Friends of the Earth and the local Ararat Greenhouse Action Group have criticised Liberal MP for Ripon Louise Staley's contradictory position on climate change.
When Ms Staley was asked about whether she accepts climate change science and her party's policy at the Victorian Farmers Federation's candidates forum in late October, Ms Staley stated:
"Yes I do" accept the science of climate change before adding, "I do not support a Victorian renewable energy target. We will abolish that if we come into government."
Friends of the Earth's climate change spokesperson Leigh Ewbank said Louise Staley's acceptance of climate science was welcome, yet said she must be judged on her track record and Liberal party's platform.
"Saying you accept the science of climate change is one thing, yet the true test of Louise Staley's commitment is her voting record and party's platform," said Leigh Ewbank.
"If Louise Staley shared the community's concern about climate impacts then she wouldn't have voted against strengthening Victoria's Climate Change Act and certainly wouldn't scrap the Victorian Renewable Energy Target."
"People are sick and tired of politicians saying one thing and doing another on big issues like climate change."
The Climate Change Act 2017 enshrines a target of zero-net emissions by 2050 in law. The Victorian Renewable Energy Target will cut electricity sector emissions by 16 percent, deliver cheaper power, and is already creating jobs in the Ararat region.
In October, the world's leading scientists issued a warning on climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's (IPCC) special report says emissions from fossil fuel, industry, and land use must be halved by 2030 and eliminated entirely by 2050 to avoid catastrophic impacts.
Russell Pearse of the Ararat Greenhouse Action Group shares Friends of the Earth's critique and highlights local climate impacts.
"According to Bureau of Meteorology data, the Ararat region experienced a record-dry June in 2017 while Victoria saw a record-breaking heatwave last April," said Pearse.
"Community surveying identified increased bushfire and grassfire risk as a key concern about climate impacts in the region."
The Ararat region is a leader when it comes to climate change action. Wind farms in Challicum Hills, Ararat, and nearby Maroona are powering hundreds of thousands of homes. New wind farms in Bulgana, Crowlands, and Stockyard Hill will build on the region's leadership.
Data from the Australian Photovoltaic Institute shows some 843 dwellings in the Ararat region have installed solar power, representing 16.3 percent of homes in the district.
"Community members are proud of their efforts to tackle climate change and want governments to show greater leadership," said Leigh Ewbank.
"Louise Staley can prove her climate credentials and value as a local MP by supporting the push for a Victorian Climate Change Action Fund and ensure the Liberal party presents a detailed climate policy before election day."
At another Ripon candidates' forum in Tarnagulla, Labor candidate Sarah De Santis committed to advocate the Minister for Climate Change Lily D'Ambrosio for a dedicated climate action fund to help community projects get off the ground.
The Victorian Greens are the first party to support Friends of the Earth's call for a 'Climate Budget' to allow for the impact of climate change on state finances to be understood and tracked over time.
Friends of the Earth will be closely tracking climate change announcements in the final week of the election campaign.
- Get Involved in our week of action on climate change before the election
- Sign the petition calling on opposition leader Matthew Guy to uphold the state's climate laws.
- Support grassroots community action on climate change by making a donation.
Authorised by C.Walker , Friends of the Earth Melbourne, 312 Smith St, Collingwood, VIC 3066