A PLAN to move away from gas has been signaled by the state's local councils during a conference last week.
Council representatives from across the state gathered for the Local Government NSW (LGNSW) special conference in Sydney and discussed a variety of issues facing the state, such as housing availability, renewable energy and mental health services.
One of the centrepieces of the conference was a motion raised by Dubbo Regional Council which called on the state government to formulate a "gas decarbonisation roadmap" in a bid to move away from the controversial energy source.
The motion, which was carried convincingly, stipulated that LGNSW would lobby the NSW Government to "urgently develop a gas decarbonisation roadmap so NSW can be a leader by setting business, industry and households up to be resilient and sustainable in a decarbonising world, while safeguarding jobs in important manufacturing industries."
The vote on the motion, which was helped shaped by Lismore Shire Council, came after the NSW Government released its Future of Gas Statement last year, which slashed the number of expired petroleum exploration licences (PELs) by 77 per cent and after the NSW Independent Planning Commission approved Santos' 850-well Narrabri Gas Project in 2019.
Last week's vote also follows a recent move from Lane Cove Council to replace gas and gas boilers from its buildings with heat pumps.
Dubbo mayor Mathew Dickerson said several motions surrounding climate change and renewable energy was unanimously supported by the councils in attendance.
"The reception across the board any item involving climate change and alike typically received 95pc support," Cr Dickerson said.
"Our council's motion was no different and it certainly showed people in that room were looking for some action on that front."
Cr Dickerson said the "ball is very much in the court of the state and federal governments" when it comes to enacting change.
"I think our motion certainly demonstrates the desire at a local government level to see some change when it comes to climate, but at the end of the day it is very much up to the state and federal governments to take action," he said.
"We can continue to put forward motions like this and LGNSW can continue to lobby on behalf of councils but in the end it comes down to whether the state and federal governments are prepared to listen to these calls."
Lock the Gate Alliance spokesperson Nic Clyde said the motion was a positive step from LGNSW and was well received by opponents of the Narrabri Gas Project.
"This resolution shows the local market for fossil gas is shrinking and that momentum is building away from energy sources that fuel climate change," Mr Clyde said.
"We know that if we don't take urgent action to reduce greenhouse emissions from every source many regional communities will become even more vulnerable to climate disasters and extreme weather events, and local governments around NSW will be at the front line of those events. It's great to see regional councils leading this call for decarbonisation.
"This is why we so warmly welcome the decision by all NSW councils to take a stand and vote in favour of establishing gas decarbonisation roadmap - it's one part of a much larger puzzle, but it's the kind of action from governments that we so urgently need, and which has been so sorely lacking from the majority of our political representatives at a state and federal level."
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