Weather. Flooding on the Tweed River in Chinderah in northern NSW. Picture: NIGEL HALLETT
Weather. Flooding on the Tweed River in Chinderah in northern NSW. Picture: NIGEL HALLETT

Are rate rises on the cards as a result of climate change?

 "We keep getting hammered by storm events."

The constant battering down the hatches and cost of local clean ups is what has motivated Tweed Shire Council mayor Chris Cherry to join 17 mayors across Queensland and New South Wales to call upon the Federal Government to urgently take action on climate change.

The statement asks the Federal Government to provide support by further reducing our reliance on fossil fuels, and investing in clean industries that create regional jobs, unlocking business investment and spurring technological innovation.

Cr Cherry said local councils have been the ones to bear the cost each time there is a serious weather event.

 

Tweed mayor Chris Cherry. Picture: Liana Boss
Tweed mayor Chris Cherry. Picture: Liana Boss

"We had the December floods we just had, that cost council in terms of repairing roads and bridges, $2.6 million," Cr Cherry said.

"The one before was $3.5 million.

"They might not be big events but they cost council and the rate payers every time they happen."

She said the costs of each event isn't just the repair, but the loss of work in particular industries.

"Every time the flood has impact on our dishing industry, a big impact on our other farmers, all the small crop farmers," she said.

Signatories from the Northern Rivers include Byron Shire mayor Simon Richardson and Lismore Shire councillor Elly Bird.

Cr Cherry said there had been some support from the state government with the voluntary house purchases to remove people from flood prone areas, however herself along with the other mayors were looking for more leadership from the federal government.

Without it, she said ratepayers would be the ones to bare the grunt of the cost.

 

Storm clouds over Mt Warning seen from Byron Bay. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Steve Holland
Storm clouds over Mt Warning seen from Byron Bay. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Steve Holland

"There's not much choice but to pass that cost on," she said.

"We haven't increased our rates - but into the future its going to cost exponentially more so we really need to consider it."

Expert support

Flooding on the Tweed River in Chinderah in northern NSW. Picture: NIGEL HALLETT
Flooding on the Tweed River in Chinderah in northern NSW. Picture: NIGEL HALLETT

 

Climate Council researcher Dr Simon Bradshaw said there was no doubt communities had suffered economic damage as a result of climate-driven extreme weather disasters.

"All types of extreme weather events - storms, coastal erosion, flooding, bushfires, heatwaves and drought - are influenced by climate change," Dr Bradshaw said.

" Australian communities are already paying the price, with the past twelve months seeing a devastating run of extreme weather disasters.

"Extreme weather has cost our national economy at least $35 billion over the past decade.

And it's going to get worse - by 2038, the price tag of climate impacts could climb to $100 billion a year."

Director of Cities Power Partnership Dr Portia Odell said local governments were on the front lines of climate

impacts and needed more support.

"We can no longer leave it to vulnerable communities and local governments to spend millions to fix the damages of delay on climate action," said Dr Odell.

"The Federal Government must act urgently to phase out fossil fuels and instead invest in clean industries that create regional jobs and protect communities from costly climate shocks."

SES Tweed City Unit working to contain flood waters in the northern NSW town of Tumbulgum. Picture: SES, Source: NSW State Emergency Service, Bathurst
SES Tweed City Unit working to contain flood waters in the northern NSW town of Tumbulgum. Picture: SES, Source: NSW State Emergency Service, Bathurst

 

Full list of 17 signatories:

NSW

Jo Dodds, Councillor, Bega Valley Shire Council

Dominic King, Mayor, Bellingen Shire Council

Simon Richardson, Mayor, Byron Shire Council

John Connors, Mayor, Dungog Shire

James Thomson, Councillor, Eurobodalla Shire Council

Mark Honey, Mayor, Kiama Municipal Council

Elly Bird, Councillor, Lismore City Council

Claire Pontin, Deputy Mayor, Midcoast Council

Ken Keith, Mayor, Parkes Shire Council

Marianne Saliba, Mayor, Shellharbour City Council

Amanda Findley, Mayor, Shoalhaven City Council

Chris Cherry, Mayor, Tweed Shire Council

Greg Conkey, Mayor, City of Wagga Wagga

Duncan Gair, Mayor, Wingecarribee Shire Council

Gordon Bradbery AM, Lord Mayor, Wollongong City Council

QLD

Abigail Noli, Councillor, Douglas Shire Council

Brian Stockwell, Councillor, Noosa Shire Council

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