MORNINGTON Peninsula Shire has been praised, the state government “acknowledged” for its progress and the federal government criticised for its lack of action on climate change.
The contrasting responses to the three levels of government were voiced last week (Tuesday 31 August) during an online climate forum organised by Mornington Peninsula Labor Environment Action Network (MP LEAN) – a “grassroots network of Labor members and supporters”. The forum was sponsored by Labor MP for Nepean Chris Brayne.
Guest speakers included the mayor Cr Despi O ’Connor, Cr Sarah Race, Dr George Mihaly of Merricks winery Paradigm Hill, Stephen Todd of Volt Farm and Kerry Macdonald co-convenor of MPLEAN.
Cr Race called on the federal government to urgently legislate for a zero emissions reduction target by 2040, which she said would strengthen the renewable energy target and promote financial support for proven renewable energy options.
She said the federal government should legislate to “mandate zero emission houses and to ensure the national construction code requires net zero emission homes now, rather than 2030”.
The shire says it has been preparing for the potential impacts of climate change for 10 years and in August adopted a climate action plan, one year after declaring a climate emergency.
Dr Mihaly said the impact of climate change had “led us at times at the end of a vintage to thinking we should just crawl up into a foetal position”.
“It is just heartbreaking and the emotional impact of some of the [climate] changes have just been devastating.”
Dr Mihaly said insurance had been “the first industry in Australia that seemed to have caught on to the [commercial consequences] of climate change having commercial consequences”.
“Despite there being a no claims history, in some years we have had 100 per cent plus premium increases, and these have been coupled with increased onerous obligations that the insurance companies have placed on us even just to renew insurance – such as establishing 24/7 smoke detection monitoring back to base, despite it being ineffective,” he said.
Ms Macdonald said questions and issues raised at the online forum’ 70 participants would be sent to Energy, Environment and Climate Change Minister Lily D’Ambrosio “as part of the state government consultation process into the impacts of climate change”.
“There was praise for our shire, acknowledgement of the progress made in many areas by the state government and utter dismay at the lack of action by the federal government,” Ms McDonald said.
She quoted an Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) survey finding that “63 per cent of voters in the Flinders electorate believe that action on climate change is a very important issue for the next federal election”.
“The weight of scientific opinion in the form of the latest IPCC’s (International Panel on Climate Change) report supports voter concerns. The report makes it very clear that we need to act more urgently if we are to avoid catastrophe.”