The Campaspe Shire Council’s environmental strategy has been criticized by Kyabram councilor John Zobec for its alarmist nature and lack of facts attached to generalized environmental statements.
Cr Zobec was alone in his opinion on the 30-page document at the council meeting, which was attended by only seven of the nine council members in the absence of Cr Tony Marwood and Mayor Chrissy Weller.
He sharply criticized the wording of several sections of the strategy, which he said casually used terms such as “catastrophic” and “uninsurable”.
The document, which he said did not back up his claims with enough information, was passed by the board by a 6-1 vote.
Among the main themes of the strategy was the Campaspe Shire Council’s commitment to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2035.
It is a corporate emissions reduction plan that applies only to council operations, not to industries and farms outside the council’s control.
Several advisers – including Cr Adrian Weston, a highly regarded environmentalist based in Waranga – have come out in favor of the strategy.
Cr Weston praised the report for its depiction of the seriousness of the situation in which Campaspe residents, and Australians as a whole, have found themselves.
“The strategy is an update of the policy used by the board for the past four years,” he said.
“It builds on the latest strategy and is compatible with climate change and habitat loss for animals, as well as water management.
“This strategy respects all the legislative requirements with which we must comply. »
Cr Rob Amos said the council was doing a lot of work around mitigation, including installing solar panels on some of its community buildings.
“We are restoring native vegetation through the rural tree program, but we also need to adopt an urban tree management plan,” he said.
“It’s something really important that the council should put in place.”
Cr Leanne Pentreath said the community needs to take a close look at this document.
“It affects everyone. The board has pretty high goals with this strategy,” she said.
Speaking against the draft, Cr Zobec asked for a two-minute extension to explain his stance on strategy
“I want to speak against the project. Language is what worries me, especially when it comes to climate change,” he said.
“The majority of the draft is well written, but the climate change component is not (pages 21-22 of the agenda).
“He talks about the increase in temperature, 1-1.4% and the annual rainfall figures seem incorrect.
“It talks about extreme flooding and there’s a lot of misinformation in the project.
“I am concerned about the wording “uninsurable”.
“Nicholls’ electorate is most at risk. This suggests that the area will become uninhabitable under the most extreme circumstances.
Cr Zobec wondered where batteries and other renewable energy equipment from solar and wind farms would go at the end of their life.
“They will end up in landfill.”
He encouraged the community to read the document and provide feedback.
In response, Cr Weston said that no science was absolute, but the science of human-induced impacts on climate was quite compelling.
“Based on this, the precautionary principle should apply, in this case and in all scenarios,” he said.
“We need to mitigate the impacts as much as we can.”