The Victorian Greens have written to Treasurer Tim Pallas to call on the upcoming state budget to deliver for climate and environment.
After a confronting summer in which we have seen record-breaking heatwaves, damaging bushfires, continuing drought, and dramatic coastal erosion in Apollo Bay and Inverloch, the need for governments to ramp up investment in climate action has never been greater.
The countdown to climate action has begun.
The Victorian government has until March 31 next year to set the state's first short- and mid- term Emissions Reduction Targets and we're not wasting any time.
Friends of the Earth's Act on Climate collective is fighting for science-based targets that will get us to zero emissions as soon as possible.
With Australia's emissions increasing on the Federal Coalition's watch, we need the Victorian Labor government to show greater leadership on the climate crisis to help put the country back on track and avoid runaway climate change.
Here's a quick update on our efforts over the last month...
On Wednesday 10 April, Victoria’s Minister for Agriculture, Regional Development, and Resources Jaclyn Symes gave her inaugural address to the Rural Press Club.
Friends of the Earth’s Act on Climate collective was there to see how climate change would feature in the minister’s address. As it turns out, it was high on the agenda.
"We know that while there are parts of rural and regional Victoria doing well, there are other areas who are doing it tough," said Minister Symes.
"This is most prevalent in those areas dealing with drought and dry conditions… And that’s why climate change and drought are driving a lot of my thinking."
"It’s these factors that require me to not only think about my role over the next four years but helping our farmers and their communities set themselves up for the next forty years."
Elaborating on the impacts of climate change in Victoria, Minister Symes noted farming communities had seen drought, fire, flood, storm damage and frost in recent years and said she was “truly shocked” to see the impacts of drought in East Gippsland.
After a confronting summer in which we have seen record-breaking heatwaves across the continent and damaging bushfires in Victoria, community members are looking for governments to show leadership to tackle the climate crisis.
Environment group Friends of the Earth have welcomed news of a large-scale wind and battery hub proposed for a timber plantation in southwest Victoria, saying it could be a key plank of Victoria's efforts on climate change.
“After a confronting summer in which the community has witnessed serious climate impacts including drought, bushfires and flood," said Friends of the Earth's renewable energy spokesperson Pat Simons, "the need to transition away from coal and gas is urgent.”
If the Kentbruck Greenpower Hub gets the green light, the wind and battery storage project could be one of the largest in the country, with a generation capacity totalling 900 megawatts, helping to firm up the power grid while cutting pollution.
Environment group Friends of the Earth Melbourne are pleased to see an new wind farm proposed for the Latrobe Valley and say the project shows state efforts to tackle climate change are gaining momentum.
The group that led the community campaign for a Victorian Renewable Energy Target says the Delburn Wind Farm is a sign the state’s energy sector is in transition.
“Victoria’s energy system is shifting from polluting fossil fuels towards clean renewable energy and it’s good news for efforts to tackle climate change,” said Leigh Ewbank, Friends of the Earth’s climate spokesperson.
According to proponent OSMI, the Delburn Wind Farm would generate enough electricity to power 200,000 homes, cut Victoria’s carbon emissions by 980,000 tonnes of carbon per annum, and operate for 25 years.
The Federal Coalition’s last-ditch attempt to hit the reset button on climate change has been a flop with several dozen community members appearing at a snap rally at the Prime Minister’s press conference in Melbourne this morning.
“The Coalition has failed to review the science and adopt measures that are commensurate with the scale and urgency of the climate crisis,” said Leigh Ewbank, FoE climate spokesperson.
“An Emissions Reduction Fund that fails to keep coal, oil, and gas in the ground is a hoax.”
Friends of the Earth says the Coalition’s record of undermining action on climate change is not easily forgotten by the community.
“If the Coalition wants to be taken seriously on climate change it would apologise to the Australian people for actively undermining action since it formed government in 2013,” said Leigh Ewbank.
The Act on Climate collective is rested, recharged, and ready for another big year.
Before we fill you in on our priorities in 2019, it's worth noting our impact during the state election year.
Our sustained campaign to hold the Liberal party to account for a head-in-the sand approach to climate change had a huge impact. The absence of a climate policy is considered a key reason why the Coalition haemorrhaged votes in the November election.
In his first press conference, new opposition leader Michael O'Brien noted the need to engage with climate policy and has appointed the Coalition's first Shadow Minister for Climate Change.
In an acknowledgment that our call for investment in climate action is being heard by Labor, Minister for Climate Change Lily D'Ambrosio recently announced a $1 million grant scheme for regions to investigate change impacts. Yet a greater level of investment is needed.
Now the dust has settled from the state election we're returning our focus securing bold and ambitious climate action in Victoria.
The Andrews Labor government has announced a $1 million Community Climate Change Adaptation Grants program for regional Victoria, yet Friends of the Earth says the allocation "falls short of community demand."
"Every dollar the state government spends to help communities respond to climate change is a wise investment," said Leigh Ewbank, Friends of the Earth climate spokesperson.
"Yet Victorian communities will need much more then $1 million to cope with the impacts of climate change."
The Federal Coalition government's failure on climate change has seen the country's emissions increase for three consecutive years. This failure leaves Victorian communities exposed to intensifying droughts, heatwaves, bushfires, rising seas, and extreme weather.
Regional Victoria is already experiencing climate impacts. For example, Cape Conran saw a winter bushfire last year and community members have sounded the alarm over the impact of rising sea levels in Apollo Bay and Inverloch.
"With the Federal Coalition failing to act on climate change, we need to see greater leadership from Premier Daniel Andrews and the Labor government."
Environment group Friends of the Earth Australia reject indications that the Morrison government will seek to use public funds to underwrite new coal and gas projects, and say they should be 100% focused on landmark renewable energy projects like the proposed Star of the South offshore wind farm instead.
“Prime Minister Scott Morrison and the federal Coalition have learned nothing from the Liberal party's drubbing in the recent Victorian state election” said Friends of the Earth climate spokesperson Leigh Ewbank.
The Liberal party's support for coal and gas was resoundingly rejected by voters in at the Wentworth by-election and at the November state election in Victoria.
“When community support for action on climate change is on the rise, the Coalition government's support for polluting fossil fuels will go down like a lead balloon” added Ewbank.
While time is running out to act on climate change, the Coalition's obsession with coal and gas only imperils Australia's future.