Environment Victoria has described today State budget as “deeply disappointing” and said it continues the Baillieu Government’s record of environmental failure. “The budget fails to deliver on key environment election promises, significantly cuts environment and climate change policy funding, and ignores opportunities to create green jobs and reduce household energy and water bills,” said Environment Victoria’s Campaigns Director Mark Wakeham.
“In its first 18 months in office the Baillieu Government has made a series of decisions which represent an attack on the environment and a failure to grasp the threat of climate change. This budget does nothing to reverse the government’s environmental performance,” said Mr Wakeham.
“This state budget was an opportunity to deliver on the environment election promises that the Coalition has not yet broken, including the commitment to improve the energy and water efficiency of Victorian homes to an average of 5 stars and the election promise to source 5 per cent of the state’s energy from solar power by 2020. These two important commitments are ignored in this budget which raises serious questions about the Government’s intention to deliver on these promises.”
“Spending on environment and climate policy and regulation within Department of Sustainability and Environment has been cut by over 20 per cent on this year’s expenditure. This is in stark contrast to development agencies like the Department of Primary Industries who are attempting to open new coal mines that have had an increase in program expenditure.”
“There is no new funding to reduce Victoria’s greenhouse pollution in this budget. The Treasurer’s speech mentioned “cleaner coal” but failed to mention climate change. Meanwhile transport funding was heavily skewed towards roads over public transport, ensuring Victoria’s transport emissions continue to rise.”
“The only area that received some attention was water with some significant investment in improving knowledge of water resources and resourcing the Environmental Water Holder, however these commitments are overshadowed by the fact that the Baillieu Government is trying to weaken the Murray Darling Basin Plan to the point where it won’t safeguard the future of the Murray.
“Investment in urban water efficiency is more positive and less complicated with the establishment of the Office of Living Victoria which will need to move quickly to meet the Coalition’s election promises to increase stormwater capture and water recycling.”
Mr Wakeham concluded: “The Baillieu Government’s attacks on the environment are taking us backwards by decades. We know from polling that we’ve conducted that Victorians feel let down by the government on the environment. This budget was a wasted opportunity to reverse the government’s poor track record leaving the government with limited time to turn around its environmental performance ahead of the next state election.”
Environment Victoria Campaigns Director Mark Wakeham 0439 700 501