Wollongong City Council voted unanimously Monday night for the Illawarra to be a net-zero carbon emitter by 2050.

Council will, in five years, review ways to achieve an ‘aspirational’ 2030 community target.

The vote followed community consultation that revealed Wollongong residents wanted a more ambitious target.

Wollongong Lord Mayor Gordon Bradbery paid tribute to climate activists who filled the public gallery.

“It is obvious that there are not many things in our community that mobilise such passion and it’s great to see the gallery filled tonight,” Cr Bradbery said.

“Tonight we start, or formalise in some respects, a filter by which we address and assess all that we do in this city.”

Deputy Lord Mayor David Brown said there was “lack of response” to the community consultation process from industry and business groups.

“That was pretty disappointing, quite frankly,” Cr Brown said.

“Now I don’t know if that meant they don’t want to expose themselves as having no policy, I don’t know if that means they don’t want to show their hands on the possible policy they are going to implement.

“Perhaps, worst of all, they just don’t accept our legitimacy to lead the process.

“We still need to get people on board in a cooperative way to deliver. We need business.”

Activists in the public gallery broke into applause when the vote passed.

Council will now develop a Climate Action Mitigation Plan to achieve an emissions reduction target for the Wollongong local government area.