By Michael Giles
SO MUCH hysteria exists around Climate Change at the moment that if a popular vote was taken to commit $200,000 of ratepayers’ money to the development of a Climate Change Action Plan for the Bass Coast Shire, for 2020-2030, it’s likely it would get majority support.
But the reality is, most of that $200,000 will be wasted writing yet another “dust-collector”.
Sure, you’ve got to have a plan if you are going to take action.
But wouldn’t it be better to take some real action on climate change, and use that $200,000 to plant, say, a million trees around the shire!
How much better for the environment would it be to plant more trees than to have a posse of highly-paid consultants beavering away on yet another glossy report? That’s not action.
The fact is though, that the Bass Coast Shire simply does not have enough money to deliver even the basics required by the municipality’s residents, including the likes of a pedestrian footpath in busy Powlett Street, Inverloch.
And having made good fellows of themselves, by putting their hands up to vote in favour of declaring a Climate Change Emergency at the August 21 council meeting, in front of a packed, vocal gallery of Climate Change activists; Messrs Le Serve, Rothfield, Tessari, Fullarton, Whelan, Ellis and Kent might like to take the opportunity of Cr Les Larke’s ‘Notice of Rescission’ this Wednesday to think again.
What are the shire’s ‘top 100’ unfunded priorities at the moment?
Where does writing an action plan on climate change sit inside that list?
Is it even the job of a local council to be writing a policy for the community on climate change?
Certainly, the shire should be taking action, where possible, to reduce its own power consumption and to achieve a cleaner, greener operation while lobbying government for funding to tackle coastal erosion and even to deliver a local climate change education program.
But you can’t expect a seriously under-funded organisation like the Bass Coast Shire to divert funds away from the basics in community services and community safety.
The community itself should be developing its own plan for action on climate change and using online fundraising sites, like GoFundMe, to get supporters to put their money where their mouth is.
Failing that, it’s the Federal and State Government which should be coming to the party.