by Chris Harries
Some councils are large and well resourced. Others less so. Some have progressive councillors elected. Some may have already taken steps to address the issue. Most have not done so yet. Some will be much more impacted by high fuel prices than will others.
In short, no one-way-fits-all. So here you go in 7 easy steps:
Where do you live? Here is a location map for Tasmania’s 29 local councils. Find out which one is yours.
Here is a list of councils in alphabetical order. Click on your council to find councillor contacts: Break O’Day, Brighton, Burnie, Central Coast, Central Highlands, Circular Head, Clarence City, Derwent Valley, Devonport City, Dorset, Flinders, George Town, Glamorgan Spring Bay, Glenorchy City, Hobart City, Huon Valley, Kentish, Kingborough, King Island, Latrobe, Launceston, Meander Valley, Northern Midlands, Sorell, Southern Midlands, Tasman, Waratah Wynyard, West Coast, West Tamar.
And don’t forget these bodies too: ‘Cradle Coast Authority’, ‘Northern Tasmania Development’, and ‘Southern Tasmanian Councils Authority’.
– If you know any elected councillor, just go and ask that person if they are aware of the issue of oil depletion and the likely implications for the council’s operations and ratepayers. It’s an easy thing to do.
– If you don’t know your councillors, email or ring any of them and ask the same thing. By all means refer them to this website, or ask if they would like yourself (or somebody else) to brief them on the issue.
Be aware that most councils have never looked at this issue, so the best way forward in the first instance is to offer an information briefing and an opportunity to take a small step forward. Showing that other councils in Australia are taking concerted action is very worthwhile.
The easiest first step for any council is for it to instruct its administration staff to prepare a basic scoping report, simply outlining how various sectors (eg transport, tourism, farmers) may be affected by a sharp rise in fuel prices or availability of petroleum fuels. At the foot of this article is a sample motion.
If you can, please do let us know what action you have taken and which councillors, or council staff, appear to be alert to this issue.
Remember: Approaching your local government representative is not as forbidding as you may think. Most people have an elected councillor living somewhere in or near their neighbourhood. They are normally quite friendly and approachable and (even where they may disagree with you) will listen, provided that you approach him/her in a courteous, respectful manner.
Here is a sample motion that can be put to any council:
That a report be prepared to examine the potential impacts of Peak Oil on:
1) Council’s operations
2) Local businesses
3) Local ratepayers
That the report further examine some of the policies and practices of leading councils in addressing Peak Oil and report on their potential to be used for the benefit of the council and the community.