Media Releases | 11th Jul, 2006

National Party leaves bush community high and dry

Tuesday, 11 July 2006

The National Party’s environment policy fails to safeguard rural communities from their greatest threat – climate change.

Environment Victoria’s executive director Marcus Godinho said the biggest issue facing rural communities in coming years would be the impacts of climate change on their properties and waterways.

“The National Party environment policy blithely accepts dangerous climate change rather than tackling it head-on, despite it being the biggest threat to our rural communities,” Mr Godinho said.

“Climate change is the biggest environmental test facing political parties at the upcoming state election. Rather than confront climate change, this policy appears resigned to it and proposes misguided responses such as building new dams.

“People living in rural Victoria are going to bear the brunt of climate change more than anyone else in Victoria. Australia’s leading scientists predict it will lead to less water and more frequent and intense fires and storms.

Mr Godinho said the National Party environment policy was severely lacking as it:

* Fails to set targets to reduce greenhouse pollution;
* Provides no policy initiatives to tackle climate change such as an emissions trading scheme or renewable energy target; “This is despite 81% of Victorians being prepared to pay an extra $3.50 a month for renewable clean non-polluting energy.”
* Unjustifiably attacks public servants who are working to protect the environment. It is vital we have a streamlined bureaucracy that has maximum bang for its buck; and
* Calls for the Commissioner for Environmental Sustainability to be scrapped and in doing so abandons independent reporting on the health of the environment and effectiveness of government programs.

Mr Godinho said the National Party is falling behind science and community expectations as the community wants governments to start playing their role in tackling climate change.

“The Nationals have failed to inspire the community with a vision for what rural Victoria could be in the future.

The Party has missed an opportunity to set out an agenda for clean and green industries that will provide jobs for rural and regional Victorians.

“By ignoring climate change the National Party is leaving rural communities high and dry.’’