A LARGE crowd gathered on the steps of the Bass Coast Shire Council’s offices in Wonthaggi on Friday afternoon to urge the shire to declare a “climate emergency”.

Holding the “climate emergency” petition with hundreds of signatures, the group gathered to push the shire towards a pro-active climate change stance.

Bass Coast Climate Action Network (BCCAN) spokeswoman, Naomi Coleman, said it is time that the shire respected the vulnerable place “our community has in respect to climate change weather events”.

“We are seeing first-hand the strength of erosion on our beaches, the flooding in Cape Paterson; it’s time we acted,” said Naomi.

As Sydney and Melbourne City Councils have announced “climate emergencies”, protesters say it is only a matter of time before Bass Coast Shire follows suit.

The City of Melbourne passed the motion declaring a climate emergency after councillors unanimously agreed climate change and mass species extinction, “pose serious risks to the people of Melbourne and Australia.”

Naomi believes the Bass Coast Shire are acting according to the status quo, however, she is encouraging local government to take reductive measures.

“Action must be taken from grassroots levels, and for it to feed up through the three tiers of government.

“The Federal Government’s lack of action has been the catalyst for on-the-ground action.

“Bass Coast has an opportunity to lead the way because we’re going to see the brunt of severe weather.

“We need reductive measures for waste, pollution and green energy sourcing,” Naomi said.

Gaining support from around the community the petition has received hundreds of signatures and will be presented at the next council meeting on August 21.