City of Boroondara Council Meeting Monday 25 May 2020
City of Boroondara Council Meeting Monday 25 May 2020
Welcome everyone to tonight's council meeting and apologies for the slight delay in all things technical sometimes they don't perform the way you hoped so problem has been resolved and look forward to that being the case throughout the rest of the meeting.
My name is councillor Cynthia Watson and I'm the mayor of Boroondara. It's now my privilege to read the council prayer. Almighty God we humbly seek your blessings upon this council, direct and prosper its deliberations to the advancement of your glory and the true welfare of the people the city of Boroondara amen.
The City of Boroondara acknowledges the traditional custodians of the land and respects their customs and traditions.
The health and safety and well-being of the community has and will always be the paramount consideration of the council. Council continues to be guided by government directives and wants to be able to do the right thing for the health of our community during the COVID-19 pandemic. The COVID-19 omnibus emergency measures act 2020 passed by the Victorian Parliament on the 23rd of April 2020 included changes to the Local Government Act 2020 which affected the conduct of council meetings.
The change became effective on the first of May 2020. Council is now able to hold virtual meetings and councillors can participate in meetings remotely by electronic means of communication. This has necessitated changes to the existing operation of the council meeting. The council meeting is being live-streamed on council website so you will be able to view the Proceedings of this meeting, councillor deliberations and the voting.
The meeting is also being recorded and will be made available on the council website as soon as practical after the meeting. Should technical problems we encountered by the council then the meeting will be adjourned until resolution or postponed.
I'll start by introducing my fellow councillors and officers who are present for this meeting and councillors as I introduce you if you would please indicate that you are present. Councillor Jack Wegman, present. Councillor Felicity Sinfield present thank you. Councillor Addis, I'm present thank you Mayor. Councillor Hollingsworth, present. Councillor Parke present. Councillor Hurd, present. Councillor Healey, present. Councillor Thompson, present. Thank You councillors. Before we go on just want to alert Councillor Parke, oh councillor Ross Thank You. Councillor Parke your microphone is very faint so if you could just speak up a little when you when you want to make your views known that would be appreciated. I think you'll find it's not the microphone but rather that I was muted, whoever's got control of the mute needs to speed up and get in sync with what we're doing and then there won't be a problem. Ah thank you councillor Parke.
We have a number of council officers who are participating in the meeting tonight our chief executive officer Phillip Storer, the director of City Planning Shiran Wickramasinghe, director of community and development Carolyn McLean, the director of environment and infrastructure Daniel Freer, director customer experience and business transformation Bruce Dobson, executive manager people culture and development Carolyn Terry, manager of governance David Thompson, governance projects officer Elizabeth Manou. There are also a number of officers in attendance tonight and they will be introduced as they present their reports.
I'll now move on to the order of business as listed on our papers. I'll begin with apologies mr. Thompson are there any apologies for this evening. Through you madam mayor there are no apologies for this evening. Thank you very much.
Item one for this evening councillors is the adoption and confirmation of the minutes of the ordinary council meeting held on the 24th of February 2020, special council meeting held on the 5th of March 2020, a special council meeting held on the 4th of May 2020 and the special council meeting held on the 23rd of March 2020. Councillors can I please have a motion to adopt and confirm the minutes. Councillor Hurd as printed madam mayor. Thank you and councillor Hollingsworth, happy to second thank you. Thank you. Councillors is there anyone opposed to this motion, there being no opposition I declare the motion carried.
Second order of business is the declaration of conflict of interest of any councillor or council officer. This evening I will be declaring a conflict of interest and I would now ask is there anyone else who also needs to declare a conflict. There bring none I'll then proceed with my declaration and I'll be declaring a conflict of interest under Section 77 B I have a direct interest in accordance with the local government act 1989 item seven point two which is concerning the council's membership of the Victorian local governance Association I am a board member of the VLGA and I therefore have a direct interest so I will therefore exit the meeting this evening. My apologies councillors I made my declaration and my exit is not that imminent. I will exit the meeting when the moment arises when we reach that item on the agenda.
Item three deputations and presentation petitions and public submissions. Councillors we have a deputation this evening from dr. Fiona Bruce and miss Alice Caldwell and so I would like to welcome you to the council meeting this evening. You have joined us as representatives of the Kooyong climate change Alliance and I acknowledge council has received your petition which will be tabled later in the meeting. The purpose of your deputation as I understand it is to provide a context to the petition and speak in support of the petition. Please note in accordance with councils meeting procedure local law you have a maximum of six minutes to make your deputation. At the conclusion of your deputation we may ask questions and clarification so dr. Bruce and miss Caldwell are you ready to speak, whom you'll be speaking first. I'll be speaking first. Thank you very much dr. Bruce if you'd like to commence your presentation now thank you very much.
Good evening my name is Fiona Bruce I would like to acknowledge the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin nation as the traditional owners of this area and pay my respects to their elders past and present. I'm a dermatologist I work at the Austin and Mercy hospitals and in private practice in Bundoora and I've lived in Boroondara for more than 25 years. The science is crystal clear, we are in a climate emergency. This is a great threat to public health from such issues as heat stress increased incidence of infectious diseases food insecurity and mental ill health and respiratory problems from increased bushfires.
It's an emergency because we are close to planetary tipping points which threaten rapid and irreversible change. The world is on track for devastating climate disruption from which no one can self isolate. Medical groups including the AMA the Royal Australian College of Physicians and Australasian College of emergency medicine have declared climate change a health emergency.
Between October 2019 and March 2020 a number of groups in Boroondara joined together and asked the community to sign a petition to council asking that it declare a climate emergency. That petition with three thousand nine hundred and thirteen in-person signatures will be tabled at this meeting. As of May the 13th over 1300 jurisdictions in 30 countries have declared a climate emergency. This includes the cities of Sydney and Melbourne, and Stonnington, Manningham, and Banyule councils. Stonnington is developing a climate emergency action plan at the moment. Manningham has got youth climate leaders. Scientists are telling us again and again that we are close to running out of time.
There's no one coming to save us, the problem isn't going away. The time for action is now and it can't wait. Now we've got different opportunities to act. The people of Boroondara can sign a petition, and I can speak to you, but you are the only ones who have got this particular opportunity to act and make a difference. To declare a climate emergency is a very meaningful act of leadership that will lead to a better future for us all. I ask you to put human health first and declare a climate emergency, thank you.
Miss Caldwell would you like to make your presentation.
Thank you good evening councillors my name is Alice Caldwell and it is with great honour that today I'm co-presenting. I'm a current year 12 student and I attend a local school in Kew of which I have the privilege of being the head prefect. I was not a born and bred climate activist I actually only first learned about climate change roughly four years ago. Between now and then I frequently oscillated between feelings of despair apathy anger but most prominently powerlessness. I must admit I am somewhat envious of you all. You as councillors and adults have a capacity to enact change that I quite frankly don't have. Indeed that young people more broadly don't have. Young people like myself are particularly reliant on or alternatively vulnerable to their governmental representatives.
For me a climate emergency declaration sends a clear galvanizing message to young people that yes your representatives care yes they speak and acknowledge and act on truth yes they are fighting for your future. When I cast my thoughts to what lies ahead I see my future full of love family and friends. I would love to work in development or international relations and have children of my own one day. But unfortunately hanging over this gilded vision of a future that I have for myself is a cloud or more actually a storm of uncertainty.
Will I have clean air to breathe and clean water to drink will I have the safe and equitable nation in which to live, what sacrifices will I have to make for the inertia of my predecessors. These are all questions that plague my mind and I know I'm not alone in this. 150,000 Melbourne youths went on strike last year to express their anguish and frustration themselves composing a comparatively small constituency of the 7 million strong global movement. I implore you councillors to think now of your own children nieces nephews you are the custodians of our future. I trust that you will bear this responsibility with compassion bravery and strength. My generation has no choice but to trust you thank you.
Thank you very much miss Caldwell, councillors are there any questions or clarifications that you would like at this point before miss Caldwell and dr. Bruce retire from the meeting. There being none I would like to thank miss Caldwell and also dr. Bruce for making the deputations on behalf of the Kooyong Climate Action Alliance and now invite you to retire from the meeting, so thank you very much for coming along tonight.
