CAPS welcomes improvements in council policy and consultation

Members of CAPS joined up with Port Stephens Greens for a National Day of Action on Climate Change.

IN MARCH, Port Stephens Council voted unanimously to revoke its 2020 Environment and Climate Change Policies.

Council then adopted revised versions which, according to Climate Action Port Stephens (CAPS), are substantially improved.

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Council has also recently established an Environmental Advisory Group (EAG).

The Environment Policy provides direction for Council’s overall environmental performance.

The EAG will provide a mechanism for the community to contribute to how the policy is implemented.

The Climate Change Policy relates to Council’s recognition that the climate in Australia is changing and that ongoing action is needed to ensure a sustainable future for Port Stephens.

This is also within the scope of the EAG.

Founded in 2019, CAPS is a not-for-profit community group of Port Stephens residents who are concerned about global climate change and ecological crises and want real climate action in the community.

CAPS, along with the Tomaree Ratepayers and Residents Association and other affiliates of EcoNetwork Port Stephens, has been advocating for changes to these policies.

CAPS petitioned Council in 2019 and in 2020 to declare a climate emergency.

“The changes that the Council has made to these important policies are a significant improvement,” said Alisha Onslow, President of CAPS.

“They put Port Stephens in a much stronger position to handle future challenges.”

Specifically, CAPS welcomes the commitment in the Environment and Climate Change Policies to the principles of a circular economy recognition that our resources are finite and implementation of a Climate Change Adaptation Management Plan.

CAPS has nominated for membership of the EAG, and as a first ‘input’ urges Council develop a ‘roadmap’ for carbon neutrality and a renewable energy target.

CAPS looks forward to working with Council to develop the detailed Climate Change Adaptation Action Plan which addresses community-wide emissions, not just Council’s own carbon footprint.

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