The Liberal Party continues to fall a long way short of the environmental mark with the release of its Conservation and Sustainability Policy today, according to national and state environment groups.
“While the policy includes some positive stand alone initiatives, it is heavy in rhetoric and light on detail,” said Environment Victoria’s Executive Director, Marcus Godinho. Positive initiatives include a commitment to restoring the health of the Yarra River, 50 new park rangers and a
commitment to a Commissioner for Sustainability.
“The policy doesn’t give us any confidence that a Liberal Government would take serious steps to address forest protection, climate change and declining river health,” said Mr Godinho.
The Liberal policy suggests that Victoria’s conservation parks are “run-down”, and that park visitors are “locked out”. But, with over 13 million visits each year already to our National Parks no new funding to support these major community assets is outlined.
In the lead up to the election, environment groups presented leaders of the parties with a list of reasonable policy asks. The groups have highlighted forest, climate change and river health issues as being the key issues for the parties to tackle.
“The Government agrees that the majority of Victoria’s rivers are becoming saltier, suffering more blue-green algal blooms and dying of thirst. The Liberals’ policy only tackles the Yarra River,” said Mr Godinho. “It’s now time for action on water. Policies such as these do nothing for rural communities which rely on healthy rivers.”
“The policy also fails to address Victoria’s escalating greenhouse emissions from brown coal electricity industry.”
“The Liberals’ Conservation Policy comes off the back of both of the major parties releasing their forests policies over the last week. Both Labor and Liberal have not delivered on the key conservation needs of protecting old growth forests and logging in catchments,” said Gavan McFadzean, Victorian Campaigns Manager, The Wilderness Society.
“The Liberal Party has missed a significant opportunity to commit to a framework that would truly embrace the notion of sustainability within Victoria. It is very important that the Liberal Party clearly spells out for Victorians how it intends on protecting our forests, rivers and waterways and how it will tackle Victoria’s ballooning greenhouse gas emissions,” said
Don Henry, Australian Conservation Foundation Executive Director.