The Federal government’s purchase of Victoria’s share of the iconic Snowy Hydro Scheme will deliver a $2 billion windfall for the state.
Friends of the Earth say the rare windfall could fund Victoria’s first climate-focused state budget.
“With the need to tackle climate change becoming more urgent, the state government must ramp up investment in measures to rein in emissions and protect communities from climate impacts,” said Leigh Ewbank, Friends of the Earth spokesperson.
“The Andrews government could use the $2 billion windfall from selling Victoria’s share of the iconic scheme to prepare our state for the 21st Century challenge of climate change.”
The Snowy Hydro Scheme is regarded as a visionary, nation-building project that had a lasting impact on Victoria. Will the windfall be used to invest in similarly visionary project? The state government has the money, does it have the political will?
“Like the Labor PM Ben Chifley who spearheaded the Snowy Hydro Scheme over 60 years ago, Premier Daniel Andrews has a rare opportunity to invest in something visionary."
"Will his government prepare Victoria for the 21st Century challenge of climate change?”
Friends of the Earth remind the government that climate change has wide-ranging impacts on the state. Critical infrastructure such as roads and rail lines exposed to extreme weather and rising sea levels will need to be upgraded. These projects will create thousands of jobs.
Communities that face increased bushfire risk, intensifying heatwaves, and droughts have their own needs that require state government support.
Despite record low ice coverage at the poles, back-to-back bleaching of the Great Barrier Reef, and parts of Victoria experiencing record dry conditions in 2017, the Federal Coalition is refusing to act on climate change.
The Victorian Labor government has a strong record when it comes to dealing with climate change. With the support of The Greens and cross benchers, it has strengthened state climate change laws, banned fracking, and set ambitious renewable energy targets.
In coming months, the Daniel Andrews government will set the Victoria’s first interim Emissions Reduction Targets. The forthcoming decision will shape the state's climate change efforts for decades.
“It will take investment from the Andrews government to put Victoria on track to meet the legislated target of zero net emissions by 2050.”
Friends of the Earth are closely following the Emissions Reduction Target process and climate change policy in Victoria.