Moreland Council fails to take climate emergency seriously on procurement policy Adani amendment

October 9, 2019 at 11:47 pm Leave a comment

Cr Kavanagh opposing a motion on changing procurement policy on Adani


The Labor and independant Councillors on Moreland Council let down the community on walking the talk on climate action over coal and the Adani Carmichael mine in this time of climate emergency.

There was a notice of motion to amend Council’s Procurement policy to exclude dealings with any company that enters into contractual work with Adani. In her introductory comments Cr Abboud highlighted that she was asked by Australian Conservation Foundation to put a notice of motion to Council for companies contracted to work on the Adani coal mine.

After a debate, the motion was defeated.

For (Cr Bolton, Cr Abboud, Cr Riley, Cr Martin),
Against (Cr Davidson, Cr Carli-Hannan, Cr Irfanli, Cr Kavanagh, Cr Tapinos, Cr Yildiz)

On 8 February 2017, Council resolved to oppose the Adani coal mine.

In September 2018 Moreland Council declared a climate emergency.

Council meeting on the 8th October failed to live up to those previous decisions, in amending it’s procurement policy. (This may be just symbolic, or it might affect contracts down the track)

Young Fatima at the start of the Council meeting, presented a petition to Council on the need to recycle plastic bottles in Moreland. She was asked by the Mayor why she wanted this action. She was obviously very shy, but when prompted, spoke very quietly, “Climate Action”. She was applauded by all Councillors and those in the public gallery. This response is in sharp contrast to the majority vote against adopting a strengthened Council procurement policy later in the meeting.

This was the motion being debated:

That Council:
On 8 February 2017, Council resolved to oppose the Adani coal mine.
That Council:
1. Writes to GHD asking for a commitment to rule out further work on Adani’s coal mine and associated infrastructure including the Adani rail project.
2. Amends Council’s Procurement Policy to add a dot point under Section 3.3.2 Environmental Sustainability that states, ‘excluding from future contracts, tenders or business dealings any companies involved in the Adani mine and associated rail infrastructure projects.’


Excerpts from the debate:

Cr Abboud: “We have a serious issue with our climate. Things are changing rapidly with bushfires happening that don’t usually happen, and people are losing their homes in New South Wales and Queensland, there is no water, there is crazy dust storms and drought in NSW. All of us eat, all of us need farms to survive and all the obvious things. Digging a massive coal mine and burning coal is like the opposite of planting a tree. If you want to put carbon in the air, you burn coal. There is a new movement where you identify the companies who are involved and what kind of business they are in”

“For Councils and other organisations it comes down to signaling to groups like GHD, who do a massive amount of work for us and the work is of great quality, that we want them to be accountable for the other work that they do. It is a really important thing for a council to be doing. I really hope that GHD will hear the call about living a better life and having a better ethos and getting your money from somewhere that doesn’t destroy something so valuable to so many people.”

Cr Bolton: “It’s not just this mine we have to stop, but Gina Rhineheart and Clive Palmer have mine proposals also ready to go in the Galilee Basin, not to mention the draining of the water table underneath as a result of this mine.”

Cr Kavanagh: “I don’t know what role GHD has in the Adani mine but to me their work might mitigate some of the damage of the Adani mine by putting in practices that are actually positive in their work. I’m ill advised in their role.

“The second point is: I feel as if our policy at the moment is a general policy, it doesn’t itemise one particular company. I think that is bad form, I think it is overstepping Council’s role.

“We might also have an unintended consequence. I also feel it would stop some company. The second point talks about ‘excluding from future contracts, tenders or business dealings any companies involved in the Adani mine and associated rail infrastructure projects.’ So a company that is supplying railway sleepers in North Queensland, wouldn’t be able to supply, we would be stopping them from working with us in the future. I think that is too big a reach. Far too big a reach. It could have unintended consequences such as in our waste and recycling. We might be ruling out companies that have really good practices that happen to be working on this project. I think it is wrong.”

Source: Facebook Livestream of Council meeting – 1:29:00 to 1:38:00



From the Agenda Notice of Motion:

NOM54/19 GHD Consultancy Group and Adani Mining (D19/381626) – Cr Abboud

Background
Cr Abboud’s background:

Adani’s Carmichael coal mine is one of the most contentious resources projects in Australian history. Hundreds of thousands of Australians have joined the campaign to stop Adani. On 8 February 2017, Council resolved, General Business item GB4/17, with Cr Riley moving and Cr Kavanagh seconding to write to all State and Federal parliamentarians whose offices lie within the Council boundaries, and to the Prime Minister, the federal Opposition Leader and the Queensland Premier, expressing its strong opposition to the proposed Adani 2.3 billion tonne coal mine in Queensland’s Galilee Valley.

There is a shared concern about the mine’s contribution to climate change, the destruction of threatened species native habitat, draining of rivers and aquifers, and contempt for the rights of First Nations people, who have not consented to the project. Council has recently learned that the Australian based professional services firm GHD is Adani’s oldest corporate partner and has been working on the mine since 2010.

2. Policy Context
Officer comments:

Council’s Procurement Policy includes a policy point on Social, Environmental and Economic Sustainability. Section 3.3.2 Environmental Sustainability states:

To support achievement of objectives and targets within Council’s environmental strategies, in particular Zero Carbon Evolution, Watermap and Waste and Litter Strategy, Council will minimise its impact on the environment by purchasing goods, services and construction which avoid air, water and soil pollution and minimise natural resource and biodiversity depletion. Council will equally consider the environmental performance of all suppliers and contractors and encourage them to conduct their operations in an environmentally sensitive manner.

The Sustainability section of the Procurement Policy aligns with Council’s acknowledgement of the Climate Emergency, made during the Council meeting held on the 12 September 2018.

Council’s position on the Adani coal mine can be strengthened by adding the following dot point to Section 3.3.2 Environmental Sustainability in Council’s Procurement Policy:
• Excluding from future contracts, tenders or business dealings any companies involved in the Adani mine and associated rail infrastructure projects.

3. Financial Implications
Officer comments:
There are no significant financial implications in implementing the proposed motion.

4. Resources Implications
Officer comments:
There are no significant resource implications in implementing the proposed motion.

Motion

That Council:
1. Writes to GHD asking for a commitment to rule out further work on Adani’s coal mine and associated infrastructure including the Adani rail project.
2. Amends Council’s Procurement Policy to add a dot point under Section 3.3.2 Environmental Sustainability that states, ‘excluding from future contracts, tenders or business dealings any companies involved in the Adani mine and associated rail infrastructure projects.’

Entry filed under: Adani, Moreland Council, news.

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