Media Releases | 10th Nov, 2010

Coalition lagging badly on environment

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Victoria’s four major environment groups say they are sorely disappointed by the handful of environment policies released by the Victorian Coalition so far in the lead up to the state election.

The groups today released an updated assessment of the environment policies of the three major parties. The Greens have increased their score from 90 to 93 percent and Labor’s score has risen from 45 to 47 percent but the Liberal-National Coalition has fallen a further three percentage points, with a total of just 11 percent.

The Wilderness Society’s Victorian Campaigns Manager Gavan McFadzean said:

“So far the Coalition’s environment policies have failed to address many of our priority policy areas. In particular they have lost ground due to their recent forest policy which announces that logging and woodchipping will intensify and native forests will be effectively converted to eucalypt plantations.”

“2010 is the international year of biodiversity. Going by the policy commitments Labor and Liberal so far, you wouldn’t know it. Neither party has grasped the seriousness of the biodiversity crisis in Victoria and urgent need to protect ecosystems and habitat for rare and endangered wildlife.”

“The surging Green Party vote is a clear signal that the public want to see the other parties announce strong environment policy in the coming weeks, rather than squabble about preference deals.”

Victorian National Parks Association’s Executive Director Matt Ruchel said:

“Both the ALP and Coalition were marked down due to their policies on the natural environment. The Coalition for its backward policy of re-introducing cattle grazing to the Alpine National Park and the ALP due to its appalling “Pursing the Great Outdoors” policy which threatens to undermine the integrity of our magnificent national park system.”

“However the Liberal Party’s recent announcement that they will retain the Victorian Environment Assessment Council (VEAC) and instruct it to undertake investigations into marine parks and freshwater ecosystems is to be congratulated.”

Environment Victoria CEO Kelly O’Shanassy said:

“For the sake of a strong democracy, and for our state’s environment, it’s vital that the alternative government provides a comprehensive, well-thought out set of environmental policies. The environment is no longer an ‘optional extra’ for political parties, it should be core business for all the parties – including the Coalition.”

“In three weeks time Ted Baillieu or John Brumby will be elected Premier for the next four years. The Coalition in particular, but also the ALP, need to get busy releasing further policies to convince voters of their environmental credentials.”

Friends of the Earth Campaigns Coordinator Cam Walker said:

“Although the Coalition supported Brumby’s target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent by 2020, they are opposing key measures needed to reach that target such as replacing Hazelwood power station and building new wind farms.”

“Climate change is a grave threat to Victoria, but it also offers opportunities for the growth of a clean energy economy. We hope that the Coalition will deliver a detailed climate change policy in the next three weeks.”

The first environment policy scorecard was released late last month, and the final edition will be announced on Wednesday, 24 November.

The scorecard assessment framework can be downloaded here

For comment contact:

Kelly O’Shannasy, Environment Victoria on 0421 054 402

Matt Ruchel, Victorian National Parks Association on 0418 357 813

Cam Walker, Friends of the Earth on 0419 338 047

Gavan McFadzean, The Wilderness Society on 0414 754 023.

Media assistance:

Louise Matthiesson on 0417 017 844