I’m having trouble understanding how Rod Gallagher thinks democracy was undermined by the Bass Coast Council (Letters, October 29, ‘Record our footprint?’).
At the August council meeting, a petition was tabled, signed by over 1000 people, demanding the council declare a climate emergency.
As per accepted process, this petition was left to ‘lay on the table’ while the relevant council officers prepared a report on the ramifications of the petition.
Later in the same meeting, Cr Whelan put a motion, which included a referral to a climate emergency and proposed the adoption of an emissions target for the shire. That motion was won seven (for) to two (abstentions).
At the September council meeting the officers’ report on the petition with recommendations was tabled and discussed. A formal motion was passed, declaring a Climate Emergency and preparation of a Climate Change Action Plan 2020-2030.
At both the August and September meetings, Cr Les Larke tried his best to stymie council decisions using foreshadowed rescission motions.
The spirit of these motions smacked of a bloody-minded refusal to accept defeat. Ultimately, at the October meeting, his motion lapsed for want of a seconder. All proper process.
How can Rod Gallagher know whether the petition’s signatories were ‘unrepresentative climate change and extinction extremists’? Did he do background checks on each individual who signed?
Perhaps many who signed were citizens concerned about their children’s and grandchildren’s future or about the health and wellbeing of older or disabled family members, who could be vulnerable to increasing frequency of heatwaves.
Maybe some are business owners, farmers and others concerned about increasing climate uncertainty and its shorter term impacts on their businesses.
Personally, I’m concerned about the future of the planet itself and its current and future inhabitants.
However, since I’ve been categorised thus, I’m thinking maybe I’ll have a business card printed: Maddy Harford, Climate Change Extremist!
As Mr Gallagher wonders: “What now?” What does the declaration mean for us all?
If council operations were to be dependent on consultation with the community on every decision, I surely don’t have to spell out the chaos that would ensue.
From my point of view as a ratepayer, the council has demonstrated leadership in taking a decision on an important environmental issue.
It has also committed to consulting the community as it develops a plan, to mitigate through emissions reductions and adapt to inevitable and worsening impacts.
The remainder of Mr Gallagher’s letter is pure fearmongering.
He would have us believe we live in a Command and Control economy and that Bass Coast Climate Action Network (BCCAN) is some kind of Machiavellian group out to ride roughshod over the community.
Mr Gallagher’s last suggestion, of a broadly representative community climate action committee, is his only sensible comment and one worth taking up.
Maddy Harford, West Creek.