By Jordyn Grubisic

Mitchell Shire Council hosted a zero emissions public forum earlier this month, with several objectors disrupting proceedings.

More than 30 people attended the forum on May 6, as part of the council’s draft Climate Emergency Action Plan.

“A diversity of views were represented at the public forum, with some participants needing to be reminded by the facilitator to refrain from speaking over others and reminded to be respectful of the process, to enable everyone to share their points of views and ideas,” Mitchell Shire chief executive officer Brett Luxford said.

“During the interactive workshop all participants were able to provide written feedback on a range of actions that were developed through the work of the community reference group.

“Suggestions and comments put forward during the forum will be reviewed and considered during the development of the Draft Climate Emergency Action Plan.”

BEAM Mitchell Environmental Group president Peter Lockyer has been involved with the climate emergency reference group process. He and his partner Sandra Bowkett attended the forum.

“We’re still waiting on a draft climate emergency plan to come out. What happened [at the forum] was just another layer to that process,” Mr Lockyer said.

“I thought it was well organised and the response was good. There were a number of people who were making allegations, assertions, statements and the organisers said ‘well look, all those things are valid so write it down on the paper and we can do something with it’.

“Walking around there and contributing myself, a number of the post-its were, I would say, probably out of order. The organisers handled it well.

“I thought the forum was a good process. It did a lot of things and a few hiccups on the day were not a big deal.”

Facebook posts on community group pages have attracted mostly negative comments questioning the plan’s details including the cost and damage of disposal of lithium ion, the creation of a bike lane instead of fixing roads and potholes, and the littering of e-bikes across the shire.

Mr Luxford said the forum was one of the ways the community has been able to get involved in the development of the plan.

“Once finalised, the draft plan will be available for public consultation via Engaging Mitchell and our customer service centres. Community feedback on the draft document is encouraged to help us develop a plan that works for Mitchell,” he said.

Mr Lockyer said he was interested to see a draft plan that was considerable and measurable.

“What we’ve seen today is that each council that has gone down this path have all come up with different plans, because there’s different contexts and different communities. There’s a different focus,” he said.

“So the Climate Emergency Action Plan that is produced as a draft plan and may be adopted by council would need to be reviewed and updated as the years go to ensure it’s up to date.”

Community members are encouraged to keep up to date via the Engaging Mitchell website at


  1. A huge issue for carbon emissions is Australia’s dedication to stand-alone homes in our ever expanding outer suburbs. There will never be adequate public transport for the outer suburbs, rural & regional areas because the low density population can’t financially support it. Meantime, we have a state government relentlessly supporting the building of roads & tunnels throughout Melbourne. Anyone who has travelled in Europe will appreciate the foresight of politicians & town planners in the 19th century who saw that efficient public transport is essential for movement in large cities, London’s Underground being just one example. Higher density population supports better public transport. Couple that with great parks, open spaces and local pubs as community meeting places we might just be able to find a way to go forward.

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