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June 18, 2024

Ballina adopts Corporate Emissions Reduction Plan

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Ballina Shire Council. Photo David Lowe.

After an hour’s debate, Ballina Shire Council voted to adopt its own Corporate Emissions Reduction Plan at its last meeting.

Proceedings opened with a deputation from Kevin Loughrey, who said global warming was a hoax and therefore Ballina Council had no reason to try to reduce emissions. This was followed by a deputation from Sarah King (Ballina Environment Society) who thought the emissions reduction plan was a great idea, as the climate emergency was accelerating fast.

The Corporate Emissions Reduction Plan (CERP) is a pathway for Ballina Council to reach its 2030 climate change targets via multiple actions and improvements across council operations.

This emerged from Ballina Council declaring a state of climate emergency in 2019, and is a pathway to achieve net zero by 2030, with ramifications for Council’s Delivery Program and annual Operational Plans.

Ballina Councillors Eva Ramsey and Rod Bruem. Photo David Lowe.

Delay and question

Cr Rod Bruem (supported by Cr Eva Ramsey) moved to suggest that the CERP be deferred, investigate cost implications for ratepayers, and align the local target with that of the NSW government. This motion found no support, and was lost.

Questions to staff revealed Ballina Council was planning to do a number of things to make their operations more sustainable and reach an ‘aspirational target’, including sourcing electricity from renewables, making pumps more efficient, installing solar panels on top of infrastructure, replacing inefficient lighting, transitioning petrol/diesel vehicles to electric, and purchasing offsets.

Cr Phil Meehan admitted he’d had ‘a lot of trouble coming to grips with many aspects of climate change’ but increasingly shared the concerns of younger people who were worried that not enough was being done to protect their future.

Success in other jurisdictions

Cr Simon Chate talked about the great success story of Blacktown Council going carbon neutral, and said the plan prepared by Ballina Council staff was an excellent document, ‘thoroughly researched and prepared with a great deal of knowledge and expertise’.

Kiri Dicker
Cr Kiri Dicker, Ballina Greens.

Cr Kiri Dicker noted the particular risks for the Northern Rivers as the climate crisis deepened, and the success of other councils in facing this threat.

‘Local action can have global impacts,’ she said, noting recent survey results showed that ‘this is what our community expects us to do’.

Mayor Sharon Cadwallader sad that by adopting the report, Ballina Council was showing leadership by example, ‘as long as we live within our financial means’.

The motion was ultimately carried unanimously (Crs Jeff Johnson and Nigel Buchanan were absent).

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Ballina adopts Corporate Emissions Reduction Plan

After an hour's debate, Ballina Shire Council voted to adopt its own Corporate Emissions Reduction Plan at its last meeting.

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