Presentation: Allan Rees on the Rural Land Strategy Aug 28th 2018

Allan Rees 350 Eurobodalla Address to Council on Agenda item 11 28 August 2018

I represent 350 Eurobodalla, our local climate action group. Addressing the Rural Lands Planning Proposal, we ask councillors to vote against the proposal.

First the good news. The Council has made tremendous progress in reducing emissions, reaching the emissions target for 2020 two years ahead of schedule. Council is to be congratulated and we note that cost savings of over $1 million per year from this policy are a great result.

Reduction of pollution, smart use of energy and installation of solar panels has achieved this. Eurobodalla is getting on with the job while the Federal Government is unable to achieve a climate policy or an energy policy.

We expect that, in the near future, there will be a climate and energy plan that reduces emissions and brings down prices.

And the bad news. The Rural Lands Planning Proposal should not be endorsed without fundamental changes. You will hear some of the other areas of concern from other speakers.

350 Eurobodalla is greatly concerned at the increasing chaos coming with climate change. We have serious bush fires while still in winter, we have a severe drought, we have two years of bleaching of the Great Barrier Reef corals and the sea temperatures on our coast are going up and up.

To combat climate change and draw down carbon from the atmosphere we need to be planting and growing more forests than we are harvesting or clearing.

Private land owners should be paid for the carbon they are storing and removing from the atmosphere. Mature forests continue to sequester more carbon over time.

There is so much carbon in Eurobodalla forests that could be cleared as a result of the Rural Lands Strategy. We provided some estimates in our submission and could do further work now that we have the Community Emissions Profile report. The report did not cover agriculture, land use and forestry and these should be added in future reports to give us an accurate picture of the shire’s total emissions.

Council says that the NSW government controls land clearing. But the reduction of lot sizes in heavily forested areas will result in more homes and thus more clearing.

The Rural Fire Service has highlighted the need to avoid smaller lots resulting in new houses in steep, heavily timbered land with limited access. Why won’t the council accept their advice and not reduce lot sizes in those locations?

350 Eurobodalla asks Council to withdraw this Proposal.