28 March 2022

Communities 'bear brunt' of climate disasters, councillors across Australia call for federal action

| Albert McKnight
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Smiling oman with hands in pockets in front of lake

Eurobodalla Shire’s Deputy Mayor Alison Worthington is calling on the federal government to take action to protect communities from extreme weather. Photo: G Tedder.

Communities like the Eurobodalla have been hard-hit by natural disasters and local government leaders across the nation are now demanding that the federal government should take action.

Thirty-one mayors and councillors across Australia, including from some of the country’s most flood-damaged regions, have joined up to call on the federal government to do more to protect communities from tragic and costly extreme weather.

“It’s a pretty clear call to action for the federal government that communities are bearing the brunt of the impacts of climate,” Eurobodalla Shire Council’s Deputy Mayor Alison Worthington said.

“We’re asking the federal government to seriously address the root cause of climate change by rapidly cutting emissions this decade.”

Communities have experienced “natural disaster after natural disaster” she said, which cost millions of dollars to clean up.

Cr Worthington said the Eurobodalla had just gotten through the drought only to be hit by the full impact of the Black Summer bushfires in 2019/20.

The shire has recently experienced its 10th natural disaster since those tragic fires – the recent flooding.

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Not only were there impacts like road closures, effects to businesses, the economy, health and safety, but also compounding effects from all the disasters, Cr Worthington said.

“This is a really present and serious danger to people in the Eurobodalla and people over wider Australia,” she said.

The 31 local government representatives are calling on the Federal Government to take such action as leading the country in delivering an ambitious emissions reduction target this decade in partnership with state and local governments, as well as increasing funding sources to councils for responding to climate impacts.

Also, the councillors want the government to invest in preparing before climate disasters strike and take responsibility for coordination of climate impact responses.

Cr Worthington said she wanted to see better coordination among different levels of government.

“We shouldn’t be left wondering after the next natural disaster, oh who is supposed to be here fixing this?” she said.

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The director of the Cities Power Partnership, which is Australia’s largest network of local governments taking action on climate change, Dr Portia Odell said local governments were on the frontlines of climate impacts and needed more support.

“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,” Dr Odell said.

“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.”

On Wednesday (23 March) Prime Minister Scott Morrison said his government was investing $1.7 billion for the rebuilding from the floods in NSW as well as more than $500 million in Queensland.

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Creature Comforts on the Coast2:18 pm 29 Mar 22

Cease putting the cart before the horse. Stop developers making their millions by building on foreshores on the coast; buy back the properties that are within 1km of a foreshore and develop parks and green spaces that everyone can enjoy, not just the people that can afford to pay millions for their water views. Then put in strategic fire breaks in between developments. Work out the fire and flood stategies prior to approving development and get rid of the corruption surrounding us in this day and age. It is pitiful.

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