News | 30th Nov, 2010

Environment Victoria calls for stronger policy

Tuesday, 30 November 2010
ABC Ballarat, Debbie Rybicki

The group's CEO, Kelly O'Shanassy, says despite the Coalition having some fairly strong policies about water recycling, retrofitting homes for energy efficiency and returning water to some of the rivers in Victoria they went into the election with weaker environment policies than the ALP.

"They need to think big, because the environmental problems we face are very big," Ms O'Shanassy says.

Environment Victoria says the majority of the Coalition's environment policies lack detail.

"The Coalition supported a target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 20 per cent by 2020 but they don't have a plan in place about how they will do that," Ms O'Shanassy says.

"And they certainly are not supporting actions that the previous Government had started in terms of replacing Hazelwood Power station with clean energy."

Ms O'Shanassy says cost is a significant barrier, however if Australia invests in cleaner forms of energy and phases out its reliance on cheap coal, then energy prices will become cheaper.

"If we just ignore the problem, energy prices will continue to go up and up."

Ms O'Shanassy agrees that proper planning processes for wind farm developments are important and need to be followed.

"We see in government often that they have guidelines and then ignore them, so there needs to be some form of consistency," she says.

"There is grave fear among businesses in particular that have interest in developing wind farms that the Coalition's policy means that it's very difficult to put wind farms in Victoria."

"We need to respect communities but we need to get rid of our addiction to coal."