Existing Council policies and plans cover the ground insofar as they cover the need for action for the Shire’s beaches, river systems and lakes. The MAYNE Team commits to a greater emphasis on the implementation of these plans. That does not necessarily mean spending more money. It means improving efficiency and ensuring that development applications align with the necessary protection measures, and it means forming ever closer relationships with a range of governmental and non-governmental stakeholders.
There are four parts to our environmental policy:
Bushland, green space and trees
We will work with the NSW Government to protect our native forests and wildlife. The value of intact forests as carbon sinks should be available as a revenue stream for public and private land. This will require changes at the Federal level. We will lobby for an end to native forest logging and a transition to source timber from plantations.
We have described our tree policy here and we will set targets for urban trees and urban tree canopy cover. The increasing bushfire threat due to climate change means that we should not be planting highly flammable local species in residential areas. Our tree policy describes how we will protect our existing trees and make use of exotic and, where we can, local rainforest species to reduce fire risk.
Council already has a relationship with Landcare Australia. We expect to strengthen that relationship. We need to update plans and policies and in particular to have goals for protecting, revegetating and restoring bushland cover.
Urban development is essential. We need more houses – and more affordable houses. But we need to balance urban expansion with protecting the environment. We have described our ideas on coastal forest protection, zombie developments and described an approach to smart development.
In general, housing and commercial development should not be at the expense of our natural resources and environment.
All our decisions about environmental protection and hazard reduction will be based on science.
Flora and fauna
In a little over two centuries, 75 species have become extinct in NSW and 1000 more – about 20% of all the species – face the same fate unless we act. We do not have specific figures for the south coast or for Eurobodalla, but we can assume that the proportions of local species under threat are similar. We know that there have been questions about how local developments may affect Mummaga Lake and the habitats of Yellow-bellied Gliders and Glossy Black Cockatoos. We need more information about threats to flora and fauna and we need to come up with plans to mitigate and manage those threats. One way of involving the community in this is to use native plants in public spaces and to encourage the use of native plants in private gardens.
There are several Endangered ecological communities (EECs) in the Shire. These are plant communities that are under threat. We need to continually improve the focus on these EECs by improved planning and then working with a range of stakeholders to make and sustain improvements.
Like many other Shires, we need a Biodiversity Policy that identifies issues and prioritises how we tackle biodiversity loss. Biodiversity is essential to healthy ecosystems. Healthy ecosystems are essential to providing clean water and air, healthy soil and are linked to human health. For too long we have taken these for granted. The Mayne Team will make this a priority focus for Council.
We will adopt the Nature Conservation Council’s Koala Friendly Council policy.
Creating and protecting wildlife corridors to link significant wildlife habitats will depend upon investment in tree planting, revegetation and maintenance of these corridors.
Climate and energy
Our emissions policy is described here. This policy notes that more needs to be done to meet The MAYNE Team policy commitment of net zero for Council by 2025 and describes how we will do this.
There are some commercial implications of our emission policy and these may be found here.
Water is perhaps the most important resource, fundamental for all living things need to survive and thrive. Council’s Integrated Water Cycle Management Strategy is now 5 years old and needs to be updated. The strategy covers most of the ground needed to improve water efficiency, manage urban stormwater, and improved household water savings. We know that we face increased risk of drought, so need to support our community in measures to save water. We will revive the rebates for rainwater tank installation. We will look to catch and save water in every new project and retrofitting all council own buildings with rainwater tanks. There is no doubt, we need to be future proofed for drought.
We must continue to focus on the health of our rivers and waterways and invest in the restoration of riparian zone vegetation. We view this an an investment into our health and supporting recreation activities and businesses such as our oyster and fisheries industry.
4 November 2021