At the June 2021 Upper Hunter Shire Council Ordinary Meeting I could not and did not support the 2021/2022 budget.
Its lack of meaningful action to halt climate change and to mitigate the already damaging impacts we are seeing all around us as a result of climate change only goes to show that the Upper Hunter Shire Council plans to continue ignoring the signs of climate change already impacting our lives.
The 2021/2022 budget reveals that the Upper Hunter Shire Council is able to find funding for all kinds of projects including climate wrecking ones, but is unable to adequately fund a climate emergency response.
Unquestionably a climate emergency response should be embedded in all of council’s decision-making processes: putting climate first in every single decision of council is essential and needs to be implemented.
Speaking to the world on World Environment Day 5 June 2021, the United Nations Secretary General, Antonio Guterres said:
“We are rapidly reaching the point of no return for the planet. We face a triple emergency; One, biodiversity loss, two, climate disruption and three, escalating pollution. Science tells us the next 10 years are our final chance to avert a climate catastrophe, turn back the deadly tide of pollution and end species loss.”
Yet here in the Upper Hunter Shire we are ‘picking the colour scheme for the family room,’ rather than doing anything about ‘our house on fire’ and the real emergencies steadily enveloping us.
We don’t have time to be carrying on with the business as usual approach.
Extreme heat waves, wildfires, seas on fire from gas pipeline leaks, couldn’t be clearer in demonstrating that business as usual is no longer ok.
We need a climate emergency response and we needed it last month.
Sue Abbott is a ratepayer and resident of Scone, as well as a councillor for the Upper Hunter Shire Council. This post is written in her personal capacity and does not represent the views of organisations she is, or has previously been, affiliated with.