Waverley Council declares a State of Climate and Biodiversity Emergency

11 December 2019

Waverley Council last night declared a State of Climate and Biodiversity Emergency that requests all levels of government to act now to protect our environment and community for future generations.

The unanimous motion of Council moved by Greens Councillor George Copeland states that with urgent collaborative action it is still possible to help prevent the most serious environmental, social and economic impacts.

Waverley Mayor, Paula Masselos, said the motion urges all other levels of government and Local Government NSW to declare a State of Climate and Biodiversity Emergency to show solidarity with over 900 governments worldwide.

Sydney’s air quality is the worst on record as a result of the devastating and frightening bush fires which continue to burn across the state,” Mayor Masselos said.

“Climate change has made conditions considerably worse by adding to the dry fuel load in our reserves, parks and bushland, and higher temperatures are accelerating transpiration and evaporation.

“With more than 80 fires currently burning across the state, our thoughts must turn to the people, communities, volunteers and others who are in the midst of these fires, and who are fighting them with bravery, grit and selflessness.

“I congratulate the many people and schools in our community who are raising money for the

Rural Fire Service and for the many communities affected by the fires.

“I therefore call on our political leaders to do more to urgently address climate change. I will be writing to the Prime Minister and to the NSW Premier to call on them to recognise this climate emergency and to act now before it is too late.”

The motion also declares that Council:

  • Calls on the Federal Government to put a direct price on carbon emissions and implement the just transition from coal mines, liquid natural gas and coal seam gas to renewable energy, and notes the Federal Government’s latest (2018) emissions data show we are increasing, not reducing, our carbon emissions.
  • Calls on the NSW Government to take immediate steps to amend the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979, and relevant State Environmental Planning Policies to ensure that all new development is required to meet the highest environmental standards, and funding sources are made available to local government to address the impact of climate change and biodiversity loss.
  • Recognises that First Nation traditional owners are the caretakers of land, water and sky (air) with a spiritual, social, cultural and economic relationship with their traditional lands, water and sky, and that this custodianship extends to looking after biodiversity and its related climate.
  • Writes to the Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister, Federal Minister for the Environment, NSW Premier, NSW Deputy Premier, NSW Minister for the Environment, their shadows, and Local Government NSW informing them that Waverley Council has declared a State of Climate and Biodiversity Emergency.