Eurobodalla Shire Council (ESC) is dragging its feet consulting with the community about introducing substantive programs to strengthen the shire’s climate resilience, according to Eurobodalla Labor for Council.

Council’s previous emissions reduction plan achieved a reduction through it purchasing 80% of its electricity from renewable energy,  but further face-to-face community consultation on ways to expand these measures have been shut down because of  the bushfires and COVID lockdowns.

“ESC needs to speed up consultation with the community working group on its draft Climate Resilience Plan,” Labor’s councillor candidate Jack Egan said today.  Mr Egan, of Rosedale, lost his home in the Black Summer bushfires of 2020 and is now re-building. “A community consultation was scheduled for 21 July but while COVID put an end to that, there’s no reason ESC couldn’t have continued with an online process – after all, that’s how the councillors and mayor meet each month now anyway.

“Mayor Liz Innes and the council have been dragging their feet acknowledging and planning for climate change for years now.

“Recent climate-driven extreme weather events demonstrate Eurobodalla and the south coast need to press on with mitigation and adaptation efforts as soon as possible. Further delays simply increase the danger to all residents – and visitors – to Eurobodalla,” he said.

Eurobodalla Labor for Council supports a plan that will equip the entire community with the tools, programs and resources to improve its climate resilience and reduce its environmental footprint.

“Strong engagement with the community on climate resilience planning by councillors and the mayor has been sorely lacking,” Mr Egan said. “Sadly this lack of community engagement and accountability is what we have come to expect from this council.”

“Labor will promote conversations and genuine consultation about ways of achieving, for example, expanded rooftop solar, support for bulk-buy-and-install programs of solar for residents, the expansion of electric vehicle chargers, the zoning of land for renewable energy generation and an expanded ESC electric vehicle fleet.

“These are not pie-in-the-sky aspirations; they’re practical, sensible and achievable in the next term of council.

“We’re now almost two months beyond when the working group was meant to meet for further consultations with ESC and we’ve heard nothing from Mayor Liz Innes or her councillors about our next steps.

“It seems to me the majority of the current group of elected representatives don’t really take climate resilience all that seriously,” Mr Egan added.

Councillor candidates joining Jack Egan in the 4 December council elections are: mayoral candidate David Grace of Broulee, Maureen Searson in Batehaven, Matthew Findlay in Batemans Bay, Claire McAsh in Moruya and Deirdre Russack in Narooma.