A new Net Zero Emissions Roadmap kicked off a heated debate between Wagga City councillors.
Councillors were asked to vote on the new Net Zero Emissions 2050 Roadmap at the council's ordinary meeting on Monday night.
The roadmap outlines actions individuals and businesses in the community can take to reduce their personal contribution to climate change.
These include people making adjustments to how they get around, what they eat, how they use energy, what they purchase and what they throw away.
Councillor Richard Foley raised concerns about its scope to be used for punitive measure in the future.
"I wanted the intent of the document from the outset to clearly show this is not about a regulatory compliance approach to this issue," he said.
"I think you need to be really forthright, and say this is not about belting you with stick, saying you can't burn firewood or whatever.
"I don't want to see people paying through the nose for things they could do voluntarily ... that's Orwellian if you ask me."
Cr Foley raised an amendment seeking to clarify the document would, and could not be used to impose punitive measures on people who were not taking actions advised by the roadmap.
Deputy Mayor Jenny McKinnon pushed back on the amendment, and said the purpose of the document was already clear.
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This amendment was ultimately defeated in a split vote, with Mayor Dallas Tout taking a casting vote to return the motion to it's original phrasing.
Now, the draft roadmap will be put on public exhibition for 42 days to seek further feedback.
While Councillor Rod Kendall supported Cr Foley's motion, he ultimately voted to pass the roadmap.
"The amendment was about clarifying what was already in the document and getting rid of that fear," he said.
"The motion we voted for is substantially the same ... I'm willing to make sure an important item of business gets passed.
"I actually think some of the other councillors who voted against that motion were in support of it, they were just more in support of what was originally move [by Cr Foley]"
The only councillor to raise objections to the document itself was Michael Henderson.
Cr Henderson said the document was premature, given state and federal policy on climate change mitigation remains unclear.
He questioned whether local government should have any role in debating climate policy.
"Until the government can come up and declare their policy, I don't believe we should even be debating this," he said.
"Have we any idea what this has cost? have we got any idea what it's going to cost if we go through with this?
"This is 2050 - we haven't even got to 2030 yet ... I really can't support this."
Greens Deputy Mayor Jenny McKinnon said Cr Foley's amendment didn't add substantively to the document.
"My position was she should accept the original report, as it was made very clear to my way of thinking it was an educational and guidance document for the information of the community," she said.
"It didn't impose any requirements on anybody ... It seemed to me if we were going to make these kinds of changes, those would be better taken from community feedback.
"They will have their opportunity now when it goes out on exhibition, and when it comes back we can think about how that feedback might be incorporated."
Cr McKinnon said she didn't think council had any business imposing a strict regulatory regime on locals.
Cr Foley said he was in favour of council being proactive on climate change - he was just concerned about "bringing the community with them".
The council consulted with business and other relevant organisations on the plan, receiving 180 pieces of community feedback.
The draft document voted on by council is currently available in the July 17 council agenda.
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