Presentation to Public Frum March 8th 2022 by The Southcoast Health and Sustainability Alliance (SHASA) Item: Eurobodalla Climate Action Plan 2022-2023
Thank you for the opportunity to speak on the draft Eurobodalla Climate Action Plan 2022-2023.
The Southcoast Health and Sustainability Alliance (SHASA) would like to thank Council staff for engaging with us in the development of the draft plan, in particular Aaron Atteridge and Heidi Thomson.
The plan represents a very positive change from the current Council’s Emission Reduction Plan. Firstly it has shifted from solely focussing on Council operations to addressing the broader community. Secondly, it is not only dealing with measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions but also measures to adapt to the growing impacts of a rapidly warming climate.
The draft states that available funding and resources will influence and impact the plan’s implementation. SHASA’s budget submission to ESC addresses this very issue. SHASA recommends the establishment of a new budget line - emergency recovery/community resilience with an allocation of 2.5% of the total Council budget and an increase in the environmental management budget from 2.2% to 3% of the total Council budget. Funds would be reallocated from transport and recreational services that together currently receive 55% of the total Council budget.
SHASA believes that the plan needs an additional objective:
“Work collaboratively with the community to implement the plan”
There are a number of excellent actions in the draft plan which would be enhanced by strengthening the language of the actions from “may” to “will” and the addition of the following:
Electricity Supply and Use
1.3 Amend to “Investigate where battery storage can be integrated with solar assets”.
1.7. New action “Extend Council’s water efficient appliance rebates to energy efficient appliances for Eurobodalla residents”.
3.7 New action “Implement street tree policy to require new developments to include shade trees along streets and help guide tree plantings along older suburban streets”.
3.8 New action ”Plan for sea level rise/riverine flooding in all new developments”.
3.9 New action Planning new developments to avoid placing people in locations vulnerable to climate change driven weather events.
3.10. N32 Action Provide access to safe walking spaces, storm water management and green spaces for all residents. Allow some appropriate multiple level development as
compensation for permanently protecting green spaces for all.)
3.11 New action “Reintroduce the rebate for retrofitting rainwater tanks to existing Eurobodalla residences”.
2.3 Amend to “Develop a network of shared paths linking towns across the Eurobodalla to an appropriate standard for use by pedestrians, cyclists and people using mobility scooters.”
This is the area which needs significant strengthening.
4.1 Flaring methane is not the best solution. “Council to invest in technology to generate electricity at the tips instead of flaring off methane.”
4.2 Add “..including residential food organics recycling”.
4.4 Add “Develop a new enclosed, professional tip shop at Surf Beach to increase the reuse of materials”.
4.5 Add “Regularly audit compliance with appropriate usage of the residential yellow and green bins to reduce contamination to educate and encourage correct use of bins and minimise spoil. Share the results with ratepayers”
4.6 Add “Free disposal of green waste at Council tips to reduce fuel load for more intense fire seasons”.
Ecosystems and biodiversity
6.2 Add “Include revitalisation of the Significant Tree Register Program”.
Intact and regenerating Council owned native bushland should be preserved as valuable stores of carbon.
6.4 New. Strengthen support for the largest trees that capture and store the maximum carbon possible, and also assist in management of excess rainfall) by requiring new housing development to retain all significant trees
New action (before 6.7): “Council to advocate to NSW Government for an end to public native forest logging in accordance with the evidence that logged forests are more fire prone than old growth and that dry logging debris is responsible for starting fires due to lightning strikes.”
Agriculture and livestock
New action 7.3 “Collaborate with community groups like SAGE Inc. to continue to grow our local food economy, and work towards increasing food security for the Eurobodalla.”
9.7 Add “In collaboration with the community, continue to develop a network of heatwave and bushfire havens across the Eurobodalla, utilising NSW Government grant funding.”
Adaptive responsive Council
10.4 Amend to “Divest Council’s investment portfolio from fossil fuel funds”. Many Councils have already fully divested of fossil fuel investments.
10.7 Add “Work closely with the community on adaptive and responsive actions”.
10.8 Add “Establish a Climate Action Advisory Committee comprising expertise from the local community to advise Council.”
The extreme weather events of the last 3 years in the Eurobodalla demonstrate that we can't keep going the way we are going. All of us need to take bold, decisive action on climate mitigation by reducing emissions and climate adaptation by taking measures to better deal with a rapidly warming climate.
The Council will be planning to manage and adapt to more regular what were once in a lifetime events. The increased and accelerating pace of climate change makes it unlikely that we'll return to what we took for granted as normal only twenty years ago. We are moving out of stability into permanent instability. This means long lived assets will need to be engineered for multiple phase changes to deal with very different climates. This is a new way of thinking for most of us, including engineers.
So what could climate change leadership look like?
If we look back on today in ten years time, I hope it will be the beginning of an exemplary period of climate action that will place Eurobodalla at the forefront for adaptation, preparation and equity. It's time to pivot to new ways of doing, whilst leaving nobody behind.
SHASA President on behalf of the SHASA Community.