Noosa Mayor Tony Wellington has been honoured for his work on climate change at the national Cities Power Partnership Awards in Sydney.
Cr Wellington received the Climate Ambassador Award in recognition of his leadership driving climate change action and emissions reduction in Noosa Shire and further afield.
Cr Wellington said he is humbled and honoured to be recognised as a leader on climate change.
“It was extremely humbling and quite surprising to be regarded as an Ambassador on climate change, but this is an award I share with my fellow Councillors, and also the staff at Noosa Council,” he said.
“Everyone at council has been unanimous in their support for our actions and advocacy on this essential issue.” Cr Wellington said.
“I’m so very fortunate to be surrounded by people who understand that we have to be courageous in the face of what the CEO of BHP recently called an “existential crisis” facing humankind.”
While in Sydney, Cr Wellington had the chance to spend some brief time with his grandchildren, who live there, reinforcing why action on climate change is about their future on the planet.
“Local governments are at the coal face when it comes to dealing with climate change and its consequences. We need to lead by example and the weight of evidence is so clear and keeps mounting.
“If we don’t take action now, the costs of inaction are definitely going to be borne by residents and ratepayers everywhere.”
“This is not being alarmist. Too many people focus discussions on sea level rise, where the greatest threat posed by climate change is what we’re collectively doing to the weather and the massive repercussions if global average temperatures rise above 1.5 degrees.” Cr Wellington lamented.
Noosa Council has an ambitious plan to have net zero emissions by 2026 and recently became the first local government in Queensland to declare a “Climate Emergency”.
David Craven, director of Cities Power Partnership applauded Mayor Wellington on his commitment, passion and consistent approach to climate change.
“Tony shone in a competitive field of entrants and was an early champion of climate change and hasn’t wavered since,” he said.
The Cities Power Partnership includes 110 local governments across the nation, representing 12 million Australians.
Cr Wellington’s main contender for the award was the President – equivalent to a mayor – of Margaret River Shire, Pam Townsend.
“Pam is doing terrific things on the opposite side of the country and perhaps together, we can form a pincer movement from the east and west in the battle to tackle climate change.”
Noosa Council was also a finalist for its Zero Net Emission (ZEN) by 2026 initiative in the Renewable Energy Achievement Award, which was won by the Act Government for its emissions reduction projects.