This week the Australian Local Government Association's (ALGA) National General Assembly supported a motion to call on the federal government to declare a climate emergency.
The motion also planned to establish a $10billion national fund for councils to build the resilience of climate change vulnerable communities, and while it was carried by the general assembly 134 to 68 it remained to be formerly considered by the ALGA Board sometime in July.
Bega Valley Shire Councillor Cathy Griff, who attended the event with fellow Councillor Jo Dodds, said it was not entirely certain the board would accept the motion, but in general it accepted the vote of the assembly.
"ALGA represents councils all over the country, including those savagely affected by drought, floods and fires, and many of them are now recognising climate change is a factor making such catastrophic events harsher and more frequent," Cr Griff said.
Bega Valley Shire Mayor Kristy McBain said she considered a number of climate change, climate resilience and climate adaptation motions at the conference.
"I did vote in favour of the climate emergency motion and did so because there were several elements to the motion which included establishing a fund for councils to build resilience measures in their community, commitment to protection of people and resources, to look at transformation of the economy and to encourage other nations to take up the challenge of dealing with climate issues," she said.
"Another motion that I also voted in favour of was to expand the classification of 'essential assets' in disaster provisions.
"Recreational assets currently aren't covered and we saw this during the east coast low and some of those assets still haven't been replaced."
Cr Dodds said from attending numerous meetings with other councils during her time as councillor, she had detected a large shift towards environmental and social justice issues in general.
She said declaring a climate emergency acknowledged the urgency of the problem, as it was an issue that was increasing exponentially but required collaboration from the different levels of government to tackle.
"We lead state and federal government in terms of community direction, as we have a closer connection to communities," she said.
"The effects of climate change will be first felt by local government as it affects communities first, for instance we deal first-hand with bushfires."
A motion to Bega Valley Shire Council to declare a climate emergency will be presented at a council meeting later this year, along with a petition currently signed by over 2000 people on the issue.
"Climate change affects our community, it's already affected Tathra, Reedy Swamp and Vimy Ridge in quite savage ways," Cr Dodds said.
She said if ALGA supported such a declaration, but individual councils did not, it would not have the same power when it came to lobbying state and federal governments to join the movement.
Cr Griff said it was important for councillors to attend the general assembly to see what worked in other shires and compare the Bega Valley to these approaches, from road resurfacing and waste to free government services.
"It's of such enormous benefit to not just be in a bubble, but measure ourselves against what else is there," she said