The announcement today that the State Government plans to introduce a Commissioner for Ecologically Sustainable Development (ESD) was welcomed by Victoria’s green groups as a step in the right direction.
“The creation of a Commissioner for ESD would put environment issues well and truly on the agenda in Victoria, as they should be,” said Marcus Godinho, Executive Director of Environment Victoria.
“We’ve long been pushing for the government to introduce an independent office and Commissioner for ESD as a way of holding the State Government accountable for improving Victoria’s environmental performance,” he said.
The proposed Commissioner for ESD would have the role of auditing and monitoring the government’s environmental performance, advocating for sustainability and conducting State of the Environment reporting.
“With the introduction of legislation to the parliament next week, the test will be whether the Opposition and Independents support the proposal, and we certainly hope they will,” said Mr Godinho.
“All parties need to take a serous look at Victoria’s long term sustainability issues – to continue to take a short term focus will spell the death knell for Victoria’s fragile ecosystems.
“We are yet to see the details of the Commissioner’s role and structure, but we are hopeful that he or she will be completely independent and capable of ensuring that the government takes its environmental responsibilities seriously.
“We expect that the Commissioner, reporting to Cabinet via the Premier, will take a whole-of-government coordinating role to ensure that sustainability issues are implemented in every part of government.”
One of the key responsibilities of the Commissioner would be to undertake State of the Environment Reporting, a process which would allow the state to benchmark how well we are managing the health of our environment.
Victoria is currently the only state or territory that does not undertake such reporting.