Thank you very much two community members have now retired from meeting and we will proceed to item three point two which are petitions, Mr. Thompson. Through you Madam Mayor council since we've last had a council meeting we've received four petitions, the details of the petitions are set out on page four of your business papers. I commend the officers recommendation to you this evening.
Thank You mr. Thompson councillors is anyone prepared to move a motion to receive and note the petitions as printed. Councillor Sinfield, happy to receive them thank you. Thank you, and councillor Healey I believe you put your hand up next, you are happy to second, yes madam chair. Thank you is there anyone opposed to this particular motion, there being none I declare the motion carried.
Item four this evening is assemblies of councillors, council is there anyone prepared to move a motion to receive and note the record of assemblies of councillors as printed on the screen. Thank You councillor Thompson. Thank You councillor Hollingsworth you are prepared to second that motion. Is there anyone opposed to this motion, there being none I declare the motion carried.
Item five on the agenda this evening is public question time. Council encourages the submission of public questions prior to 12:00 p.m. on the day of the meeting. Questions submitted prior to 12:00 noon will be provided with a detailed verbal response as well as a response in writing. Those submitted after 12:00 p.m. will receive a verbal response if possible but will otherwise be taken on notice for a written response to be provided in due course. Mr Thompson do we have any public questions.
Through you madam mayor we've received two questions for consideration this evening. Thank You mr. Thompson. So we received two questions and the copies of these questions have been circulated to all councillors. The questions have each been referred to the relevant director to provide a written response in due course.
Our first question is from mr. Hundley of Balwyn North and the subject is the North East link. The question is does Boroondara council continue to be bound by a Memorandum of Understanding or any other instrument that would restrict the information it provides to the public on the proposed northeast link if so please advise of the details. Mr Freer can you please address the question to mr. Hundley as posed to council this evening.
Thank you madam mayor. Council entered into a memorandum of understanding with the north east link authority as it was known then in June 2018. The north east link authority at the time required all councils impact by the North East Link project to enter into an MOU and would not share information about the project until that MOU was executed. This included information on the impact of the project on Boroondara land, the road network and our community more broadly. This agreement remains in place and council continues to adhere to the agreement. Information in the public domain on the project is of course available from the northeast link project authority via their website thank you madam mayor.
Thank You mr. Freer and I've neglected to inform the community as to why you are answering this question and is because you're the director of environment and infrastructure and we thank you for your response.
The second question is also from mr. Hundley and the subject is the COVID-19 pandemic proposed council projects for Commonwealth and Victorian government funding, and the question for consideration is as follows. Please advise the details of any projects including the funding sort which have been nominated or proposed to be nominated by the council for funding by either the Commonwealth or Victorian government in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
This question relates to a matter which is on the agenda this evening and is therefore allowed in accordance with Clause 60-point 2.1 of the meeting procedure local law whether the questions can previously put in writing to a councillor and received a written response from the councillor and is therefore allowed in accordance with our meeting procedure local law. I call upon the director of customer experience and business transformation to respond to the question from mr. Hundley, mr. Dobson are you able to address the question at hand.
Thank You mayor the council is in the process of considering opportunities for such government funding from Commonwealth and state governments once that list of projects has been finalised we'll be able to provide mr. Hundley with a written response and also update our community through our normal communication channels thank you. Thank You very much mr. Dobson and just to let you all know that mr. Hundley will receive a written response in due course.
We will now move on to item six on the agenda this evening notices of motion mr. Thompson do we have any notices of motion this evening. Through you madam mayor we've received two notices of motion and they're set out in your business papers for this evening. Thank you very much mr. Thompson are we putting this up on the screen all right the motion is about to go up on the screen. Thank You mr. Thompson just working our way through some of the technical nuances of the equipment here tonight and that we've received a notice of motion from Councillor Addis and I'd now like to ask her to present motion number 50 which is currently on the screen in front of us Thank You councillor Addis. oh beg your pardon we need a seconder. Councillor Ross, happy second. Thank you very much. Councillor Addis if you'd like to speak to your motion.
Thank you very much madam mayor the reason why I put up this motion is that I believe that as councillors we have the privilege of leadership and with that privilege comes an obligation to make decisions on behalf of our community and that these decisions reflect their views and another obligation we have as councillors is to listen and carefully consider expert evidence when we do make these decisions. The expert evidence is readily available and has been summarized earlier this evening but if I could just mention a couple of salient points. I think it's fairly clear that time is running out for us to avert the worst impacts of climate disruption. There's been a paper published by 11,000 scientists and in that they declared clearly and unequivocally that the planet Earth is facing a climate emergency. We know the climate is changing it is getting hotter and this is happening rapidly so greenhouse gases are also rising.
It's been estimated that a climate tipping point may occur at a two degree rise and on current trends this is predicted. To limit heating to 1.5 degrees reductions will need to be in the order of five times greater than the current national targets under the Paris agreement. We know that three quarters of Australians agree that we are facing a climate change emergency and that we should take action. Now in my view whether we talk about climate weather bushfires droughts and floods or the environment and whether we talk about an emergency a disaster or a pandemic we all know that we are describing an indisputable and dangerous change and that it is critical that we take urgent action.
The danger and urgency of the situation comes from a standing on a cliff face of a tipping point a cascade of events that can be too late to prevent and should this happen the world will be uninhabitable for many and many animals and plants will die. I'd like to paraphrase the words of Christiana Figueres one of the UN's top climate negotiators and the words were essentially I am deeply pained by the attitude of the current Australian government that after the disaster of bushfires in Australia is still denying climate change and denying the fact that there is a lot that Australia can and should be doing.
The aim should be for all of us all levels of government to cooperate to address this problem and this should include local communities and their elected representatives. In seeking to take this position on behalf of our community I rely upon the information we have that our community values the environment. This is consequently a theme in our community plan a recognition of our understanding they value the environment. We also know that they want us to do more to protect the environment and it was this understanding that underpinned our endorsement of the new FOGO waste system.
So my aim here is to take a leadership position and to act on behalf of our community who have told us that they value the environment and want us to do more and to declare a climate emergency would seem to be consistent with this position thank you.
Thank You councillor Addis would anyone else like to speak to the motion and I'm also in search of ah and also wanting to know if anyone is opposed to this particular motion, we have a number of councillors who are opposed. Would anyone like to speak to the motion, councillor Ross.
As the seconder I would like to speak. Take the floor. Thank you. Today is the first day of the Royal Commission into the bush fires which devastated parts of Victoria and New South Wales over the summer now known as black summer. If not for the current pandemic the bush fires would have been the seminal moment of 2020. Australia is regarded by the rest of the world as the canary in the mine we are showing the effects of climate change and demonstrating that the world is in a climate emergency.
I'd like to share a quote, we are currently in a state of climate emergency. This summer we've seen devastation across the country through bush fires floods and unprecedented weather events, 2019 was the hottest and driest year recorded in Australia with 2010 to 2019 the hottest decade recorded worldwide. At a local level we've seen climate-driven extreme weather events that have had a significant impact on our environment, the local economy and human health such as major storms poor air quality and contaminated rain.
Our climate is changing and our community deserves an imminent and urgent response. That was councillor Steve Stefanopoulos mayor of the city of Stonnington after Stonnington declared a climate emergency in February, he added some people say this isn't the role of local government but it absolutely is. Everything starts at a local level and will ought to work with our partners at the state and federal levels.
To date 1496 municipalities in 30 countries have declared a climate emergency. In the United Kingdom those municipalities cover 90% of the population and in New Zealand 75% of the population. 32 councils in Victoria have declared climate emergencies including every council in our regional grouping. Bayside declared an emergency in December, Kingston in January, Stonnington in February and Glen Eira on may the 5th.
