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.
Climate change will significantly alter the life and culture of human societies. Australia is no exception.
When we consider climate change on the global level we begin to see overall trends, but it is easy to lose sight of the local detail. For example, we know that, globally, 2016 was the hottest year on record but we must ask what this means for local communities and landscapes.
It is clear that these global changes will play out locally.
In central and northern Victoria, it is important that we understand how climate change will impact on our future, so we can plan for it. As a trend, annual rainfall has significantly decreased in the region and the average temperature since 1950 has already increased by between 1 and 1.5 degrees Celsius.
Based on projections provided by the State of Victoria, it is clear that the Loddon and Mallee regions will be a hotter and drier place than they have already become. These changes will involve significant challenges for people living in the north of the state.Read more