Baillieu challenged to be bold, decisive
25 November 2012
Farrah Tomazin, The Age
Business and community leaders have urged Ted Baillieu to be bolder and more decisive as he passes the halfway mark of his first term, giving the government a mixed report card for its efforts so far.
A Sunday Age survey marking the second anniversary of the Coalition's election win has found that many still believe the government is stagnating, too slow to act, or failing to sell a credible policy agenda to boost the state.
With two years until the next election, leading figures have urged Mr Baillieu to fire up in a bid to boost infrastructure, grow jobs and improve public services...
...Law Institute of Victoria president Michael Holcroft accused the government of taking too long to make key appointments across the justice portfolio, such as a new chief magistrate or anti-corruption commissioner.
Environment Victoria chief executive Kelly O'Shanassy was equally critical, saying the Coalition had taken the environment ''decades backwards'' through initiatives such as cattle grazing in the Alpine National Park, dismantling protection for natives species and slashing support for renewable energy.
The comments are contained in a survey of 10 Victorian business and community figures, who were asked to assess how the government was faring and what its key priorities should be over the next two years.
The findings come at a sensitive time for the government, which recently fell behind Labor in the polls for the first time since coming to office...
How leaders rate the Baillieu government
As Ted Baillieu approaches the second anniversary of his election victory, The Sunday Age asked 10 business and community leaders to tell us how they think the state government is faring. Here's what they said:
ENVIRONMENT VICTORIA CHIEF EXECUTIVE KELLY O'SHANASSY:
How would you rate the Baillieu government's first two years in office?
In just two short years the Baillieu government has taken our environment decades backwards. They've slashed support for renewable energy jobs and investment, opened up our national parks to cattle grazing and development, weakened the national plan to save the Murray River, undermined Melbourne's green wedges, systematically dismantled protections for threatened species and native forests, and moved to massively expand brown coal mining and export. It's hard to think of a two-year period that has been worse for our environment.
What do you view as the government's a) biggest success to date; b) biggest disappointment?
a) The decisions to double the state's energy efficiency target will reduce energy costs for homes and businesses though falls short of their election promise to improve Victorian homes to a 5-star average.
b) Their new wind farm laws effectively kill off any new wind farms in Victoria beyond what is already approved. This is costing regional Victoria jobs and investment and preventing our move away from polluting coal.
What do you think the government's top priority should be ahead of the 2014 Victorian election?
To put the Victorian environment and economy on a sustainable footing. That means reducing our reliance on dangerous brown coal, and supporting renewable energy investment and jobs. It means halting the decline in the ecosystems upon which our economy depends, and restoring our rivers and wetlands to health. It means investing in energy efficiency and public transport, to ease cost of living pressures and make our city more liveable. It means supporting individuals and businesses to do the right thing, rather than shifting the burden onto the community.
Have they met your expectations so far?