Councils that have declared a climate emergency recognise that climate change is causing significant damage to our economy society and environment and that urgent action is required to reverse current trends and to secure our planet for future generations. One of the things that has been disappointing is that for some reason climate has been politicized but I'm glad to see that that has not happened in our neighboring councils all while Stonnington made their declarations following a notice of motion but at Stonnington they have regular six-month reports on climate change and sustainability and it was declared at one of those after one of those reports.
The motion of Bayside was passed unanimously just one councillor voted against it at Glen Eira and just one councillor voted against it at Stonnington to give Stonnington as an example those councillors who were members of the Liberal and Labor parties all voted for it it was an independent posed. A declaration demonstrates councils leadership role as an environmental steward and a commitment to address climate change in partnership with the community.
The new Local Government Act has an overarching principle to include mitigation and planning for climate change risks what addressing climate change risks has emerging legal implications for councils. Declaring a climate emergency is important. Council has a responsibility to ensure resilience health and well-being of the community with vulnerable aging and young community members experiencing high risks from climate change this poses a serious threat to our community.
Council plays an important leadership role in Boroondara. A key role of council is supporting and encouraging residents businesses schools and community groups to reduce their omissions and adapt to the impacts of climate change. We also have a role as stewards and custodians which I do take this role very seriously as I'm sure all councillors do. This declaration is an opportunity for council to reaffirm its strong leadership position.
Thank you councillor Ross. Councillors is there anyone else wishing to speak to the motion, councillor Healey. Thank you madam chair and I thank the previous speakers. I think the concept of leadership can be determined in many ways and its been used in the previous two presentations. I think it's leadership to jump in and make a decision on behalf of 179,286 Boroondara residents who are very capable of telling us what they would like us to do, so if I go back to notice of motion forty-nine in December our approach was to develop a community consultation along the lines of the Boroondara community plan.
This provided every resident in the city of Boroondara with an opportunity to come on a conversation about how we could change patterns. It provides an opportunity for everyone to be involved. Right now if we are to declare a climate change emergency this evening it usurps the opportunity of those 179,286 Boroondara residents to be involved and have their say. My view is that our community is mature and knows the environment very well and having decided to go on a community consultation exercise which has been delayed by COVID we find ourselves in a position where we can not only arrive at an outcome with the community having had a really good discussion on this we might actually change the way people carry out their own climate responses in their own homes.
We need to have a conversation of every kitchen-table. Time and again people come to government asking government to make the decision. The decision can happen in each household and the discussion around the kitchen table about how each of us are going to change the way we do things be that switching off a iPad phone charger or iPhone charger or any one of those chargers that we have in our house, how as a family could we reduce our carbon footprint if we all had a discussion.
So going on a consultation with the community which starts with a blank page which says what does the Boroondara climate action plan look like provides a wonderful opportunity for people to be engaged for the community to find hopefully a consensus and if out of that the community says that we need to have a climate emergency declaration then that's a real powerful mechanism for the community to do and it's one that the council should respond to and each councillor on the day would respond to it.
So I think the notice of motion should not be supported this evening and I think the second one should also not be supported because it simply removes the opportunity for our community to become engaged in a conversation in the home and in the community to change the way we live because it sounds to me that we need to change. So I don't dispute any of the material that was put forward before other than I think the leadership opportunity here is to actually have that conversation with the community and then respond as a result of the informed position that the community finds its way to, that is how the community plan worked and I think it's a very good mechanism for the way that this can work.
We have committed to in notice of motion 49 to redoing the Boroondara low-carbon future strategy which we put together in 2009 which has survived till now and we're going to call it a climate action plan. I would rather have the community come on that plan I would rather have of the 183,199 as of today's statistics residents as many of them engaged in the conversation and not deprived from them or removed from them their right of free speech their right to engage and really their social justice of the opportunity to be in that room for those conversations.
Now many of them probably won't engage but those who want to I believe have a right and I don't want to remove that right I've probably said enough I won't be supporting this notice of motion at number 50 Thank you.
Thank You councillor Healey, councillor Thompson. Thank You madam mayor and thank you miss Caldwell and dr Bruce also for your deputation to declare a climate emergency and also mobilise all the required resources to take that effective action. The petition councillors obviously has got three thousand nine hundred signatures collected across Boroondara. I know some councillors have had numerous phone calls with residents and even attendance in meetings. Other than a meeting earlier in March for me I have only received one email and that was today Glen Iris resident and no telephone calls. I would actually not even be surprised if a division was called on this this evening.
Ironically I myself am actually agreeing with large parts of this deputation so let's take away the politics for the moment and look at the science, the scientific data collected and analyzed on our modern climate its undeniable both natural and anthropogenic causes that are recognizable and again as what's previously stated by a believer widely published.
I like many residents in Boroondara recognize that there is a moral responsibility to act. Over the years ahead a very intrinsic part of the climate change will be that that affects most of the Boroondara residents is actually how we manage that effect on our parks, our gardens waterways our street trees our buildings and our services. For us here in Boroondara I actually believe adaption is the key. The Boroondara climate action plan as councillor Healey spoke about if the community seeks and take its cues from the fundamental principles of the Victorian Climate Change Act including establishing long term omissions reduction targets, setting interim targets to ensure that those long-term targets were actually met.
Introducing new policy objectives and principles to under climate resilience and adaption in Boroondara's decision making develop a climate action change strategy and an action or adaption action plan. We can develop council systems and initiatives we can also establish a system of periodic reporting which will provide transparency accountability and ensure the community remains focused and informed.
This is the idea of what climate action might look like for Boroondara and it can all be led through the consultation with the scale and the urgency needed to address the issues we are facing. It can be carefully constructed to ensure that we're the the right areas of council's core activities both environmentally and economically. On to the motion to declare a climate emergency. If the Boroondara community really wants council to declare a climate emergency let's ask them that question. First ask them is this what they want to be council let us ask them what it should look like whilst we actually consult on the Boroondara climate action plan.
To declare a climate emergency without first consulting the community as councillor Healey said we're denying them their voice their right to knowledge what it actually looks like and how it might affect them. I acknowledge the request of the over 3900 signatories to the petition. This is a very strong show of hands and it's now up to our leadership on this proposition that's been put forward to us to actually ask this very valid question of the community. So my vote based on the discussions around leadership is to actually give my community a voice, I have only had one email to date that's it.
The community can tell us what they want and how they want us to declare anything through the consultation on the Boroondara climate action plan. To be in step with the community expectations we need to raise the question and receive feedback, that will guide our decision-making. So unfortunately I can't support this declaration ahead of any consultation it's not how we do business here in Boroondara its not how we've done any of our consultation processes for any things that we made decisions on. Consultation first and out of that will come whatever it comes so I want to hear from the community and seek council ask those important questions thank you.
Thank You councillor Thompson, Councillor Hollingsworth. Thank you madam chair look I would like to speak in support of councillor Addis's notice of motion. I have acknowledged every comment that I've heard this evening from my fellow colleagues and look there's merit obviously in everything that's been discussed. I believe that we actually have conducted a very comprehensive community consultation when we were first elected within a month of the council elections we embarked on a very extensive community consultation plan a plan that was designed to last from 2017 up to 2027. In that plan we put to our community what were the key issues of importance to them what do we as councillors need to do to shape the future of Boroondara. In the community plan the top three matters of concern to our community are clearly stated in our community plan. Number three is the environment and I'll just read out one section that's in the plan.
Strategy three point seven. Lead our community through advocacy and action to mitigate against and adapt to impacts of climate change, to minimize adverse impacts on community health and well-being and natural environmental facilities and services. This is a very comprehensive document a very comprehensive plan it was the largest plan Boroondara has ever embarked on. Now at the time I agree we weren't specifically using the language of climate change climate emergency but since then a lot has developed.
In recent time in December last year where we supported to acknowledge that the the importance of a climate action plan so much has changed since that period of time conditions have escalated climate issues whether it be natural events through weather conditions or whether through viral IE COVID. We are now having the conversations that councillor Healey talked about. Sitting around the table with your family that's what we've been doing for the last two or three months. We are now aware that we are so vulnerable in so many ways whether it be through pandemic through the storm cyclone tsunami severe weather patterns droughts fire it's escalating at a rapid rate and it's something that I believe is now a matter that we have to be more concerned about and move faster on decision making process with how we as a local government can support our community and beyond our local community.
