Home of Great Barrier Reef urges climate action

Douglas Shire Council will urge the State Government to lead Queensland towards a low carbon future as part of its submission to the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection regarding climate change mitigation strategies.

Mayor Julia Leu said as the only local government area in the world that is home to two World Heritage-listed natural wonders (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,” said Mayor Leu.

“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 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’.

“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.”

The mayor 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.

“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."