Q&A: Candidates reveal their stances on climate change

IN THE lead-up to the March 28 council election, The Gympie Times put a number of questions to the region’s candidates.

Today, the 30 men and women fighting for one of the nine seats on the next Gympie Regional Council reveal their position on climate change, and the role council plays.


* Q&A: Candidates pin down what must change at council

All responses presented in divisional order, and in the sequence candidates’ names appear on the ballot papers.

Global warming?
Global warming?


Glen Hartwig

I think the term climate change has been commercialised however, no one can deny that mankind is having an impact on the environment. I have noticed a shift in the weather patterns in my short time on earth and I believe that as a leader in the community, I will have a responsibility to ensure council is implementing practices that respect the environment and minimise our impact on it.

Mick Curran

We have to acknowledge that our climate cycles are changing. There is much debate around this issue. As a council we have already taken measures to address changing environmental and weather conditions. These issues have and are being addressed around our planning scheme, our disaster management planning and our environmental policies and we will continue to work with both the State and Federal Governments to address issues identified.

Tim Jerome

The phrase climate change is a phrase that means a lot of different things to different people. Our climate is changed by pollution. Therefore, it starts with you and I doing things like throwing your rubbish in the bin. Greening Australia is very important to take the carbon out of the atmosphere and catching it in plants. Therefore, allowing farmers and graziers the right to build bigger dams to catch the water that falls from the sky without having to buy a water licence to water their paddocks would be a commonsense initiative to greening Australia. Diverting water from areas of high rainfall to areas of less would be a better use of our tax money. I am very much in using common sense to help our environment, instead of people speaking a lot of words without any action.

Some of the global protests calling for action on climate change.
Some of the global protests calling for action on climate change.

Division 1

Jess Milne

I feel that weather patterns are becoming more concentrated and intense. This will have long term impact on water security, disaster (including storm, cyclone and fire) management strategies and food production. Water security is incredibly important to both domestic users, primary producers and industry, therefore future planning needs to incorporate the possibility of more extreme weather conditions. New infrastructure needs to consider future impacts in planning and design.

Ash Little

I believe that climate change is a natural occurrence that has been happening for billions of years. I know that everyone can do more to preserve the environment globally and it starts with individuals being responsible. Making small lifestyle changes. If we see rubbish pick it up. Every trip out with my children always involves picking up a small amount of rubbish. It is now an auto response for them, like putting on a seat belt.

Mark McDonald


Phil Feldman

We know the climate is changing. Whether one thinks it’s cyclic or linear, periods of intense weather events are increasing in number and severity. I have been around long enough to know we have a two to six-year drought every eight to 12 years and we seem to forget that we need to “future proof” for such events. There is no need to point fingers and either wring our hands or bury our head, but we must plan for the worst and hope for the best. Solutions may cause short term “pain”, but the alternative could be a lot worst for our health, our economy and our future generation’s options.

Aerial view from Rainbow Beach to Carlo Point.
Aerial view from Rainbow Beach to Carlo Point.

Division 2

Dolly Jensen

We had an ice age once. Climates change.

Leonora Cox

History shows us that the climate often has dramatic changes. We contribute significantly to these changes by the way we live, work, and play. I actively encourage improvement to the way we operate within our environment.

There is a growing push to switch to renewable energy.
There is a growing push to switch to renewable energy.

Division 3

Mal Gear

This answer will be short and sweet.

I Definitely do not believe in Climate Change.

Terry McMullan

I believe that the climate is different today than it was 50 years ago, I, like most people these days, am confused over the science and pseudoscience that we read and hear. I believe that there is melting of ice sheets and Pacific Islands are being flooded. There is no argument that high intensity tropical cyclones are coming more often, floods across Australia are more prevalent, hurricanes increasing frequency in the US the snow extent in the Northern Hemisphere has decreased.

Shane Waldock

This is an area where council can take its eyes off what it’s elected to do. Climate change is a major issue that is being discussed from our global leaders to a teenage girl from Europe, but my focus will be on what we can do in Gympie. That means looking at how we can reduce costs with increased use of solar power, support local businesses with recycling and a greater focus on local sustainability.

Michiel Pratt

I believe that emissions, unregulated clearing and overuse of the environment are reasons for concern and need to be managed to reduce our impact on the environment. I also believe that sustainability is the most important aspect of environmental management and Council needs to ensure that sound environmental practices are incorporated into every project that council undertakes. Council needs to reduce its environmental footprint by implementing strategies to become carbon neutral over time.

