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Enough is enough: Flood affected mayors and councillors call for more support

THIRTY-ONE mayors and councillors from some of the nation’s most flood damaged regions have called on the government to do more to protect communities from tragic and costly extreme weather. Mayors and councillors from Lismore in New South Wales to Logan in Queensland, released a joint statement responding to one of the worst extreme weather disasters in the nation’s history, calling for urgent action to protect their communities from worsening climate change. The statement is calling on the federal government to:

  • Lead the country in delivering on an ambitious emissions reduction target this decade, in partnership with state and local governments, to respond to accelerating climate change at the scale and pace required.

  • Increase funding sources to councils for responding to climate impacts, and cutting greenhouse gas emissions, including providing a minimum of $200 million a year in the form of a disaster mitigation fund and an additional $200 million over four years for a local government climate response partnership.

  • Invest in preparing before climate disasters strike and take responsibility for coordination of climate impact responses to ensure consistency and clearly delineated responsibilities between different levels of government.

  • Ensure all disaster response funding extends to all damaged assets and incorporates the principle of “betterment” to allow cities and communities to be rebuilt in a way that takes into account the inevitable future changes in climate and makes them more resilient.

  • Establish a national body, or expand the remit of an existing one, to support research on adaptation and act as a centralised hub for up-to-date climate change information.

Elly Bird, Councillor, Lismore City Council said, “If we’re to learn a lesson from the catastrophic flooding that we are now seeing happen in Australia every few years, it’s that we are severely underprepared for catastrophic events like this one. We urgently need to address the root cause of the heightened storm threat – climate change. “Local governments, like Lismore City Council, have been trying to work together with our communities to take action against climate change and build resilience. But we need more support and we need it urgently. “That’s why I’ve joined 31 other mayors and Councillors from Logan City Council in Queensland through to Eurobodalla Shire Council in New South Wales to call on our Federal leaders to immediately step up and reduce the climate impacts that put our communities in the firing line. “Now is the time for our Government to lead the country in delivering on an ambitious emissions reduction target this decade to protect communities like ours from the future climate shocks that we know are coming and that we are living every single day.” Dr Portia Odell, director of the Cities Power Partnership, Australia’s largest network of local governments taking action on climate change said, “Local governments were on the frontlines of climate impacts and needed more support. “We can no longer leave councils and their communities alone and with little access to essential services, and expect them to spend millions to fix the damages of delayed climate action,” said Dr Odell. “We know that local governments lack the adequate funding and support they need to rebuild their communities in a way that strengthens resilience and takes into account the increasing climate risks. Councils are already working hard to slash emissions locally and prepare their communities for the mounting climate impacts, yet support from the federal government is sparse. “The Federal Government must step up to protect communities from catastrophic climate shocks.” Full Statement from Australian Mayors and Councillors Full list of signatories: New South Wales Cr Darriea Turley AM, President, Local Government NSW Dominic King, Councillor, Bellingen Shire Council Michael Lyon, Mayor, Byron Shire Council Mark Greenhill OAM, Mayor, Blue Mountains City Council Alison Worthington, Councillor, Eurobodalla Shire Council Amanda Kotlash, Councillor, Hawkesbury City Council Neil Reilly, Mayor Kiama, Municipal Council Elly Bird, Councillor Lismore, City Council Claire Pontin, Mayor, Midcoast Council Nuatali Nelmes, Lord Mayor, City of Newcastle Chris Homer, Mayor, Shellharbour City Council Amanda Findley, Mayor, Shoalhaven City Council Clover Moore, Lord Mayor, City of Sydney Jerome Laxale, Councillor, City of Ryde Penelope Pederson, Councillor, City of Ryde Chris Cherry, Mayor, Tweed Shire Council Gordon Bradbery AM, Lord Mayor Wollongong City Council Queensland Adrian Schrinner, Lord Mayor, Brisbane City Council Darren Power, Mayor, Logan City Council Brian Stockwell, Councillor, Noosa Shire Council Tasmania Anna Reynolds, Lord Mayor, City of Hobart Victoria Sally Capp, Lord Mayor, City of Melbourne Mark Riley, Mayor, Moreland City Council Lina Messina, Mayor, City of Darebin Peter Maynard, Mayor, Wyndham City Council Sophie Wade, Mayor, Yarra City Council Amanda Stone, Councillor, Yarra City Council South Australia Sandy Verschoor, Lord Mayor, City of Adelaide Karen Redman, Mayor, Town of Gawler Ann Ferguson, Mayor, Mount Barker District Council Michael Coxon, Mayor, City of West Torrens Michael Hewitson AM, Mayor City of Unley Local Government networks Better Futures Australia Cities Power Partnership Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy ICLEI Oceania – Local Governments for Sustainability