The real purpose of a local council is to dispose of household waste, keep local parks tidy and ensure toilet paper is installed in public lavatories. Outside of that, there is little local residents require from local councils other than on-street parking permits or onerous red tape when seeking housing renovation approvals. Maybe maintain the local library.
It was reported yesterday that the Ryde Council declared a “climate emergency“. As we can quickly work out, this is nothing more than joining the global Extinction Rebellion style virtue signalling with zero substance. Will Ryde ratepayers be asked to sponsor Greta Thunberg or Al Gore to lecture the council on climate matters?
Referring to the Annual Report 2018 financials section one can see that it spends on what it terms “Environmental Programs” a grand sum of $547,000, down from $556,000 the previous year. To put that in context of budget expenditure, this climate fearing council spends, wait for it, 0.34% of the total annual revenue. Put your money where your mouth is Ryde! Unfortunately, that was down from a slightly less pithy fraction. Nonetheless, it grandstanded with,
“This includes a commitment to divest its investment portfolio from fossil fuel-aligned financial institutions, supporting renewable and clean energy solutions and becoming one of the first councils to phase out single-use plastics.”
Was this requested by ratepayers? Sadly the council will never be able to phase out single-use plastics as the overwhelming majority of household waste is disposed of in single-use plastic bags because the supermarkets caved in allowing residents to reuse plastic shopping bags.
CM shudders to think how huge the investment portfolio of Ryde Council could be? Yet why pick on financial institutions? It sounds as if it believes it carries the might of some massive sovereign wealth fund that can rattle the cages of capitalism via its activism! It is unlikely that even if it sold those investments ‘at market’ that the present liquidity would absorb it in a heartbeat.
In the “Our Vision for Ryde 2028” piece, “climate” is mentioned 7 times. “Emergency” is mentioned zero times. “Sustainable” 18 times. “Environment” 20 times. Run of the mill council stuff. Many of the ‘environment’ words are not actually related to climate in any way. Still, for a 2019 document, where was the climate emergency?
The same report cites under the heading of ‘Climate Change‘, with absolutely no proof to substantiate it,
“Over the coming decade, natural hazards such as heatwaves, increased overnight temperatures and increased “hot” days during the year, as well as the frequency of extreme rainfall events and high-intensity storms are expected to accelerate as the climate changes.”
In a never-ending push to make the local council more relevant, Mayor Jerome Laxale profile of the Annual Report proudly notes, “He also initiated Council’s entry into social media, its partnership with Australia’s Racism it stops with me! campaign led a national push against changes to the Racial Discrimination Act.”
Racism? 19.2% of Ryde’s population is of Chinese ethnicity according to the Census 2016. As a migrant city, 48.5% were born in Australia. So by definition, 51.5% weren’t. Stands to reason that the mayor is chasing a problem that probably doesn’t exist. 12.5% were born in China (excluding HK or Taiwan) which is 4x the NSW average, 3.9% born in Korea (5x the NSW average), 3.6% born in India (2x the NSW average), HK born at 2.4% (4x NSW average).
Did Ryde really require this leftist mayor to push against changes to the Racial Discrimination Act? Was it a burning issue where the majority were born outside the country? Do ratepayers that fork our $83.4m of rates each year want Laxale to focus on this nonsense?
This is just additional part of the growing trend of radicalised councils acting outside of their remits Remember the two councils (Yarra and Darebin) in Melbourne who went out of their way to ask their own activist groups to rig polls to cancel Australia Day. Forgetting the 220,000 residents across the two cities, a handful of people who were bound to give the desired response were targeted. Even then it wasn’t a slam dunk. One mayor said they made the decision because their constituents are too ignorant of history so they were going to educate them without their opinion. When breaking down the composition of the councillors in these two cities it wasn’t a surprise. Both Greens led with a smattering of Labor, Socialist and left-leaning independents. The perfect cocktail for the totalitarian.
Just like those Melbourne local councils banning Australia Day, we now have Ryde looking to join the likes of Newcastle and the Inner West which think they are the axe on climate change based on what one Clr Christopher Gordon said,
“We have scientists telling that us in the next 20 years, we’ll be facing even more extreme climate problems as rising sea levels are estimated to displace tens of millions of people around the world.”
This isn’t self researched conviction but flopping to the cause of activists and their echo chamber. Merely rattling off their empty rhetoric which has in the overwhelming majority of cases found to be false.
Perhaps if Clr Gordon called up those evil fossil-fuel aligned financial institutions he would quickly work out they are still lending to new property sites on the shoreline and that climate refugees are as has long been the case, a figment of their imagination.
The voices of local councils have always been largely irrelevant. Now they are merely an irritant.