Mayor Leu makes direct plea for Queensland to be climate change leader


Howard Salkow

Senior Journalist

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Douglas Shire Mayor Julia Leu has made an impassioned plea for the Queensland Government to lead the way in combating climate change.

In expanding on the first agenda item at yesterday’s Council meeting - Climate change submission to the Department of Environment & Heritage Protection (DEHP) – she said it is incumbent on Council to provide good quality advice to the State Government.

“Climate change is discussed every day in the media. It is among the most talked-about issue of the modern world and I strongly believe that Queensland must take a lead role here,” said Leu.

Leu also presented a revised climate change submission which will be forwarded to DEHP and features 23 points for consideration, along with proposed actions.

This is an outstanding initiative and Mayor Leu can expect a positive reception and praise from the Queensland Government for the role she is playing. Council unanimously voted in favour of the submission.

She said as the only local government area in the world home to two World Heritage-listed natural wonders in the Daintree Rainforest and the Great Barrier Reef, it is imperative the Douglas Shire is involved in any discussions about how to combat climate change.

“Climate change affects everyone and virtually everything we do and this will increasingly be the case in the future as the impacts of climate change become more pronounced,” she said.

“What we do now can have long-lasting benefits on how future generations utilise resources and interact with the environment and it’s very important we recognise the opportunities available if we act now on climate change and transition to a low carbon future.”

Mayor Leu said that while tackling climate change head-on is likely to cause some financial pain in the short term, the long-term benefits and opportunities of a reduced carbon footprint far outweighed the negatives.

Mayor Leu said a low carbon global economy requires increased efforts in recycling, green building design, clean and renewable energy supply and improved agricultural practices.

“As an example of what we can do right now, Queensland must follow the lead of the Australian and 30 national governments and sign the French Government’s ‘4 per 1000 Initiative: soils for food security and climate’,” Mayor Leu said.

“This is an initiative of using a range of agricultural systems to increase global soil carbon levels to reverse climate change – it can change farming from being a major source of greenhouse gas emissions to a major mitigator of climate change.”

Mayor Leu said on a government level, we need to develop policies that support low carbon technologies, fund programs to train farmers in how to transition towards best practice, subsidise renewable and clean energy technologies, reduce fees and charges that stimulate innovation in this field and develop a business plan to promote Queensland as a global leader in these technologies.

“This will create job opportunities in an emerging industry, provide cheaper electricity in the long-term through renewables and boost Queensland’s world reputation.

“From a local perspective, we’re essentially the custodians of two precious World Heritage environments and we need to get on board in the effort to combat climate change before the train leaves the station, so to speak.”