MOUNT ALEXANDER has declared a climate emergency as it faces a predicted surge in the number and intensity of extreme weather events.
Councillors voted for urgent action on Tuesday night, vowing to capitilise on "significant expertise" in the region to drive down greenhouse gas emissions.
That action will include a roadmap to help the council reach zero net emissions by 2025.
The declaration follows a petition started by the Mount Alexander Climate Emergency Team, with other community groups in Hepburn also pushing their councils to intensify climate change language and targets.
Councillor Dave Petrusma supported every part of the motion apart from using the word "emergency".
He feared the council could enter unknown legal realms, with the potential a declaration could increase its liability at bodies like the the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal.
"The climate emergency initiated by Darebin's council in 2016 has at this stage never been tested. What could happen for councils that declare an emergency is completely unknown, we don't know if it will be negative or positive," Cr Petrusma said.
He argued for councillors to take the upcoming break to have more discussions about potential impacts.
But councillor Bronwen Machin, who proposed the emergency declaration, said there is a need to take action as soon as possible to help the shire make decisions about spending.
"I understand those concerns (Cr Petrusma raised), but an emergency is something we are going to face regardless of whether we declare one," she said.
"The comfort I hope to offer you is that there are many councils ahead of us who have declared and they are not being taken to court."
The declaration follows a marathon 11-hour community forum last week on ways to deal with climate change and the formation in June of a Mount Alexander Climate Emergency Team comprised of members of the public.
That group will now disband after achieving its goal of uniting community groups and members behind calls for a declaration, MACET member Laura Noonan said.
"A few of us are part of other groups, some are small business owners who need to focus on some of the work that needs our attention and others have family they want to get back to," she said.
"This is an extremely satisfying finish that goes to show how crucial people feel action is, really."
Not all councils in the region have been lobbied as intensively by community groups. An emergency declaration is not currently on the Loddon Shire's radar, mayor Cheryl McKinnon said.
She is not aware of any efforts to lobby any of her councillors to change that, but said the shire is taking steps to mitigate climate change, including by adding new solar panels to buildings, reducing the amount of paper staff use and leading projects like plastic bag bans.
An emergency declaration is also not currently being considered by the Central Goldfields Shire, chief administrator Noel Harvey said.
The region is facing a fire future unlike anything Australians have known for the past 200 years, a November report from the Climate Council found.
It found the fire season is getting longer, along with more intense heatwaves.
A heatwave is rolling through central Victoria right now, with temperatures expected to climb to 42 degrees on Wednesday, 39 on Thursday and 44 on Friday, according to the Bureau of Meteorology.
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