Environment groups welcomed the appointment today of John Thwaites as Minister for Water and the Environment as a sign of the importance of these issues to the government.
“This is the first time in Australia that the environment has been elevated to such a status with a deputy leader taking responsibility for water and conservation,” said Marcus Godinho, Executive Director of Environment Victoria.
To kick off his new role, Mr Thwaites will speak at an Environment Victoria forum on water issues tomorrow alongside environmentalists, irrigators and other experts in the field.
“We are pleased that he is making an early start on engaging with those people closest to the issues – it is a sign of Mr Thwaites’ willingness to ensure that water and environmental issues are given priority by the government,” said Mr Godinho.
“It is very positive to see that the Bracks government has recognised that a healthy environment is fundamental in achieving a healthy society and prosperous economy.”
“The ALP election platform put forward a number of key environmental commitments so we’ll be looking for a swift implementation of these important initiatives.” said Executive Director of the Australian Conservation Foundation, Don Henry.
“We are looking forward to working with John Thwaites and the Bracks government to ensure Victoria becomes a leader in environmentally sustainable development.
“We also commend the achievements of the former environment minister, Sherryl Garbutt, in particular her role in establishing Victoria’s new system of marine and box iron bark national parks.”
Among the key election commitments put forward by the Bracks government were a $320 million water trust, a phase-out of logging in the Otways and Wombat forests, and a commitment to develop a system of benchmarks for reducing greenhouse pollution.