The Brumby Government has failed to use its $42 billion State Budget to deliver a green stimulus package to address Victoria’s urgent environmental and economic challenges the state’s peak environment group said today.
Environment Victoria CEO Kelly O’Shanassy said it was extraordinary that so little attention was paid to climate change and the dire state of Victoria’s rivers in this budget.
“The absence of spending on climate change meant that the budget looked like it was written in 1989 rather than 2009”, she said
“The State Government has missed a huge opportunity to deliver a green stimulus package and create new green jobs and industries. With the double whammy impact of climate change and recession, smart governments are creating new green industries that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and safeguard the environment.
“Unfortunately there is no substantial funding in this budget for greening our homes and buildings, no energy efficiency funding, just $1 million for new renewable energy projects, and a woeful $300,000 to secure the future of the Murray Darling Basin.
“We understand that a green jobs and climate change strategy are in the pipeline, but this is the ALP’s tenth State Budget and we are still waiting for substantial investment in our environment.”
Ms O’Shanassy said energy efficiency had been overlooked with no new announcements despite it being widely recognised as the quickest and cheapest way to reduce emissions.
“This budget includes a $120.9 million skills package, but again there is a major missed opportunity. None of this ‘future skills’ funding is allocated to skills development for green collar jobs,” she said.
“On a more positive note the large investment in public transport infrastructure is welcome, with a ratio of 2 to 1 for spending on public transport to roads for the first time. However without a commitment to substantially improving Victoria’s vehicle fleet, greenhouse emissions from transport are still likely to rise.
“We also welcome new funding for the new Red Gum and Point Nepean National Parks.”
“The Brumby Government has a lot of work to do on climate change, rivers protection and delivering a positive environmental legacy between now and the 2010 State election.
“We’re very disappointed by this budget but hopeful that the Green Jobs and Economy Plan, the Climate Change White Paper and the 2010 State Budget reverse a decade of under-expenditure and environmental decline.”