Friends of the Earth Melbourne has called on the Andrews government to make climate action a focus of the recovery from the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic after experts have criticised the Morrison government for pushing for a fossil-fuel-led stimulus.
Community-driven environment group Friends of the Earth have urged the Victorian government to forge its own path and instead embrace new industries and technologies that can make Victoria the national leader on climate action, while creating thousands of jobs.
"Not only does the backward-looking approach of the Morrison government undermine global efforts on climate, but it ties our economic future to out-dated and polluting technology," said Friends of the Earth community campaigner Anna Langford.
"Premier Andrews has already created thousands of climate jobs through legislation such as the Victorian Renewable Energy Target. It can build on this momentum."
Victoria’s 2025 and 2030 Emissions Reduction Targets, which were set in March this year and are expected to be announced in coming months, could be the mechanism to lead a climate-action-focussed economic stimulus if they are ambitious and science-based.
"Investing in measures that tackle the climate crisis will create jobs and deliver broad economic benefit," added Langford. "This is why we call on Premier Andrews to make the achievement of science-based Emissions Reduction Targets a mission that drives our economic recovery."
By championing climate solutions, Victoria can join the ranks with jurisdictions around the world, like the 17 EU member-states and South Korea, which have already announced Green New Deal-style recovery plans when the pandemic has been dealt with.
Friends of the Earth say that the Victorian October budget and post-COVID-19 stimulus package can be used to invest in measures that rein in emissions and protect communities from intensifying climate impacts. Some measures that could be included in the package include:
- Upgrading the grid to bring more solar, wind, and storage online, and help establish the country's first offshore wind farm.
- Bringing forward the Victorian Renewable Energy Target of 50% by 2030 to 2025, and establish a new target of 100% renewables by 2030.
- Funding the installation of rooftop solar and storage on all public buildings such as schools, hospitals, libraries, fire stations, and SES facilities.
- Retrofitting public libraries, schools, community centres, neighbourhood houses, and sporting clubs to become Climate Emergency Refuge Centres in times of crisis.
- Building new, high-performance public housing for vulnerable people in our community.
- Investing in a new fleet of Victorian-made trains, trams, and electric buses.
- Upgrading the public transport network to improve accessibility for everyone in the community.
This pandemic presents jurisdictions everywhere with a crossroads-moment to decide definitively which direction they want their societies and economies to pursue when the world emerges from the other side of the crisis.
Friends of the Earth have released a white paper on what the recovery for Victoria can look like with strong climate action as the mission and have launched a petition for community members to support the blueprint.
Friends of the Earth will be following further developments and the Andrews government puts together Victoria’s stimulus plan.
- Sign the petition to call on the Andrews government to deliver a climate-focused economic recovery package.
- Have your say... Vote in our online poll and let us know what you think our response will be to the government's Emissions Reduction Target announcement.