Once the council’s plan is locked in, the next step would be to develop a plan to set the entire community on a similar path, ahead of the Berejiklian government’s net-zero goal by 2050.
“People will come here for who we are,” Mr Johns said.
Craig Kelly, whose opposition to the federal National Energy Guarantee plan helped topple Malcolm Turnbull as PM, said the council motion “runs contrary to the policies of the federal Liberal Party’.
“It’s more like something you’d expect to hear from inner-city Green councils in Melbourne than you’d see here in Sutherland,” Mr Kelly said, adding that with the coronavirus epidemic raging, “there might be more important things to do”.
All states and territories have a net zero emissions target by 2050, except the ACT’s 2045 goal, while the Morrison government has no reduction plan beyond 2030.
Prominent NSW Liberals, including Matt Kean, the Energy and Environment Minister, stepped up demands for coordinated climate action in the wake of the season’s huge bushfires.
Ray Plibersek, a Sutherland Shire Labor councillor, said he was prepared to back the motion even though Liberal counterparts had voted down a support for Mr Kean’s climate action a month earlier.
“But what’s more important is that we do something constructive and not play politics,” Mr Plibersek said.
Of the shire’s 15 councillors, seven are Labor and seven Liberal, with one independent.
Darcy Byrne, mayor of the Inner West Council, said “it’s terrific to see bipartisan support in councils like Sutherland”, adding his council had a goal of reaching carbon neutrality by 2025.
David Craven, director of the Cities Power Partnership, said local governments were “fast emerging as a major part of Australia’s climate solution”, launching more than 500 climate projects such as boosting sustainable transport and essentially “shaping the way Australian communities use and generate energy”.
Peter Hannam writes on environment issues for The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age.