Baw Baw Shire Council has endorsed the draft 2019/20 Budget and invited the community to have their say. This is our response.
Dear Baw Baw Shire council,
Thank you for the opportunity to make a submission to this process - it is an important part of a functioning democracy.
The overarching point of our submission is that all council activities should be planned and
performed with these questions in mind:
Will this project/ expenditure reduce our contribution to pollution that is causing the
Will this project/ expenditure help our community to cope with the results of the climate
emergency ie fire, flood, storm damage, health impacts of extreme weather?
Will our grandchildren thank us for this decision?
Scientists have raised the alarm that we are heading to “hot house earth” with mean global
temperature rising to levels that are incompatible with life for many species, including our own.
Without urgent and transformative action in the next few years we may see the end of
civilisation before the end of this century as tipping points like loss of arctic sea ice cover,
melting ice caps and glaciers, widespread release of methane from permafrost and changing
ocean currents are passed.
This is the defining issue for all of humanity this century and all levels of government ought to be leading and acting for positive change while we still have time to do so.
We are prompted to make this submission as the proposed council plan and budget does not at all give the impression that the climate emergency is acknowledged, nor planned or budgeted for.
Comments on budget allocation
Although approximately 27% of the $96 million budget is allocated to the Safe and Sustainable Environments services area, in our mind this could easily be deceptively reassuring to the casual observer. We can only see approximately $1 million allocated to programs in the environmental sustainability area, a sizeable chunk of which we presume are staff wages, leaving very little for program delivery. That means less than 1% of the council budget is allocated to the biggest problem humanity has ever faced. Compare today’s response to past expenditure responses by Australia to war in the following graph: