Re: Draft Local Law 2 – submission
By Hans Johansen
Chief Executive Officer
Hepburn Shire Council
I generally agree with the objectives of the Local Law 2 proposal but several clauses put unnecessary limitations and restrictions on well-intending community members. For example Clause 18 Firewood Collection, Clause 4.2 Camping and Caravan Occupation and Clause 4.7 Scavenging.
I agree with many concerns already raised about limitations to using local resources in the current Local Law 2 proposal. This has been explained well (just to mention a few including Patrick Jones, Meg Ulman, David Holmgren and many others). It could be expressed in this way; if we are too limited on using local resources available, alternative ways to get these resources means:
- Increased embodied energy in what is consumed (incl. transport and pollution)
- Losses of habitat in other regions where resources are mined or land cleared for produce and so on.
- Limitations on our interaction with the natural environment (and potentially outsourcing the responsibility, of how we are treating the environment, to distant regions).
I believe we have to take responsibility for our environmental footprint locally to a higher degree and minor concerns about negative affects locally can be solved locally. For example our respected local CFA encourage us to reduce fuel litter to mitigate the serious bushfire hazard that surrounding us all. There is ways and means and encouragement to improve our condition by cooperation rather than too much restriction.
We have different needs at different stages of our lives and I believe there are many good examples of laws where the clauses are not necessarily too prescriptive in response to purpose and objectives or allow for leniency given circumstances. Camping on your own land should not be limited if it is done in a responsible manner. And it is generally an activity that reduces your environmental footprint.
I commend council on the climate emergency declaration. How big a percentage we believe climate change is caused by manmade actions or not, is not the most important. But the care for our planet, humanity and our fellow community members is. Adapting to change is ongoing for all of us and we most well embrace it and the skill of ‘adapting to change’ is important to whatever will await us tomorrow and in the future.
As people we can at times be overwhelmed with fear of guilt and sometimes that leads to rushed decisions, as a community, council or administration it is no different. Council may have legitimate concerns about some restrictions but there are circumstances where it is not sensible in the light of common law and our attempt to reduce use of fossil fuels and other resources etc. I can understand if the administration and CEO, given responsibility, can be cautious to take risks in our current society where institutions fear getting sued in different scenarios. However there is much help intended from community to find viable solutions mitigating risk and injury.
As a relatively newcomer to the community I keep being amazed how much goodwill, volunteering and time locals are willing to give to progress our environment for all. There is much help locally on adapting to change.