Calls for council to divest from fossil-fuel industry, again
From divesting from fossil fuel-related projects to a housing affordability strategy, here are five motions that will be presented to Ballina Shire Council in this week’s meeting:
1. Divestment from fossil fuel:
Councillor Jeff Johnson has moved a motion for Ballina Council to stop investing in financial institutions that support the fossil fuel industry.
A similar motion was approved by council in November 2015, also by Cr Johnson.
In December 2015, 57 per cent of council’s investments were with institutions that were considered to be fossil fuel aligned.
In November 2020, five years after the Ballina Council formally resolved to divest, it had 64 per cent of its investments with fossil fuel aligned institutions.
“Ballina, along with all coastal communities will be significantly impacted by sea level rise and the predicted increase in the severity of storms and tidal surge. We are already seeing many streets on Ballina Island and beyond being partially submerged during king tides,” Cr Johnson said in his submission.
Ballina Council staff responded in the council papers in regards to this motion point to the way this could be achieved.
“Council will need to substantially amend the risk parameters in the current Investments Policy to achieve the target of 100 per cent of the investment portfolio being invested in non-fossil fuel aligned institutions,” they said.
2. Fossil Fuel Divestment – LGNSW and ALGA:
Cr Jeff Johnson has also submitted a secondary motion for the Ballina Council to submit to the next Local Government NSW (LGNSW) and the Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) conferences.
The motion would call to LGNSW, ALGA and other local government State Associations, to develop a joint campaign and strategy to encourage all councils across Australia to place their investments and loans with non-fossil fuel aligned banking institutions.
The NSW State Government yourcouncil website (www.yourcouncil) states that
for 2018/19 NSW councils held $13.5 billion in cash and investments
3. Cumbalum Interchange:
This motion by Cr Phil Meehan wants the council to request a meeting with the Minister for Transport and Roads NSW Andrew Constance.
The meeting would focus on discussing “the construction of north (off) and south (on) ramps at the Cumbalum – Pacific Motorway interchange.”
In his motion to council, Cr Meehan said a full interchange should have occurred with the initial interchange construction and is now urgently needed for reasons of public
safety, drive time and road congestion.
“Motorists continue to do illegal and dangerous U-turns on the
motorway heading north, in order to exit at the interchange,” he said.
4. Housing Affordability Strategy:
A motion by Cr Ben Smith suggested that council creates a consultative group, consisting of key housing stakeholders, to inform the development of its housing affordability strategy.
The strategy is an action in Council’s 2020/21 Operational Plan.
“The intention of this motion is to do that as part of the existing proposed Housing
Affordability Strategy, with a potential outcome of creating something similar to
the Port Ballina Taskforce in the long term, to actively meet and work with other
stakeholders in the shire who are also working towards the same outcome,” Cr Smith said in his submission.
5. Bulwinkel Park, Alstonville:
Cr Sharon Cadwallader has submitted a motion for council replacing of the existing structure at Bulwinkel Park.
The proposal requests council to use $25,000 from the $382,000 allocated to community halls, facilities, BBQs and shade shelters, through the Local Roads and Community Infrastructure (LRCI) Program, to remove of the existing structure and provision of a new shelter and seating at Bulwinkel Park, Alstonville.
The council will discuss these and other matters this Thursday at its monthly ordinary meeting.