GUNNEDAH Shire Council has voted not to endorse a letter detailing the positive effects of mining on the local community, after a number of councillors expressed their concerns about the industry's impact on climate change.
The proposed submission to the Inquiry into the prudential regulation of Investment in Australia's export industries was the subject of a motion by councillor Owen Hasler, who suggested council only receive and note the report.
The initial motion recommended it also be endorsed, but Cr Hasler's motion eventually won four votes to two.
Cr Colleen Fuller seconded the successful motion, while councillors Ann Luke and David Moses also supported it; deputy mayor Rob Hooke and Cr Campbell opposed it, while councillors Jamie Chaffey, Murray O'Keefe and Gae Swain declared a conflict of interest and did not take part in the discussion.
The coal industry is set to be a major part of the inquiry, and while Cr Hasler doesn't deny it provides benefits to the shire, he urged his colleagues to think on a broader and more long-term scale.
"It ignores the fact this topic is extremely important not only to our nation but internationally and any community from many countries that adopt policies on climate change and the use of fossil fuels going forward," he said.
While we realise it is important to the Gunnedah community, the Gunnedah community is part of the wider community and the wider community, from the communication I have witnessed, supports the fact that alternative energy sources are the way of the future."
He pointed to Prime Minister Scott Morrison's recent comments which further hinted that Australia would commit to net zero carbon emissions by 2050 as an example of the changing attitude.
Cr Hasler also said that he didn't believe such a report should be supported by council without consultation from local residents.
"There would be no way that I would, on this particular topic, be prepared to support something... without any consultation with the community on a subject that is quite controversial."
His comments followed a community presentation at the beginning of the meeting by Breeza's Peter Wills, who said the proposed submission was too one sided and only looked at the positives of mining in the area.
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