December 17, 2014

Draft Plans and Climate Change Reality

Peter Flannery (the local Beachmere councillor) has responded to my comments about the recent no confidence motion by Moreton Bay Regional Council
Peter Flannery Councillor Div2: the first plan was a Draft, it was put out for the community to comment on and make submissions.Council received about 7200 submissions and we have spent many weeks in going through those submissions and making changes to the Draft plan in to response to a large number of those submissions. The revised plan was to be released again to the community in December along with the written replies to every submission detailing what changes had been made or not made. Council is now following the written Directive from the Deputy Premier and is waiting for information to be used in the revised draft plan. So we are not delaying the plan and we can't inform the community of the changes until it is ready and approved by the State to be released for another round of consultation. I have been voicing many residents concerns in making changes to the draft plan. Both the State Government and Council know what is going on in this process and to spread mis information in a media release that Council "contuine to delay resolving this matter" is wrong. I thought both the State and Council were working together to resolve the issues and move forward and get the revised draft plan back out to the community for comment and consultation.

My response was:
Peter Flannery: "The first plan was a Draft, it was put out for the community to comment on and make submissions" 
No it wasn't. The draft was published in isolation from the community. The comment window was initially a very narrow one and the council only relented on that after wide protests. At no time has council attempted to engage with the community, address its concerns and discuss the plan in detail. Aside from complaining to The Caboolture News there has been no ongoing attempt to address community's gross marginalisation nor has there been any undertaking in this discourse to address the wider ramifications of climate change driven sea level rise or the options we may face. If the process followed by MBRC has been hunky dory why has the fracas exploded here rather than in other local government areas where the same parameters have cynically been imposed by the state government? If council wants allies in its dispute with the state government, it must seek them among the communities it has already soured.
That council chose to pass a 'no confidence' motion  as a standalone response  is politically inept. It has only served to flag their unwillingness to engage in dialogue with the communities most effected by the rezoning.

Climate Change Reality 

That said I think local councils have been set up by the state government to bear the brunt of a Climate Change reality.

We live in a state absolutely committed to the mining and export of coal and its use in energy generation. The Newman government has flagged its intention to  invest taxpayer money in Galilee Basin coal mines and sponsor coal ports regardless of its consequences for the future of the  Great Barrier Reef.

So I ask you: can this outfit embrace an open  discussion about  the drivers of Climate Change and its impact on the people who live here?

On the one hand we're told that councils shouldn't -- or maybe should  -- factor in Climate Change driven sea level rise into their rezoning plans. But the state government fully intends to do NOTHING about the carbon emissions within this state  that  drive that change. In fact we have a government that is actively  investing in  generating more -- a lot more! -- carbon emissions.

As Campbell Newman argues:
“The role of the government, given the financial situation we face these days, the role would be to make targeted investments to help get something going and then within a few years time exit those investments so the private sector can then get on with it, but I stress, open to all comers – we just want a new coal resource basin to be opened up."
What that means is that we're expendable. Collateral damage. For the sake of business-as-usual, Beachmere -- and hundreds of other  coastal communities in Queensland -- will be allowed to drown. 

In the meantime the  measures pursued are 
  • place the onus on the property owner
  • change the zoning 
  • fob off this climatic challenge to local government
  • ...and let's not discuss  what  a fast changing climate will mean for all of us.
Personally I think rising seas  will be the least of our problems. I think  the consequence of drought, crop failures, heat waves, floods, storm cells, cyclones and bush fires will register long before Deception  Bay moves ashore to drown Moreton Terrace. Storm and King Tides  do afterall fall away. Our experience of the sea level rise will  be more like  that of the islands of Torres Strait and the drowning republics of the Pacific Ocean

Insidious. Relentless. 

But should we wear it alone? Sink alone?

_________

Addendum: December 18th:

While a lot of the urgency of this regional zoning momentum comes out of the impact of the floods of 2010-2011, the Newman government wasn't elected until 2012. However, I'm not suggesting that  Anna Bligh's ALP was  qualitatively more in touch with climate challenges than the current government. With an election due early next year I'm sure either party's perspective will be showcased. But the fact remains that Australia's -- and Queensland's -- carbon emissions are still rising and the nation overall is one of the worst performers on the planet ..and that both parties are absolutely committed to coal as a commodity and energy resource.



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