I believe that councillors we are the first contact we have a personalized relationship with them we know our community groups we know our people we communicate with a large group of bodies. Just today I have received an email from Siena College which is in the Lynden ward which I represent and they were delighted to hear that this is an agenda item that's been put forward tonight. They've actually sent a very detailed letter and I won't read it out in its entirety but I'll just read out a few paragraphs and they talk about a community of 805 students with 120 staff. They support the motion that's being put forward tonight that we are talking about now.
They mention a sense of urgency and they would be grateful if Boroondara would show leadership in the impacts of climate change and drive and support with the state and federal governments to encourage government at all levels to be involved with this. They're already doing a numerous amount initiatives in their own school environment in their own home environment to help support climate change. Other school community groups other resident groups I had correspondence also today from the Canterbury Community Action Group is in Lynden ward obviously encompasses part of Canterbury.
They have sent a letter of support as well thanking council for bringing this to the agenda this evening. In closing I just wanted to say that ironically on Friday I was listening to a media interview and it was Anthony Albanese leader of opposition but the question put to him was his thoughts on the Morrison government's initiative to provide grant funding to local governments to support shovel-ready projects which was a wonderful welcoming report and news release to local government.
During that conversation he talked about the need for infrastructure renewal and he then referred to climate change and bushfire relief and in his own words and I've tried to write it down verbatim he talked about acknowledgement of bush fires is climate change related. Government has conceded that climate change is a contributing factor to weather conditions and renewable forms of energy are critical we do need to take action. On the 16th of March this year our state government had declared a state of emergency. Now I know we're using the word emergency tonight and whether it be climate change emergency whether it be climate plan action the message is the same, we need to be seen as doing something now and we need to start at local level, we need to lead by example we need to say to our state and federal representatives that we are listening to our community, thank you.
Thank you councillor Hollingsworth, councillor Hurd I believe you had your hand up. Yes thank you thank you madam mayor look when I saw that motion and I don't think many of the people watching this meeting tonight would be aware about the circumstances under which we first found out about it in good faith last December I happy to agree to a climate action plan, I'd be happy to agree to many aspects of the motions we have tonight. The only problem was they only showed us the motion on Friday afternoon, so they gave us no time to talk to officers about how we can implement these things what budget ramifications there may be and all sorts of other issues.
Therefore I was really annoyed because I saw aspects of these motions that I could support I might not have have used the word state of emergency for legal reasons but I would certainly be used words such as a matter of urgency that we are about to reach a tipping point and I'm certainly committed to lowering omissions targets and hopefully having zero targets well before 2050 and the people I've spoken to in my ward are well aware of that in good faith I told those people that I'd be happy to develop a process with Council whereby we can move to something the like of which we are talking about and so what I do when I want to get a motion through Council as most councillors do is they talk to their colleagues about it.
We hear a petition we hear submissions and I thank the people who submitted to us tonight we hear those things and we go back and we talk and we talk to our communities more and we evolve a motion and we evolve a plan and we push the targets forward. The only reason people put a motion in like that on a Friday afternoon is to try and make themselves look good and the rest of us look bad but the fact of the matter is if if you think that that wasn't if the people watching think that that wasn't a political action well I've got an opera house to sell you in and I'll throw in a harbour bridge for five hundred bucks extra because it's a con.
This motion is a con. It's great in part and there are some parts I certainly agree with but we need to do much more than this around climate and I think our best hope is to have continuing dialogue and try and come up with something that is going to work and we speak to it we show our colleagues on council some respect and we talk to them about it and we we interact. Councillor Addis came to us in December and I've completely agreed and do agree with her that we need to take leadership in in climate related activities absolutely agree. But I think we can't just do some things in really broadly worded motions like that it's not the emergency so much part that bothers me it's some of the other parts of the motion about what officers are directed to do in the middle of a pandemic.
We've put enormous pressure on our officers during this pandemic period and so I've said to people that I've spoken to them happy to do something but we've just got to give officers a little bit of time to get over some really significant changes and that's the main reasons I won't be supporting these motions tonight but I'm certainly not ruling out I certainly agree that we are reaching a tipping point that we need urgent action that we need to develop with our community an understanding of these things because the last point I would make and I've been making this point since 2010 the biggest problem about climate stuff is that a lot of people still don't understand how it affects them, they don't understand what they can do it it's a matter of it and I know some people laugh at this but Julia Gillard was actually right when she wanted to have town hall meetings about climate action to educate the community because that is the biggest challenge and that's what councillor Healey pointed out as well as well as councillor Thompson.
I did think about trying to amend the motions to see if we could come up with something better it really wasn't the scope to do that and a couple of councillors and I had discussions but but we really can't come up with anything at this stage that's going to to make these work for officers and and be viable and as I said you know if you think that this wasn't a political stunt well I've got an opera house to sell you so I can't support this motion and I'd like to and it's such a wasted opportunity so I thank everybody for their presentations I support where you're going but we need to find a clearer way through this thank you.
Thank You councillor Hurd are there any other councillors who would like to speak this evening, councillor Sinfield. Thank You chair I won't be supporting the declaration of a climate emergency this evening as I feel that it is just political grandstanding you can tell it's an election year there's no doubt about that. Nor am I one for making big speeches and taking up time when we're here to make decisions decisions that are in the best interests of our one hundred and eighty thousand residents decisions that are in the best interests of our very limited financial resources I like to take re-election and I look for opportunities to take real steps to support our environment.
The petition put forward tonight of 3913 signatures represents 2% of our population here in Boroondara. If in fact the three thousand nine hundred and thirteen signatories are Boroondara residents they may or may not be and I'm not here to debate or dispute that. I will advocate in our community as I have done for my entire elected period for responsible environmental sustainability as councillor Ross alluded to before that sort of conversation in our community is very important.
Leadership through our own actions our own buildings our own projects and as the Proverbs say making sure that our own house is in good order and it's tidy is true leadership demonstrating true true leadership in that respect and good decision-making. As far as the fires are concerned I really don't want to to open up that can of worms too far but but perhaps if things like back burning and being responsible in the lead up to this year's fires had been permitted then perhaps some of them may have been more controllable that's up to the community to debate and to decide.
Now many years ago about two years ago I attempted to work towards alternatives to plastic straws in this council chamber but let me assure the community that I couldn't get support for that I couldn't get my colleagues who are here debating a climate emergency tonight to support the little steps that's really achievable working with our economic development team to work with our cafe and pub owners to take that little step to get rid of plastic straws and look at alternatives but no that wasn't enough of a political platform for anyone to jump on board but it was real and it was actionable so you know you you think that this isn't a political step well let's see.
So I disagree with the sentiments earlier that this is the role of local government it's not our Charter is very clear in the act what we should and shouldn't do and can and can't do leadership is is part of our role and as I said before taking those real steps to ensure our house is in good order is the way I'd like to start.
Boroondara has a long history of being environmentally responsible and sustainable and that was well before my time and I commend the CEO and the previous councils for taking those steps in years gone by and I've no doubt that Boroondara will continue to lead the way in real and environmental sustainability well into the future and well after my career here at Boroondara has ended. But for the time being I'm happy to stick to our Charter and lead in reelection and sound decision-making and I won't be supporting this notice of motion tonight thank you.
Thank You councillor Sinfield, councillor Wegman you indicated that you would like to speak. Thank you madam mayor after listening to everything including the submissions and despite all the comments that have been made subsequently by my colleagues I think we're kind of all in furious agreement in a way we all want a better future we all want action on climate plan and I think this argument I think what we're dealing with is means rather than ends and I think that what we should be looking at is well in essence sticking to the commitment we made to engage in a path forward to look at the action plan.
We we all committed to that and I think we are all committed to that and it's ongoing so I don't see a necessity to support either motion tonight and I've thought about it very carefully you look in summary we we all support a future I've got grandchildren I don't want to see a degraded future for them so in in the end let's give the officers the chance that we all committed to not that long ago and let's see where that takes us because I think in the end we will end up if not exactly at the same place then somewhere very very similar and so I would encourage my colleagues not to support the motions tonight but to continue with the plan that we've all committed to previously thank you madam mayor.
