Political candidate questions Council's carbon offset projects

DOUGLAS SHIRE COUNCIL

Howard Salkow

Senior Journalist

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Douglas Shire Council candidate for 2020. Kim Rowley. Image: Victoria Stone-Meadows.
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Councillor candidate Kym Rowley today questioned why Council is in a hurry to throw money at carbon offsets when there are other priorities that could be addressed.

Mr Rowley, who is General Manager of the Tin Shed and will be vying for one of the four councillor spots in next year’s local government election, said after today’s open session of Council that they should not be racing into this project.

“It is irrelevant to tourism, there are other priorities that require attention and I am questioning what the hurry is,” he said.

At today’s Council meeting, Mayor Julia Leu moved a Notice of Motion to reverse a resolution that was adopted on 18 June this year, which was endorsed by the councillors.

The following was repealed and carried unanimously:

  • Join the Healthy Reef Partnership for a three-year term with financial terms as specified in the closed session report;
  • Consider adoption of the National Carbon Offset Standard;
  • Commit to carbon mitigation projects which will reduce Council’s carbon footprint;
  • Investigate carbon offset projects located within the Douglas Shire; and
  • Delegate authority under Section 257 of the Local Government Act 2009 to the Chief Executive Officer to finalise any and all matters associated with the contract.

It was also resolved to undertake the following:

  • Consider adoption of the National Carbon Offset Standard;
  • Commit to carbon mitigation projects which will reduce Council’s carbon footprint;
  • Investigate carbon offset projects located within the Douglas Shire

However, Cr David Carey moved that the above motion be amended to include the following:

“Confirm a previously publicly stated undertaking it will now broaden its community consultation through public workshops, and on-site visits, part of which will include residents and groups being invited to register their interest to receive information about the project and consultation opportunities.”

Cr Kerr was the only councillor to vote against the amendment.

Last month, Council also announced plans to invest in a local carbon offset project as part of its Healthy Reef initiative.

Councillors have resolved to buy land in Douglas Shire for its first carbon project for activities such as tree planting, habitat regeneration and wetland restoration.

Residents and community groups will have an opportunity to get involved in the project in coming months.

But Mr Rowley questioned the consultation process. “We tend to find out what Council has done, and it’s then too late for the community to provide their input,” he said.


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