, who introduced herself as Donna, asking her if she was a member of the community group, Extinction Rebellion, and she said she was.
Later in the evening, when the council meeting was held, Cr Marquart spoke against the declaration which had been put forward by Cr Kyle MacGregor and calling supporters part of the “great unwashed”.
Cr Marquart offered an alternative motion: that council rule out consideration of planned retreat, managed realignment or time limited development consent in any form due to negative impact of such policies to more than 20,000 properties in the Local Government Area.
He said the original motion wanted to “turn us all into vegans”.
He started with asking questions about emissions that council pumped out and a staff member, Ricardo Martello, Executive Manager, Innovation and Futures, said that information was given on July 22 at a meeting that Cr Marquart did not attend.
He then spoke to the motion, saying the word emergency was very emotive, like the whole subject seemed to be.
“The author of this particular motion spoke for three minutes and some seconds, but we didn’t hear once what the emergency is and I also asked an earlier speaker to please articulate something for the old couple at the foreshore of Ettalong, something tangible, something textile they could touch; ok the sky is going to fall in, ok, the sea is going to come up past my letterbox, then they know what they are dealing with.
“That’s an emergency, but in three minutes and 19 seconds we heard about how the Warnervale Employment Centre is going to have all this new greens, it sounded like Julia Gillard, all these green jobs, we’re going to be putting paths around duck ponds, basket weaving.
“It didn’t mention once what the emergency is.
“Are the seas going to rise? If seas are going to rise tomorrow, then let’s start doing something about planned retreat because we are going to have to look at compensation for people here on the coast.
“What is the emergency?
“What is the responsibility to Council when the great unwashed of the Extinction Rebellion come here and start to glue themselves to Mann St Gosford like they did in Brisbane.
“I was on my way to a meeting in the entertainment centre the second time they did it this year and so instead of being a 20 minute drive from the airport it took me about four hours.
“Because a bunch of climate change nut cases decided to superglue….”
The Mayor cut in, asked him to moderate his language and be respectful in his debate.
“Thank you, Madam Mayor, some very confused Extinction Rebellion individuals decided to glue themselves to a road and affect the whole world.
“At least they could articulate we don’t like Adani, they should have went a bit further north to do it but they wanted to create massive issues in Brisbane.
“If we are going to have that in Mann St, Gosford, at least have the bottle, at least have the mettle, to tell people what the emergency is, otherwise pull off the socialist head and pop on a pumpkin because there is no point, it is absolutely embarrassing, the word emergency, there is serious things in the pdf that was forwarded through, talking about world war two and Hitler and the Nazis within this pdf that was sent to us.
“That should not be equated with this issue here, we should not be so emotive, we should not be using the word emergency.
“This council has done more than enough, we should not be chasing other councillors to say we’ve done the same, socialist comrade.
“This is not what the people on the Central Coast need, this is not what is going to benefit the people on the Central Coast.”
Cr Marquart then spoke about three councillors, Jilly Pilon, Rebecca Gale Collins and Bruce McLachlan, who had excused themselves from the debate, citing pecuniary interest considerations.
“That’s why we have councillors out there, because anyone who has worked hard and owned a house is going to have increased premiums from this folly.’’
His motion was lost with only Crs Chris Burke and Greg Best supporting him.
Cr MacGregor closed debate on his original motion and it was passed with only Crs Marquart, Burke and Best voting against it.
Meeting, Aug 26
Central Coast Council
Agenda Item 8.2
Journalist, Merilyn Vale