Thank You councillor Wegman, Councillor Parke. Thank You chair the the motion in my view is nothing but a cheap political stunt we find ourselves less than five months out from the election and like myself the mover of this motion has served on council for over seven years including 12 months as mayor of the city of Boroondara. If there was a an honest and a true and a fair dinkum desire to move a motion like this there's been ample opportunity the timing is gobsmacking and i endorse that all of the comments by those who've spoken against the motion tonight and I certainly will be voting against the motion.
This isn't the province of local government and if we're going to declare a climate emergency this week what's next week we going to declare war on China obviously we throwing aside the role and the responsibility of local government and going off on to a foray into territory that clearly isn't the responsibility of local government. I'm not sure when the mayor of Stonnington suddenly became qualified and worthy of quoting ad infinitum his background certainly isn't one as a scientist.
Nonetheless the the central point here is that we have shown leadership as a council for many years we have actually walked the walk and done more than simply played games and postures and quite frankly that's what matters it's our track record and this councils track record on the environment is second to none thank you.
Thank you councillor Parke, councillor Addis return to you as mover of the motion. Thank you very much madam mayor and thank you more to some than others for the comments of my colleagues but I've certainly listened carefully to everything that's been said. I think that to me what this is about is the inconsistency that I see between the actions Boroondara is taking to protect the environment as many have alluded to we are doing lots of things demonstrating how much we care but it seems that our language around this commitment is actually weaker than our actions and in my view declaring a climate emergency simply brings our talk in line with our walk our actions and hopefully such a direct declaration would motivate us to continue on this path and hopefully to do more.
A number of my colleagues spoke about how they believe that this declaration will somehow hinder our community from directing the change we see when we go out to consult with them but in a sense that's a completely different process a declaration it's not seeking to enact any actions and clearly they will come out of the consultation and likewise councillor Thompson spoke about desired actions and how we should be seeking these from our community and yes we should and declaring a climate emergency in no way stops our community from directing how we will enact any change.
I think further the motion I don't see anything in this motion that actually directs officers it's about a declaration not about directing people to behave in any way again that will come out of our consultation. A couple of councillors spoke in a away quite disparagingly about this being a political stunt, I can assure them that this isn't political for me I'm not actually very interested in politics but it seems quite ironic that if they're saying this is a political stunt it seems to imply that they think there are votes to be gained in this by declaring a climate emergency that I am seeking to gain votes and surely if they believe that that's consistent with saying the community would support such an action.
They seem to be saying that I'm doing this because I believe it will gain me votes well maybe it will maybe it won't but this is a moral stance. I liken this decision that we must make about declaring a climate emergency to that which all leaders have had to face with the corona virus pandemic and I'm struck by the contrast Australia's leaders listen carefully to the science they believed what they were saying and they acted accordingly and we all clearly understand the consequences of these different leadership styles and what it's meant for the different countries around the world.
I argue that in a crisis we need our leaders to act strongly and quickly and to set the standards for action. In Australia we've had to make some sacrifices and changes and our leaders have made tough and at times I guess unpopular decisions to protect us during this pandemic and in doing so they've saved many lives they've stopped many of us from dying and I believe that likewise declaring a climate emergency in the end will save many people from dying.
Leadership in the end is about working for the betterment of current and future generations and working to protect the environment is surely part of this. I request that we apply the same courageous and responsible leadership decision-making all governments have shown in recent times when dealing with the current pandemic threat. As councillors we speak on behalf of our community and our community has spoken to us about what they are seeking as councillor Hollingsworth said we it was one of the three top themes identified by our community when we consulted with them for the plan so supporting a motion to declare a climate emergency to me is an expression of our community's views and it does demonstrate strong and thoughtful leadership and so I commend this motion to my colleagues thank you.
Thank You councillor Addis I'll now put that motion to the vote all those in favour, so I note that councillor Ross, councillor Hollingsworth, and councillor Addis are in favour of the motion. All those against, councillor Healey, Councillor Hurd, councillor Parke, councillor Sinfield, councillor Thompson, councillor Wegman and I raise my hand and I am against the motion also. So I declare that motion has failed. I'd like to call for a division please. Alright now councillor Ross I have written down the votes so would passing this record over to mr. Thompson suffice no I'm getting a shake of her head that that is not acceptable. It needs to be redone again.
Alright I'll now put the motion to the vote for the purpose of a division all those in favour, that is councillor Ross, councillor Addis and councillor Hollingsworth. All those against its councillor Healey, councillor Hurd, councillor Parke, councillor Sinfield, councillor Thompson and councillor Wegman and myself councillor Watson I declare the motion has failed. Now mr. Thompson have you made a record of that division yep alright thank you very much.
Well now proceed on to the second notice of motion for this evening. Councillors we have received a second notice of motion being notice of motion number 51 again brought to us by councillor Addis. Councillor Addis is this your motion as printed before us. I believe so having read it in the minutes thank you can't see it on the screen. Just checking with governance to see if they're putting it up there we go we've got notice a motion number 51 up on the screen. I will need to wait for that to be taken down so that I can see the screen of councillors again so that I can see if we have a seconder for this motion this evening, is there a seconder for the motion. Councillor Hollingsworth thank you very much. Councillor Addis would you like to speak to your motion.
Thank You, ah excuse me councillor Addis just before you speak I'll just seek for my colleagues an expression of whether there is descent from this motion this evening yes we have some people against this particular motion. Councillor Addis if you'd like to speak to your motion please make sure you unmute yourself.
As was made abundantly clear my preference was to declare a climate emergency on behalf of the community and really that was as a marker of the urgency of crisis but for me this motion represents another opportunity to highlight the critical situation we are in. It simply asks that we consult with our community and specifically seek their views on declaring a climate emergency.
I understand that some of my colleagues are not comfortable with the terminology perhaps not comfortable with the words climate or emergency but really in the end this motion simply seeks to ask our community what they think of the words and whether we should use them. It would seem puzzling to me that anyone would oppose saying to the community look this is what's being put to a sizeable number of people but please tell us what you think are these words that matter to you so really this is simply about seeking the community's views and it doesn't in any way hinder the community from directing us if it asks them their thoughts about a declaration but the major bit of the process will to be asked to be about asking them for what they would like to see as actions.
So it's just a small bit of it but it seems like a simple and unreasonable thing to say to them you know what do you think we want to know your views so on that basis and I commend the motion to my colleagues thank you.
Thank you councillor Addis is there anyone else seeking to speak to the motion this evening, councillor Hurd. I'm not seeking to speak for the motion although it's better than the other one but it's effectively saying we'll have a climate emergency inquiry to see whether there's a people think there's a climate emergency which the question suggests the answer and in law we call that a leading question look I don't want to go back to the first motion but my objections to the second one are similar.
I have no problems with with climate action or even the words climate emergency I have a problem with the way this has been brought about before council and the very fact that a division was called illustrates the political nature of this. The people who brought this motion knew these motions knew they wouldn't succeed they knew all along they wouldn't succeed and what you really want to try and do within this council is try and talk to people and the community to get where we agree not just throw motions up to effectively try and make your colleagues look like they're less politically correct line than you are and and if you're really serious about getting these things through that's what you do I've had to do it all my life as a person who is blind to try and gradually bring people around to seeing that blind people are capable we're not just dependent and useless that we are capable viable employees and human beings.
It takes time and it takes strategy to do this it takes strategic thinking and I think that's what these motions have lacked and that's my main objection because we asked them and they go nowhere other than confuse officers and and confuse us about confuse people about a process that we've already set up. So my objections are are still valid for these for this particular motion so I can't support it I'm afraid.
Thank you Councillor Hurd now I saw Councillor Healey's hand go up and then councillor Thompson I do note that you are following. Councillor Healey. Thank you madam chair look the problems with this motion come in two parts. The first part is in that notice of motion 49 we already committed to committing to the budgetary process for undertaking a consultation so this is somewhat repetitive or redundant.