Colleen Miller

Yes, I do and I believe it is up to us as individuals and organisations and councils to do our part towards becoming a sustainable community that is committed to reducing our carbon footprint.

Plastics are becoming a big problem.
Plastics are becoming a big problem.

Division 4

Bruce Devereaux

Studies and statistics back up our climate, as it has for eons, is changing. And of course we contribute to this with our industrial and lifestyle choices. What I always point out to people who try fight against looking towards cleaner options is to forget arguing the science and simply focus on the idea less pollution is a good thing. To paraphrase my dad, “You don’t go poo-poo where you eat.”

Rae Gate

I do believe in changes in the pattern of weather, and related changes in oceans, land surfaces and ice sheets, occurring over timescales of decades or longer. 2019 was certainly Australia’s hottest year on record, and the driest year on record. Many datasets at both an Australia-wide and global level demonstrate that temperatures have increased steadily over the past 50 years.

Daryl Dodt

Yes, undoubtedly yes. As a former senior physics, chemistry and biology teacher, and as a medical doctor, I cannot deny the science because I understand the science. Unfortunately far too few of us have this understanding and far too many find it easier to deny what they don’t understand. Two of my responses to climate change have been my Energy Management and Sustainability Policies, both delivered this term, saving your money and helping curb climate change in our future.

Wayne Sachs

To a degree, but not to the extent that some proponents believe it to be. Modern day living has certainly had some effect, however I do believe a large part of the seasonal changes are cyclic in nature when you look at past history.

Experts have pointed to climate change as playing a big part in last year’s devastating bushfires.
Experts have pointed to climate change as playing a big part in last year’s devastating bushfires.

Division 5

Rob Burns

I believe the climate has been changing since long before we lost the webbing in our fingers and toes. I also believe that many, mostly ex politicians and government funded scientists are making squillions from scaring the populous and manipulating information and miss information to their advantage. This does not mean I don’t think we need to change our ways as we evolve, but change as progress, not as fear based manipulation and extortion.

Dan Stewart

There are always fluctuations, but the general trend for 150 years is increasing temperatures. Some measures to address climate change include saving Council money over time. These include energy saving programs and use of renewable energy. Climate change is bringing changing rainfall patterns which could compound the effects of growth on our water security. We need to think long-term and look at ways to improve both demand management and security of water supply.

Chelle Dobson

The world’s climate continually changes. It has done so since time began and will continue to change into the future.

The aftermath of the fires.
The aftermath of the fires.

Division 6

Hilary Smerdon

The Climate is definitely changing, you only have to look at recent years weather events. It seems to be getting drier and warmer. It is still a subject of debate with many of my residents particularly the older residents. I think it needs to be considered by council when making policies in this area.

Brian Thomas

I believe droughts, fires and floods are part of Australian history and we have been going through a dry period for 3 decades we are now getting rainfall. I am not driven by fear of what is to come and we should always look after our own natural assets. I don’t believe in acquiring land and only to lock the gate and do no more on-site work and then let it burn.

Mikki Lawson

I have no idea if it’s man made or the natural cycle of the earth but I have always been of the belief that we need more recycle, reuse and repair mentality.

airconditioning, generic, hot summer
airconditioning, generic, hot summer

Division 7

Donna Reardon

Yes, we are leaving large a footprint in the environment. We need to maintain green corridors throughout the region to embrace the beautiful biosphere we have.

Bob Leitch

We certainly have seen changes over time, but I was reminded the other day by a resident of the tough times his father faced in 1902.

Warren Polley

I have lived long enough to see the changes. I have not yet formed an opinion as to the true causes, effects and solutions to climate change.

Solar panels.
Solar panels.

Division 8

Bob Fredman

Yes, I believe the climate is changing. That said, I don’t attribute the recent droughts and bushfires, nor the next flood, to climate change. There have always been these things. While temperature change is imperceptibly slow, and climate change likewise, I agree with most scientists that it will definitely affect our world down the track. Hence it is imperative we start taking steps now to limit its impact on our children’s lives.

Trent Mitchell

I believe we need to look after our environment, but with extensive research into climate change and talking to many old people I believe everything runs in cycles, however if we keep selling off our resources and allowing mismanagement of our land I have no doubt Australia will end up worse off than it is now. Rivers will run dry if we allow all the water to be taken or redirected

Lyndall Ensbey

I understand the facts that our increasing population throughout the world has contributed to increasing carbon emissions. We need to be mindful that renewable resources are just as important to our Earth as the healthy triangle foods diet is to our bodies. Our weather patterns are changing and we need to be prepared and resilient when faced with possible flooding and droughts.