Anti-coal protest may delay Lismore council's flood repairs
FLOOD repairs could be impacted by Lismore City Council's moves against trade with companies supporting Adani coal mine and fossil fuel projects.
The move at Tuesday night's meeting could lead to cause delays in the on-going tendering process for contractors to fix land slips caused by the March floods due to stringent new criteria to be addressed in applications.
Met with cheers from anti-Adani protesters, an urgency motion was carried 7-4 that companies who have applied and are applying for the tender must now provide "disclosure of any involvement, in providing services to, or contracting" for the controversial Adani coal mine construction.
An emergency workshop will be held as soon as possible to consider the council's policy position its trade with companies that provide services to Adani and new fossil fuel entities.
Councillor Vanessa Ekins moved the urgency motion after a charge she led with Crs Adam Guise and Eddie Lloyd to reject the final contractors awarded tenders for up to $7 million post-flood roadworks was voted down.
Earlier in the marathon debate, Cr Guise moved an amendment to scrap the final contractors awarded the roadworks tender in a bid reopen the process to favour companies with no associations with the hotly-contested mine.
It came after protests last week against Downer EDI Works Pty Ltd, one of the tenders for the unsealed road maintenance work, and their links with energy conglomerate Adani.
Given tender applications had closed for the roadworks, council staff shed light at last night's council meeting about the complexities of Cr Guise's proposal that could have held back works for up to a year.
Intense debate ensued between as to whether the council's hardline against fossil fuel companies outweighed the need to fix roads after the flood.
For Cr Lloyd, said include Downer "wholly inconsistent" with the council "a leader in renewable energy infrastructure and practices" and its policies.
But for Cr Elly Bird, although passionate about the environmental cause, she listened to those "crying out to fix our roads".
"As much as it pains me not to respond to people in our community to action (against Adani), on this particular matter we need to respond to rest of community who are asking us to fix our roads," Cr Bird said.
Most councillors agreed with Cr Bird's sentiments by voting down the amendment.
Cr Ekins enacted her foreshadowed amendment to shorten the proposed, new tender process to 14 days after Cr Guise's amendment was lost.
But Cr Ekins' last ditch attempt to take the tender process back to the drawing board was too voted down by the majority of councillors who prioritised repairing of the road network without delay.
The next ordinary council meeting will be held on November 14.