A WAGGA councillor's contentious bid to declare a climate emergency in the city has gained traction after her motion won support at tonight's meeting.
It was almost two weeks ago when Councillor Vanessa Keenan announced her proposal for the council to declare a state of emergency on climate change, deeming it necessary to address the threat climate change poses to the city's population.
However, she told her fellow councillors it has been a proposal that was "building up for quite a while," but has only gained momentum in the last six months.
"No actions and incremental change has led us to the climate crisis. It is no longer a conversation about polar ice caps melting, it's a conversation about Wagga. It is no longer someone else's problem, but ours too," Cr Keenan said.
The council has made significant steps towards reducing its carbon footprint, which was mentioned by both sides of the debate.
The energy efficiency programs and FOGO system were considered positive initiatives, but Cr Keenan believes the city has "a long way to go" and declaring a climate emergency was the solution.
The majority support by councillors will now mean the council is to create a Climate Emergency Plan, which will be developed during this financial period.
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Cr Paul Funnell, however, said the motion was just "a thought bubble in the eleventh hour" for a member of the Australian Labor Party to remain relevant.
The issue of climate change is one that Cr Funnell does not believe the city's council should be focused on and will create further financial burdens on its ratepayers.
"There was no discussion with our senior executive at any point leading up to our budget documents, no discussion in relation to the financial impacts of these actions and no public consultation," he said.
"The demands that will be placed on not only our organisation but those in ... emergency services have not been considered. The financial and operational impacts of this proposed action invokes areas of legislation that this little charade and attention seeking exercise either hasn't considered or doesn't care."
In a desperate attempt to hit pause on the debate, Cr Funnell called for the matter to be pushed back to its meeting on July 22.
He said councillors needed more time to form a final judgement, which would also allow absent councillors Tim Koschel and Rod Kendall to vote on what was being presented as a serious issue.
The alternative motion, however, was knocked back by Crs Keenan, Greg Conkey, Dan Hayes and Dallas Tout.
Mayor Greg Conkey argued that the council has a responsibility to build a resilient community, which declaring a climate emergency has the ability to achieve.
"Anything that affects our resilience and lifestyle is our responsibility and we need to show leadership. We need a plan for the future for the sake of our children and grandchildren," he said.
Cr Yvonne Braid was disappointed the issue had been brought before the council without making an effort to share the concerns with Deputy Prime Minster Michael McCormack.
"I find it quite unbelievable that we could put out a motion about climate change posing a serious risk to the people of Wagga, but we haven't even had a meeting with the Deputy Prime Minister of Australia who lives in Wagga, who has always lived here," she said.
"If things are so bad, surely we can have a meeting and ask him. He knows Wagga more than most of the people here."
Cr Dan Hayes said there had been many assumptions made about the council choosing one issue ahead of other concerns.
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"There are many things in our community. We don't just focus on one thing and move on to the next."
Deputy mayor Dallas Tout made a reference to the steps being taken in Copenhagen towards addressing the climate crisis. This issue is about changing a person's thought-process to influence everyday actions of the community.
Cr Tout said there are many actions that could help mitigate the risk of climate change, but he wants to see them in a council report before projects are prioritised.
While Crs Funnell, Braid and Kerry Pascoe voted against the motion, Crs Hayes, Tout, Conkey and Keenan gave their support to the climate emergency motion.