Blog | 15th Dec, 2009

yep, there’s a few…

It's never easy securing environmental victories, but we reckon we’ve had a pretty good year on the campaign trail. While we’re still not taking the critical big steps forward to reduce emissions, save our rivers and protect our biodiversity, we did manage to secure a few important victories this year.

When reflecting on campaign work and highlights for the year, its often tempting to point to events and initiatives that we undertook, and there’s been plenty of those. Our Victorian Green Jobs summit brought together 180 of the State’s leaders to explore opportunities to green the state. The 2009 Walk against Warming was one of the largest climate protests the world has seen. Our sustainable living projects worked with thousands of Victorians to reduce their footprint. Our ‘story-telling’ projects gave a voice to local people throughout Victoria who want to see their rivers protected. These are all fantastic projects and outcomes.

However as well as assessing the success of our activities its also important that we have analyse the difference that our work had on the real world in terms of environmental outcomes. Did our work this year make a difference to the state of the environment or not?

Here’s 6 tangible campaign outcomes for the year where our campaigns made a difference to existing laws and environmental outcomes:

1) Improved the solar feed-in tariff
Our strong community campaign in partnership with several organisations (particularly the ATA and MEFL) saw the solar feed-in tariff legislation improved so that businesses and community organisations could receive support to go solar. We also increased the size of solar installations that are eligible for support under the legislation.
For more info click here

2) Paved the way for 460 billion litres of water to be returned to the Murray River
We worked with farmers, water authorities and local government to put a proposal to the State Government to remove barriers to water trading in northern Victoria. The Brumby Government partly removed the barriers which will allow the Federal Government to buy an extra 460 billion litres of water for the river over the next 5 years.
For more info click here

3) Successfully campaigned for an electronic waste scheme nationally
Currently 14 million televisions and computers are dumped in landfill each year. Enter Environment Victoria and our electronic waste campaign which we’ve been running for the past 15 months. In November, following a creative campaign in which we partnered with the television industry, the Federal Government agreed to set up a national scheme whereby manufacturers of tv’s and computers are required to take back their products at the end of their lives and required to recycle 80% of the content over the next decade. That’s a massive boost for recycling, allows us to recover precious materials from electronic goods and reduces greenhouse emissions from landfills.
For more info click here

4) Forced a back-down on plans to allocate and export brown coal
When State Government proposals to allocate billions of tonnes of brown coal were revealed Environment Victoria sprang into action. We ran a short, sharp community, media and political campaign urging the Brumby Government to abandon plans to give coal to a company called Exergen to export to India and to undertake a coal allocation. In early December Minister Batchelor confirmed that Exergen would not be getting the go-ahead and that there were no immediate plans to allocate coal. That’s 13 billion tonnes of unallocated coal that will stay in the ground for now, and we plan to keep it that way.
For more info click here

5) Supported the creation of Red Gum National Parks
While our colleagues at VNPA, The Wilderness Society and Friends of the Earth did most of the legwork Environment Victoria played a supporting role in the campaign to establish new Red Gum Parks along the Murray River. The National Parks, jointly managed with traditional owners, were proclaimed in November adding nearly 100,000 hectares to the Parks estate. Now we just need some water for those wetlands.
For more info click here

6) Got pre-packaged lemons off the shelves at Coles
It was a smallie, but a goodie. By conducting our biannual DUMP awards for the most damagingly packaged product we forced Coles supermarkets to take lemons packed on a polystyrene tray off the shelves. Viva la packaging revolution!
For more info click here

Not a bad year’s work eh!
Of course we need more and bigger victories, and we’re hopeful that there’s a couple in the pipeline already. And 2010 being an election year both for Victoria and federally there’s a big opportunity for us to achieve some really big goals, like shutting Hazelwood power station and get environmental flows back into all of our rivers.

Get on board the Environment Victoria train. We’re building up a head of steam that won’t be stopped. Join us