If people want to see whether this comes through well I suggest probably the week after next we probably have the council budget being put on display sent out for community consultation. If notice of motion 49 is delivered then people will see the line item in the budget so it's somewhat redundant. Council made its commitment in notice of motion 49 I can't see why it wouldn't be delivered.
The second part of this is the way that you run consultation I spoke about it a little bit earlier now madam mayor you attended a function with me not long after you were first elected as a councillor we went to the community participation program or partnerships program run by the state government. State governments through the minister Lily D'Ambrosio put up a whole heap of concepts of what they wanted us to tell them was important and really they started at the second level of the consultation.
The design of our consultation on a climate action plan was to start with a blank page except for what do you want the climate action plan for Boroondara to look like and other than that it makes no preconceptions. So it's just as valid in my view to start a proper community participatory process around consultation and engagement to start that conversation with the community to engage as many and hopefully come to take the politics that has been referred to out of what is the climate emergency because I think it has been politicized across Australia we can come to a consensus through a discussion in our community and bring back the results of that like we did with the community plan which by the way has been adopted by the state government to say and model for how you do consultation and in that it might have that we have climate emergency plan. Do I need to hold madam mayor.
No just seeing that councillor Ross is having some difficulty. Do you want me to hold on. Councillor Ross are you alright? My battery is running out I'm just looking for the charger. Alright councillor Ross is just looking for a charger I believe councillor Healey it's ok to keep proceeding sorry will resolve this.
Okay thank you so you know in my view there'd be no reason why the community consultation someone might not bring up the idea of carbon neutrality and whether or not we could run some numbers on what it would take to become carbon neutral and then refer to that community consultation and say you know this is our budget this is what cost to become carbon neutral do you want to do it how far do you want to go.
That can all be part of a consultative process and hopefully one that comes to a consensus. I think there will be outliers in that process there will be people who who want maximum climate and environmental action there will be others who don't want any and there'll be a big group in the middle and perhaps finding that consensus helps Council and going through that process won't be easy and this is where I think the leadership really is so you have to start this process with a blank page for it to work.
Trying to predict what should go in is the wrong way to start this process. Let the community tell us what they want in there and then we'll work through it with them like we did with the other plan and we will come to a very good result I'm confident in the Boroondara community and I'm confident in the councillors of the day to do what that plan asks of the community. I fellow councillors to not support this notice of motion.
Thank you councillor Healey, councillor Thompson you indicated that you'd like to speak.
Thank you madam mayor yes without doubt obviously this has been quite political tonight and obviously the line in the sand has been drawn by the division, but needless to say Councillors I will support this motion that's before us because it is harmless. Simply just asking our community what they think. Our community could turn around and say we don't like it one little bit and that's part of that participatory conversation that we will have with them.
I think it's right to ask the question and I very much look forward to the actual consultation process on the Boroondara Climate Action Plan I think we can all roll our sleeves up and really get out to work out the finer details of how we actually feel and out of that will come the great things that we can be in step with our community because we will all have a shared vision on this.
This topic will continue to keep coming up and we may as well take it as part of this Climate Action Plan and ask the questions so I will be supporting this and even before we actually start the Climate Action Plan consultation I will be asking the community myself what they feel about council declaring a climate emergency.
Thank You councillor Thompson. Is there anyone else wishing to speak to the motion tonight. Councillor Hollingsworth, Councillor Sinfield I saw councillor Wegman after that so councillor Hollingsworth.
Thank you madam mayor as the seconder of the motion would you like me to speak last. No you can speak whenever you feel so moved to do so would you like to speak now or later you can put your hand up to do it later. I'll do it later thank you.
Alright councillor Sinfield. Thank you madam mayor. As councillor Thompson just alluded to he'll be asking this question of his community from now on I have been and it's something that I discussed with with various constituents and members of our community from time to time and I haven't felt compelled by an overwhelming number of constituents to raise this through a notice of motion or even a discussion with my colleagues because the people that I have spoken to don't feel that it is the place of local government to be doing this it's been in the media it's been spoken about over the last six months or more.
The process is already underway as colleagues have already mentioned to consult our community in to form an action plan and I think that this notice of motion number 51 is is the poor cousin of notice of motion number 50 the consolation prize and will we get number 52 next council meeting and number 53 thereafter and keep on putting it on the table as we get closer to the election I fear that that may be the case.
Officer time I feel it is better spent on taking action on how we can improve our own environmental sustainability and I would much sooner see our officers brainstorming amongst their teams on what we can do to improve what we can do to improve projects that are shovel-ready what we can do to improve our oldest of buildings that I sit in tonight and and things like the Hawthorn town halls that that have largely been brought up to speed environmentally and have various different things fitted to them be the solar panels or water saving measures and alike.
I don't think that officer time should be spent consulting our community on this and preparing summaries of their responses when we have another process running in parallel. So I will leave my comments there and I will not be supporting this notice of motion which I feel is also grandstanding and such.
Thank You councillor Sinfield, councillor Wegman. Thank you madam mayor. This all smacks a bit unfortunately to me smacks a bit of wedged politics. All this stuff sounds innocuous but it really doesn't contribute anything to anything in my opinion. Leadership is about doing the right thing not the easy thing I think it would be easy to support the motion again I would encourage my colleagues to follow the path that we've all agreed that we're going to move along and not usurp it for whatever purposes. In the end we all want to end up at the same place let's give what we've all agreed to a proper go thank you madam mayor.
Thank you councillor Wegman. Madam mayor point of order if I may. Yes councillor Healey what's your point of order. Just curious the order of speakers I think is the mover then the seconder and the seconder can't speak at any time. I'll just seek some advice from mr Thompson. Councillor Healey advice from mr. Thompson is that under our meeting procedure local law it's the discretion of the chair and I have chosen to exercise that discretion tonight and allow the seconder of the motion and any motions to speak when they so desire or not speak should they so desire. Mr. Thompson is looking up the particular section. I just will note it's different to the last few meetings we had chair but that's okay it's your discretion. Thank you.
Councillor Ross. Thank you madam mayor I'm conscious that the seconder did want to speak and I'm not sure if anybody else has put their hand up but I would like to speak. I'm in support of this motion we are going out to the community as part of the community action plan but it what this is doing is is actually saying a particular question which would form part of that. A lot of councillors have said previously that they wanted to ask the community and they want to engage with the community so all this is just doing is saying that one of the questions that we should put to our community is would you support a climate action plan and really it is the right thing to do to make sure that this is a question which is asked of the community just to make sure it is done.
If councillors have an issue with notices a motion and the timing of notices of motion then we should look to change the timings of notice of motion. The local law says when notices of motion can be submitted and if that is an issue and a problem then let's change the time and make it that the notices of motion need to be submitted earlier but at the moment it details in our local law when notices of motion should be submitted.
But very happy to support this notice of motion because it clearly just articulates it's one of the questions that we want to put to the community just one of the many things that we want to talk to the community just to make sure that we don't miss this. So I will be supporting this notice of motion.
Thank You councillor Ross. Is there anyone else wishing to speak to the motion, I see no hands. Councillor Hollingsworth you'd like to speak now. Thank you madam and thank you for your indulgence in allowing me to speak. A couple of points that I want to touch on which I believe are very important first of all this issue is certainly not tokenistic and it's not election related the election is five months away and I believe the reason why councillor Addis has tabled this to be heard tonight is because of the urgency of the matter because of the recent events because we've been through a pandemic because we have actually committed to our climate action plan but because of catastrophic events that have happened since December in fact that were leading up even prior to December and the the series of events that's happened.
That is what's escalated bringing this forward so it's not a notice of motion that is to grandstand politicize or win votes it's a motion that's being put forward because it's of the belief there is a real concern and the local government do have a role in addressing it. Now I know many other municipalities have I don't understand why it would be appropriate for others and not for Boroondara and I don't think that representing the best interest of the community of the community that has come and spoken to us is doing anything that is inappropriate.
