Andrew Constance: The next green Premier of NSW?

The ABC reports Premier Gladys Berejiklian has admitted to the Independent Commission Against Corruption that she was was in a close personal relationship with former Wagga Wagga MP Daryl Maguire. The fallout, depending on how the mainstream media care to hand down their verdict, might see Deputy Premier John Barilaro return from his leave to take control or bring a new Premier to the surface from the Liberal Party. At 12:00am this morning the Sydney Morning Herald offered up their support of Andrew Constance with the article 'We’re bloody lucky we didn’t bury thousands of people': Constance's new climate pledge" The article said "In the immediate aftermath of last season's bushfires, Mr Constance gave a number of emotional interviews and criticised the Morrison government's response. However, he steered clear of linking climate change to the severity of the event." The article continues "Now, though, Mr Constance is prepared to make that call: "Certainly it was my first experience of a global event that had a raft of causes but the predominant one was climate change." This stance might now force Eurobodalla Council Mayor Liz Innes and her voting block to finally accept the term "Climate Change" rather than their preferred, watered down "variable and changing climate" that warranted no action. 350 Eurobodalla have said today that they welcome Andrew Constance’s statement that "Certainly it was my first experience of a global event that had a raft of causes but the predominant one was climate change."

A spokesperson for 350 Eurobodalla told The Beagle "We are glad that Mr Constance said that "I’m going to dedicate the rest of my life to making sure this doesn’t happen again."

"We now need a plan for NSW to achieve the government’s goal of net zero emissions by 2050.  The government also needs to look after the communities which now rely on coal, gas or logging native forests. Mr Constance’s proposals to electrify transport and generate local power are useful, but a full plan to get to zero emissions is needed." The opportunity for the community to engage at a local level with initiatives and solutions might once again come to fruition if the majority of Eurobodalla councillors finally recognise they are left as the last "odd ones out" by their continued refusal to embrace the term "Climate Change". At the August 13th 2019 Eurobodalla Council meeting Councillor Pat McGinlay sought to have the Climate Change recognised by his fellow councillors. A simple task to recognise Climate Change, ensure mindfulness of Climate Change where able within the Shire, and to open up opportunities to engage, inform and include the community in solutions. Prior to debate there were informed, engaged speakers during Public Forum who contributed their concerns. Sadly due to the council's determination to no longer live stream, video record or archive Public Forum the only way to hear the presentations, the questions and responses was to be present. Fortunately 120 members of the community did just that packing the chambers to overflowing. Councillors first heard from Kaeleigh Peard, an eleven year old student from Sunshine Bay Public School, next came Dr Michelle Hamrosi, Alison Waterford of SHASA and Catherine Reilly of SAGE. It can not go unmentioned that following the exceptional presentation by Year 6 student Kaeleigh Peard, delivered succinctly, precisely and passionately the gallery erupted into applause. Most disappointingly however the Mayor turned something so refreshing, so brave and pure, into a sourness that brought the wrath of the gallery when she asked them to desist from applauding speakers, suggesting that to allow clapping would also see her having to allow booing and jeering. It was clear from the loud boos and jeers she received for this ruling that she was 'way out of order' with those in the gallery mumbling "if she can't differentiate between appropriate response and inappropriate response she should not be in the Chair". "For some of you, the motions may not represent the ideology of the political party you align yourself with. To this we ask you to reflect on the oath or affirmation you took when you were elected, which said in part, that YOU WILL ACT IN THE BEST INTEREST OF THE LOCAL COMMUNITY AND IMPARTIALLY CARRY OUT YOUR FUNCTIONS. In addition, the Local Government Act requires you to CONSIDER THE LONG TERM AND CUMULATIVE EFFECTS OF YOUR DECISIONS ON FUTURE GENERATIONS ...... "We suggest that when you make your decision on this matter, you should consider the COMMUNITY RESPONSE AS REFLECTING STRONG SUPPORT for all three motions." So.Councillors, did you uphold your oath? Cath Reilly of SAGE to Eurobodalla Councillors Aug 13th 2019 Following a half hour break between Public Forum and the Council meeting the councillors returned to debate the Notice of Motion and sadly, it all came to little as the Motions of Councillor McGinlay fell one by one to the vote of Clrs Innes, Pollock, Constable and Tait. It was clear from the start that Councillor McGinlay's Notice of Motion was going to fail as the numbers were stacked against him. With Councillors Brown and Nathan absent this left only McGinlay and Mayne to support the motions against the counter debate offered by Pollock, Constable, Tait and Innes with Clr James Thomson an unknown. Even with the support of Clr Thomson on the first issue of at least recognising Climate Change their three votes combined were defeated by Innes and her three other cohorts who were hell bent on ensuring the words climate change were not included in any motion adopted. In an obviously orchestrated move, the Innes team came to the chamber with two prepared alternate motions and knowing they had the vote numbers they managed to sabotage the day by adopting their own two motions. The amended motions were little but 'Business as Usual' and managed to do little but "blow smoke up their own arse offering nothing new to give the community any hint that they give a damn", as observed by one long time Council observer who said the motions adopted sought only to state what Council has done for themselves rather than indicate any intention to extend their actions to include the wider community in terms of advocacy, education or inclusion. The general feel by those who witnessed what unfolded that day was that "Council is in a total disconnect with its community and does not have the capacity to listen to it, to respect it, nor to engage with it other than in a cold, indifferent way that inevitably and embarrassingly ignores it." "To see an eleven year old girl present to Council today and have not a single question asked is a disappointment and to see the Mayor close down applause for an eleven year old and tell the gallery they were not allowed to applaud speakers shows she has lost control". In defiance the gallery continued to challenge the Mayor's self-created ruling by applauding the other Public Forum speakers and also going on to applaud the debate elements offered by Councillor McGinlay and Councillor Mayne. Today, October 12th 2020 the Member for Bega told the SMH "With climate change, we tend to look up at the atmosphere but we need to look at our vegetation, our soils and our water catchments." This response will come as a refreshing surprise to the many local groups who have tried to advise their local member of breaches by Forest Corp, of the needless decimation of local forests to prop up a fiscally failing industry and the impact that such forestry has to exacerbating bushfire risk and compromising water catchments.

Above: July 23rd, 2020 Brooman Forest had revealed serious alleged breaches of the rules that govern native forestry operations, in relation to the protection of trees that must be permanently retained. EPA advised “Officers allegedly found 26 hollow bearing trees that were either felled or damaged, with many of these trees also not identified and mapped in the planning phase. “This area is known to be home to several threatened species that use hollow bearing trees. The Yellow-bellied Glider, the Glossy-Black Cockatoo and the Powerful, Masked and Sooty Owls are all listed as vulnerable species and may use hollow bearing trees for habitat".

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