Over 1000 Victorians are expected to march backwards from Parliament House today at 1 pm to highlight the direction the Baillieu Government is taking Victoria on the environment and climate change.
Organisers of the Backwards March – Environment Victoria, The Wilderness Society, Victorian National Parks Association and Friends of the Earth – are calling on the Premier to change direction to save Victoria’s environment before it’s too late. The Backwards March comes a fortnight ahead of the Baillieu Government’s first anniversary.
The environment groups described the past 12 months as an Annus Horribilis, or year of horrors, for Victoria’s environment, with decisions to allow cattle grazing in Alpine National Parks, prevent the development of new wind farms, weaken threatened species protection and unravel Victoria’s climate policy agenda.
Environment Victoria’s CEO Kelly O’Shanassy said:
“The Baillieu Government didn’t release their environment policy ahead of the election, and since they were elected we’ve seen the systematic dismantling of Victoria’s environmental protections. Its extremely disappointing and contrary to Victorians aspirations for the environment. We need to see a change of direction urgently.”
“Some of the Baillieu Government’s decisions are frankly illogical and ideological,” Friends of the Earth’s Campaigns Coordinator Cam Walker said.
“The State Government has so far turned its back on the solar and wind industries, two of the fastest growing industries in the world, and instead is supporting new coal mines and coal-fired power stations. Victorians can oppose wind farms but not the extension of a coal mine. It’s a backwards approach that needs to change.”
The Wilderness Society’s Forests Campaigner Luke Chamberlain said:
“It has only taken a year for Premier Baillieu to take Victoria back to Victorian times when loggers and miners were able to destroy our beautiful natural environment without any recourse. Recent revelations that forestry could be made exempt from the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act effectively sign the death warrant of Victoria’s iconic Leadbeater’s possum at Sylvia Creek and the Long-footed potoroo and other endangered species at Brown Mountain.”
Victorian National Parks Association Executive Director Matt Ruchel said:
“Premier Baillieu said he would fix the problems and build the future. But when it comes to our unique environment his government has created new problems that are threatening our future. The government has undermined National Parks with cattle trampling the Alpine National Park and opening up redgum parks for firewood collection. National Parks are not cow paddocks or firewood depots.”
The environment groups said the Baillieu Government had shown it was capable of acting for the environment, in isolated cases such as increasing Victoria’s energy efficiency target and landfill levies and making additions to the Parks system. However these positive measures were more than outweighed by a series of poor environmental decisions.
Environment Victoria’s Kelly O’Shanassy concluded: “What we need now is for the Baillieu Government to put its annus horribilis behind it, and to develop a policy agenda that helps, not harms, the environment and positions Victoria as an environmental and clean economy leader.”
The Backwards March commences with speakers at Parliament House at 1 pm. The march will leave Parliament House at 1.30 pm.
Running report cards on the Baillieu Government’s negative and positive decisions on the environment can be found at these locations:
Kelly O’Shanassy Environment Victoria 0421 054 402
Cam Walker Friends of the Earth 0419 338 047
Luke Chamberlain The Wilderness Society 0424 098 729
Matt Ruchel Victorian National Parks Association 0418 357 813