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Council declares 'Climate Emergency'


Public pressure is believed to behind a change of heart for a number of Hobart City Councillors, who have voted through a motion to declare a 'Climate Emergency'.

It was passed 8 votes to 3, prompting cheers from a packed and colourful public gallery last night, despite an attempt last month prompting a walk out from 3 aldermen.

Hobart now becomes the first Australian capital city to declare a climate and biodiversity emergency.

The motion's author Bill Harvey says councillors have been forced to listen.

"Well over the last week we've received quite a lot of emails from concerned people. But the people that have written to us are scientists, they're doctors, they're professionals who study climate change. So I think this has had an impact on a few of the aldermen," he said.   

Mr Harvey acknowledges the bill is more symbolic than anything else, but believes it's essential to take leadership and put pressure on the Federal Government. 

Councillor Simon Behrakis has slammed some of the motion's supporters as hypocritical, as they apparently voted against an amendment showing support for a zero emission power generation program.

"Look, I don't know what Behrakis is talking about but he's on the wrong side of history. He's a member of a party that sat on their hands, he's a member of a party that brings coal into parliament. So I don't take much notice or give much credibility to Alderman Behrakis when it comes to climate change," Mr Harvey said. 

The motion overshadowed a three and a quarter percent rate increase (or around $1.30 a week extra on average) which was also voted through last night.
Councillor Holly Ewin's push to have free female sanitary products in public bathrooms also got the tick of approval.
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