Fresh back from the annual Local Government NSW Conference, Bellingen Shire mayor, Dominic King, said he felt the shire had made its mark, having seen its two motions, to declare a Climate Emergency and to highlight the urgent need for biodiversity conservation in NSW, passed by the delegates.
"The climate emergency vote was very close and there was certainly some resistance but it was great to see it passed," Cr King said.
"Something like this absolutely can make a difference, because just like having a drug or alcohol problem, the first step is to recognise that there is a problem.
That Local Government NSW declares that we are in a state of climate emergency that requires urgent action by all levels of governmentMotion to LG conference
"From here we can make strategic plans to, for example, support regenerative farming and offer funding to help farmers transition from the old industrial style of farming. The same goes for logging.
"There is no doubting the fires we saw in Dorrigo recently were 'out of the ordinary' ... we are all seeing the effects of extreme weather. Sadly the resistance is political, and from the very councils out west who are running out of drinking water."
He said the biodiversity issue was another that could not be ignored:
"We recognise it in our own experiences - look at the threats to the Upper Kalang, look at the flying foxes that are struggling to survive ... we need to make sure we are leading the way in planning for solutions.
That Local Government NSW recognises the crisis in biodiversity in NSW and the escalating economic, social and environmental impacts, especially in rural and regional areasAnother BSC motion
"Ten years from now it will be shown that we were right to do this."
Cr King said taking action to find solutions was what he did.
"This is what I have to do - and I will fight for as long as I can ... and yes, I will be running for re-election next year, and yes, I will be standing for mayor."
The Local Government NSW annual conference is the policy-making event for NSW general-purpose councils and associate members. It is the pre-eminent event of the local government year where councillors come together to share ideas and debate issues that shape the way we are governed.