The City of Melbourne has passed a motion declaring a climate emergency after councillors unanimously agreed climate change and mass species extinction “pose serious risks to the people of Melbourne and Australia.”

The Future Melbourne Committee last night moved in favour of a motion raised by Councillor Cathy Oke, who urged the city to assess how it plans to mitigate and react to climate change.

The motion also calls for the Council to sit down with young advocates from groups like Extinction Rebellion, instead of ignoring their genuine concerns for the planet they’ll inherit.

“We’ve had thousands of young people take to our streets demanding action, and that should not be dismissed as ‘Oh my God, kids taking time off school.’ It’s actually something we need to take seriously,” Oke said.

“If young people are willing to step away from their education to tell leaders to actually do something, we shouldn’t dismiss them as bludgers, or wasting [their] time, or dismissing [their] education.”

At times becoming emotional, Oke said she was motivated by thinking about what kind of world her daughter will live in.

“If we don’t declare an emergency I don’t think I can, hand on my heart, say we’re doing enough,” Oke said.

The motion also calls for a review of Melbourne’s investment in securing species biodiversity, a Climate Week convened by Lord Mayor Sally Capp, and a statement urging the federal government to declare a climate emergency on a national level.

The move comes a month after the City of Sydney declared a similar stance on the climate emergency – despite reticence to address the matter in Canberra.

Image: David Crosling / AAP Image