Close vote for Nambucca Shire Council to acknowledge students climate concerns

Council resolves to support students in their climate strike

It was a spirited debate that saw Nambucca Shire Council resolve by majority to offer its support to students participating in the climate change strike this Friday.

The vote however was close, 4:3, with Cr John Wilson absent.

Crs Rhonda Hoban, Janine Reed and John Ainsworth all lodged their reasons for voting against Cr Susan Jenvey's motion, which requested a council report on the feasibility of making a binding Climate Emergency Declaration.

She moved that the councillors also offer moral support to the students for their actions in highlighting the situation.

Cr Hoban said she did not support the motion because it was on a school day and such a decision was a matter for families and not council.

Cr Reed said she did not support strikes, "no matter who or what" and Cr Ainsworth said the action was using children as pawns and "there was not enough scientific evidence that we have reached the point of a climate emergency".

Prior to the vote resident Susan Doyle told the councillors she believed "we should be proud of these young people for standing up for their future."

"We all need to do everything in our power to mitigate global warming," Ms Doyle said.

Student Jack Sullivan said the action was very important for the shire's young people and "we would like the council's support".

Cr Jenvey said she moved the motion because "people are concerned and young people are anxious and want to be listened to".

"It is important that we give them agency when they make this stand ... we all need to make a stand and council can be a leader and show it is bigger than the divisive politics of this debate," Cr Jenvey said.

She said declaring a climate emergency would see Nambucca Shire join the likes of large city councils such as Sydney and Newcastle.

Cr John Ainsworth said every time there was a hot or a cold day, people cried "climate change".

"This is more a religion than a scientific exercise," he said.

After the meeting the general manager, Michael Coulter, put out a press release saying climate change was a scientific fact and the potential risk to the planet's ecosystems and ultimately it's live-ability was extreme.

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