Now I've listened to all councillors comments and I value and appreciate everything that's been said I'm in a different situation in the Lynden ward I have a strong community that feels very very powerful about climate change and impacts of climate change so I have spoken to numerous school groups I have spoken to community groups resident groups individuals I've been approached a lot so I know that I am speaking from what I am hearing from our community and I was elected by the Lynden ward to put forward their voice and be a representative of matters that are important to them so that's what I'm doing here tonight.
Other matters notice of motion they're not uncommon they're not frequent but they're not uncommon and by submitting the notice of motion on Friday is within the guidelines providing adequate time to councillors to review and consider the agenda item listed. Amended motions are not uncommon from time to time things develop within the realm of council where we don't always have the luxury of giving extended advanced notice of what is wanted to be listed to be heard but nonetheless every time there is a notice of motion or an amended motion the person that is putting that call or believes there is great urgency or great importance to that and I support councillor Addis for her merits in doing this.
I also wanted to respond to councillor Wegman's comments I don't believe that the intent is to usurp the climate action plan I believe the intent is to just fast-track it again based on what's happening within the environment in recent time. And finally I just want to close on our council community plan I still believe that climate action is something that was flagged by our community back in 2016-17 and there are very numerous strategic points that have been listed all of them we have acted on the final one is actually leading our community in to climate action climate action plan.
We have built a community capacity to live in a sustainable and efficient and energy and water resource recovery renewal energy generation. We are reducing the amount of general waste we are doing our best to reduce the carbon footprint we are ticking all the boxes of what the community has asked us to do I know councillor Parke mentioned earlier that Boroondara has an excellent reputation and I agree 100% we're very fortunate to have a a wonderful CEO and highly intelligent officers that put together a process that Boroondara can adopt and work and be sustainable.
And new buildings that we are working on projects that are flagged to be constructed in the near future have been designed with the focus of being as energy efficient as possible as clean energy efficient as possible so we are consciously doing what we're setting out to do every day, but we're also listening to the community at the same time and they're saying to us they would like us to do more.
And I think a petition signed by close to 4,000 people is a good indication that that is the voice of the community. I thank you for listening I only just want to in closing make a comment that while we're a community now of approximately 180,000 people when we look to 2027 which is what our 2017-2027 plan encompasses we will be closer to a community of 200,000. We're a community of 6,000 hectares we're a community that is becoming more and more dense as we have growth in the area we need to be consciously aware of what else we can do to help improve and prevent and mitigate the impacts of climate change and I thank you for listening.
Thank You Councillor Hollingsworth, councillor Parke. Thank You mayor I have to take issue with some of the comments made by councillor Hollingsworth the notion that to use her words extended advance notice couldn't be given well nobody's actually asked for extended advance notice whatever that might be but quite frankly I'm told by a very reliable source that councillors Addis, Ross and Hollingsworth actually had extensive conversations about this proposed course of action last week and I don't know if any other councillors were involved or asked or had their views sought I know I certainly wasn't approached and I think quite frankly it's disingenuous when we've got a situation right down to they've figured out amongst themselves who'll second which motion to then suggest that this isn't about grandstanding.
Madam mayor I have to say that my understanding and I thought I had a reasonable grasp of the English language perhaps not but my understanding of the word emergency and what's constituted by that it's very different apparently to the understanding some of my colleagues have because quite frankly how can something be an emergency if you wait more than seven and a half years after your election to raise this. Although perhaps I'm looking at from the wrong end perhaps the emergency is that the elections fast closing I don't know but either way this is a political stunt and I particularly endorse the comments made by councillor Hurd and by councillor Wegman and I certainly will not be supporting this motion.
Thank You councillor Parke before I return to the mover Councillor Addis I would like to speak to the motion. The first part of the motion I believe is completely redundant we passed motion 49 notice of motion 49 I was the mover of that motion concerning the climate action plan. It was very detailed in terms of what we hope to achieve and clearly set out to our community that we wanted to have a discussion and so therefore I don't know why we are putting forward a motion that really has been covered off in a previous motion so section 1 I believe is redundant.
Section two I'm quite uncomfortable with the directing of officers when it comes to creating a conversation with the community. I follow the thinking of councillor Healey in this respect I believe we start with a clean sheet and with transparency the officers apply their minds to this based on their dealings with community and also the research available. For councillors to start directing and telling officers what can and can't be put in surveys I think can lead to a creation of other certain bias because as councillor Hurd pointed out in the law it's called a leading question and I believe that if we go and starting to say we're going to have a discussion with our community and this is what we want discussed it's not a full and frank conversation that it needs to have where we suspend our biases we look for the best officer advice and so when we when we approached the Boroondara community plan while I wasn't on Council I'll rely on the institutional knowledge of councillors from the previous council but it is my understanding that went forward in a way that was not micromanaged by councillors to say I want you to ask X and I want you to ask why.
So I trust that the officers will come up with a way of consulting with our community that will enable them to frankly share their views with us and as expressed by other councillors I trust the wisdom of the Boroondara community I have every intention of listening and actioning what it is that they tell and direct us to do.
I believe that that really does encapsulate the role of local councillors to listen to their community and the form of listening is very very important and I think that councillors directing that form taints and skews it and so therefore I feel intensely uncomfortable with supporting the second part of the motion. So therefore I will not be supporting the motion tonight.
I'd like to now return to councillor Addis as the mover of the motion. Thank you very much madam mayor. It puzzles me why people are finding what seems to me a very simple consultation process why they're characterizing it as so complex when we go out to consult with our community we typically ask them a number of questions to help clarify their thoughts so that's the the quantitative aspect of a survey we then typically throw it open and ask for more qualitative comments.
So two questions in amongst a range of quantitative questions seems to me perfectly reasonable and doesn't need to be characterized as as leading people, I fail to see how that puts a burden on our officers it seems to me a very little thing to ask. I wanted to address a couple of things the 2013 Act actually provides the following definition of emergency and what are amongst other things it means it states that it an emergency is due to the actual or imminent occurrence of an event which in any way endangers or threatens to endanger the safety of a poor health of any person in Victoria or which destroys or damages or threatens to destroy or damage any property in Victoria or endangers or threatens to endanger the environment or an element of the environment in Victoria.
So I think those words can explain and can legitimize that this is an emergency. It seems to fit with the definition and it certainly seems to fit in with the communities understanding of what an emergency is. I think it's really quite offensive of some of my colleagues to characterize the motivations I and a couple of other people have had in taking this action they can speak for their own motivations but they have absolutely no right and no knowledge of what my motivations are and I would ask them to exercise appropriate behaviour they can talk about what their motivations are but they have absolutely no right to talk about what my motivations are only I know them.
And again why would I expect my colleagues not to support this. The community the community's views that I've heard would clearly support it and likewise why would I expect my colleagues to be so different from councillors in surrounding municipalities who had apparently no difficulty with these sorts of actions about declaring climate emergencies and asking their community what they think.
And just in closing it was mentioned that leadership is about doing the right thing not the easy thing well clearly for me this isn't an easy thing this is about doing the right thing and essentially it is about seeking our community's views and that for me and a number of my colleagues is the right thing thank you.
Thank You councillor Addis. I'll now put that motion to the vote all those for, councillor Ross, councillor Addis, councillor Thompson and councillor Hollingsworth. All those against, councillor Parke, councillor Sinfield, councillor Wegman, councillor Hurd, councillor Healey, and myself councillor Watson. I declare the motion failed.
Moving on now to item 7 on the agenda which is the presentation of officers reports so item 7.1 is the March 2020 quarterly performance report and I believe we'll have a presentation from mr. Greg Hall. Through you madam chair. The quarterly performance report for March 2020 provides detailed reporting on the financial and non-financial performance against both the budget and the council plan for the year.
As per the Local Government Act Council provides a quarterly report on the performance of council. The March QPR includes the period of time primarily before the occurrence of the COVID-19 outbreak and hence does not reflect any of the associated impacts. However as at March 31 annual commitments were on track with a 16% already completed at that date.
