Media Releases | 3rd May, 2011

Baillieu Government’s first budget disappoints on environment

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Environment Victoria has described today’s state budget as failing to set a clear agenda to tackle Victoria’s most urgent environmental problems.

Environment Victoria’s CEO Kelly O’Shanassy said today:

“The Coalition did not release a comprehensive environment policy ahead of the state election but they did commit to cut Victoria’s greenhouse pollution by 20 percent by 2020, overhaul Victoria’s housing stock for water and energy efficiency and return water to rivers.”

“Unfortunately the budget does not deliver this agenda and contains few new environmental programs. This throws considerable doubt on the State Government’s ability to meet its legislated target to reduce greenhouse emissions by 20 percent by 2020. Failure to invest in tackling climate change is an active decision to discourage new clean energy jobs and industries from coming to Victoria.

“It is particularly disappointing that the Treasurer’s budget speech failed to even mention climate change, and that there is so little investment in energy efficiency programs, given the Coalition’s concerns with the rising cost of energy bills.”

“While the Government is still new, this budget sets its spending priorities until mid 2012, which is nearly half of the Coalition’s term of government. It is very disappointing that the Baillieu Government have so far failed to articulate or fund an environmental agenda and are failing to secure a clean, safe environment for Victorians.”

“While there were some positive initiatives in the budget including funding for public transport, water recycling and stormwater capture , local community environmental works and Landcare, these positive measures are piecemeal and inadequate. Without an overarching plan for environmental protection and emissions reduction it is unclear how these programs will secure a healthy environment for Victorians.

“Elsewhere the environmental benefits of budget announcements are unclear. For instance the $41 million of new funding over the next four years for the Energy Technology Innovation Strategy may support genuinely clean renewable energy projects, or alternatively it may be used to support polluting coal projects.

“The bottom line is that the Baillieu’s Government’s first budget has not prioritised tackling climate change or safeguarding our environment for all Victorians. On top of recent regressive efforts to return cattle to the Alpine National Park and stymie wind-farm development, today’s budget sends worrying signals for the future of Victoria’s environment.

“Its time for the Baillieu Government to realise that good environmental management is essential for a strong economy and healthy communities.

For comment

Environment Victoria CEO Kelly O’Shanassy on 0421 054 402