MORNINGTON Peninsula Shire mayor Graham Pittock and his council colleague Hugh Fraser have backed Australia’s stand at the Paris climate talks.
Mingling with world leaders at the United Nations climate change conference (COP 21), the two councillors have “thrown their support behind” a strategy outlined to the conference by Environment Minister and Flinders MP, Greg Hunt.
Cr Pittock said the National Climate Resilience and Adaptation Strategy was “invaluable” to local government and, in particular, to the shire which has 10 per cent of Victoria’s coastline.
The shire is one of 10 Australian municipalities invited to send representatives to the talks and Cr Pittock (away for 10 days) and Cr Fraser (14 days) have each said they will make up the difference if the costs of sending them to Paris exceeds their annual $4000 allowance.
The cost of sending the two councillors has been put at $12,000.
The aim of the conference is to agree on a new global climate change agreement to keep global warming below 2°C.
A news release issued by the shire on Friday said Australia’s strategy as announced by Mr Hunt “articulates how the country is managing the risks of a variable and changing climate”.
It describes the strategy as affirming “a set of principles to guide effective adaptation practice and resilience building, looks at leading practice nationally, and considers areas for future review, consultation and action”.
The shire’s communications and media manager Mark Kestigian said the description of the strategy was supplied by Mr Hunt’s office.
Cr Pittock and Cr Fraser were given the green light to attend the Paris talks at the 23 November.
An invite to the talks is seen as a reward for the shire having a pro-active stance on climate change.
“This strategy will be invaluable to local government as a readily available common source of information, of particular importance to the Mornington Peninsula Shire with 10 per cent of Victoria’s coastline,” Cr Pittock stated in the shire’s news release which also said he had been speaking with “the international media in attendance”.
“The strategy points out that councils are affected in varying degrees by the decisions of governments and each other. In coastal zones, in particular, decisions by private individuals can have significant and long term impacts on public goods.
“In this I need only refer to the decision of the Victorian government to lease the Port of Melbourne, together with the right of the lessee to maintain the shipping channels in Port Phillip Bay and in Bass Strait.
“The potential risks of the impact of this decision on the future Port of Hastings, the health of Port Phillip Bay and our precious beaches will be substantial.”