Councils operating result was ahead of budget due to a 1% above budget revenue result and a 2% below budget expenditure result. On the balance sheet council's financial position and liquidity are strong. The officers recommendation is to receive and note the quarterly performance report for March 2020 thank you.
Thank You mr. Hall councillors is there any questions for mr. Hall this evening, there being none then I'm in search for a motion, councillor Parke thank you very much for that, is there a seconder, councillor Healey. Councillor Parke would you like to speak to the motion this evening. I think it speaks for itself Mayor so I have nothing further to add. Thank you very much. Is there anyone in opposition to the motion tonight my apologies for not asking sooner, there being none Councillor Parke you said that it speaks for itself so therefore with your indulgence I'll put that motion to the vote. All those in favour I declare the motion carried.
So councillors we've now come to the next item which is item 7.2 the councils membership with the Victorian local governance Association and as indicated previously I need to declare a conflict of interest because I have a direct interest in the matter in accordance with section 77B of the Local Government Act in item 7.2 which is the item tonight I am a board member of the V LGA and have a direct connection with the matter that is if the matter is decided in any particular way I am reasonably likely to be directly affected and my circumstances directly altered. So I will now temporarily vacate the chair.
Councillors because the mayor has temporarily vacated the chair because of conflict of interest we need to elect a temporary chairperson. I therefore call for nominations for the position of temporary chairperson. Councillor Hollingsworth. Thank You mr. Thompson I nominate councillor Addis as the prior Mayor chair. Is there a seconder. Councillor Healey. Are there any further nominations, there being no further nominations I declare councillor Addis elected as temporary chairperson.
Councillor Addis would you please assume the chair. If you just bear with us a minute councillors councillor Addis is making her way to the chair. Thank you very much colleagues I'm sorry about the delay we had to do a quick disinfect of the headphones given the current pandemic situation. So look thank you everyone I'll now pass over to mr. David Thompson. Councillor Addis we can't see you. Are we right now. Thank you you can hear me thank you. I'll now pass over to mr. David Thompson manager of governance to present on the VLTA membership thank you.
Thank You councillor Addis councillors before you tonight is a report for your consideration as to whether or not Council should renew its membership with the Victorian local governance Association. Council has received a request to renew its VLGA membership for 2020/21 at a cost of thirty-seven thousand seven hundred and sixty dollars excluding GST. The VLGA has not increased membership fees for the 2020/21 period.
There are 79 councils in Victoria 46 councils are members of the VLGA including 25 of 31 metropolitan councils. The council benefits of the VLGA membership are set out at appendix two pages 12 and 13 of your business papers. An increasing organizational focus on the Municipal Association of Victoria as the primary peak body and advocate representing the interests of the sector is reflected in a continued trend towards a minimal officer participation in the VLGA activities.
Officers of the view that council needs for representation advocacy and support can be met by the Municipal Association of Victoria and therefore the direct benefits the VLGA membership are not sufficient on their own to justify the ongoing membership subscription fees. Officers are therefore recommending to council not to renew membership of the VLGA thank you.
Thank you mr. Thompson. Councillors are there any questions for officers, councillor Hurd you have your hand up. Yes thank you councillor Addis I don't have a question I have a motion when ready. Thank You councillor Hurd are there any other questions from Councillor's, I can't see any others no hands up so councillor Hurd would you'd like to put your motion.
Thank You councillor Addis I'd like to move the officers recommendation as printed please. Thank you and I see councillor Parke's hand up I think he was the next are you seconding councillor Parke, yes chair. Thank you very much just to assist councillor Hurd and Councillor Parke is there anyone who's opposed to the motion, Councillor Ross you're opposed, thank you. Councillor Hurd as the mover would you like to speak to the motion.
Yes councillor Addis I would I didn't hear the beep saying I'm unmuted some I'm presuming people can hear me. Look I've always been half-and-half about VLGA but my concern is is many some of the things that the reason the organisation was originally set up some of the things in the officers reports some of the material that's coming out of them at the moment I think it should be an individual decision about whether a council wants to be a member I received like many did an email last week telling me to tap on the shoulder any women for council as I don't tap people on the shoulders to become a councillor women men or or people from Mars because I don't undermine my colleagues.
I think their diversity policy is is basically a lot like other areas of local government in the MAV very gender focused it's not diversity focused around people with disabilities it's got so bad that when the Minister announced the local government elections he said we want to encourage diversity like women and carers, well carers are people like Leanne who's very helpful for me who empowers a person with a disability like me to be on council and there are more people in the world than women and I think that I'm concerned that I used to be very supportive of the VLGA but I'm concerned that their agenda has become very narrow and it doesn't really reflect my aspirations as a councillor so for that and the officers reasons I'm supporting this motion.
Thank You councillor Hurd, councillor Parke as the seconder would you like to speak now. Yes thank you I'll be brief I've actually spoken against renewing council's membership of the VLGA in the past and I've maintained that position my view is that being members of one peak body is more than enough and of course at significant expense we are members of the MAV I don't believe that we need to duplicate that expense by continuing membership of VLGA which in my view are in the time that I served as a councillor in the last seven and a half years has increasingly lost its focus and lost its way and in my view the time is right to part ways with that organization.
I don't know what its future holds I think that there'll be many councils considering that very same action and certainly in terms of value for money there is little or none so I'd encourage my colleagues to support the motion thank you.
Thank you councillor Parke councillor Ross you presumably would like to speak. I will be brief as you know that I'm the president of the MAV so I do find that rather difficult thing to say that we should cease to be members of another peak body within local government. I mean that VLGA has a very rich history in in its support of in social justice and certainly that is an area which it has continued to to advocate very strongly so and they're very strong on their campaigns gambling or anti gambling. So I would be happy for us to continue with our membership with the VLGA.
Thank You councillor Ross, councillor Healey you'd like to speak. Yes thank you madam chair. I read the officers report I concur with the officers report but I went and spoke to one or more board members who also concur with officers report so I think the time is now to withdraw the VLGA focuses on things that I think are well outside the benefit of the people of Boroondara and so you look at the return on investment and this is something that we're not getting any tangible return on and I think the officers made the right call and happy to support the motion.
Thank You councillor Healey now I can't see any other hands up with people wanting to speak so I'll hand back to the mover councillor Hurd to wrap up. Thank you I won't add any more to it I think what has been said has been said so thank you chair. Thank you very much so I'll now put the motion all those in favour okay so we've got councillor Wegman, we have councillor Sinfield, councillor Parke, councillor Hollingsworth, councillor Hurd, councillor Thompson, councillor Healey, and me councillor Addis. And those against councillor Ross. So I'll declare that motion carried Thank You councillors.
Councillors and members of the community councillor Addis will now vacate the chair and we will bring councillor Watson the mayor back to resume the chairing of the meeting just bear with us one moment please.
Thank You councillor Addis for conducting that section of business. Item eight councillors is general business are there any items of general business this evening, there be no items of general business are there any items of urgent business, there being no items of urgent business we will now proceed to item 10 and we do have an item of confidential business this evening and because this is an item of confidential business concerning the appointment to an audit committee could I please have a motion to close the council meeting to the public in accordance with section 66 2a and the definition confidential information section 3 of the Local Government Act to consider item 10.1 which is the appointment to the audit committee.
Because of personal information and the disclosure of which would result in unreasonable disclosure of information about the audit committee members personal affairs being appointment to and continued involvement with the Audit Committee. Councillor Addis are you prepared to move that motion thank you very much. And councillor Thompson you prepared second that motion thank you very much. And is there any opposition to this motion this evening, there be none then I declare the motion carried and the council meeting is now closed to the public.
So for those members of the community who have been watching tonight's proceedings we are now going to take you offline and I thank you for participating in viewing the meeting so far. When we have determined this matter we will bring you back online but for now we will shut it down so it's goodbye for now.
Just waiting for the go ahead here, alright all good Thank You members of the community who've been watching tonight's proceedings and welcome back to the council meeting. We've now arrived at the conclusion and there is no further business to be transacted so I declare the council meeting closed. Thank you very much for those who participated and watched this evening and to the councillors who contributed to quite a vigorous debate this evening so thank you very much and good night.