The Victorian government has taken the axe to funding for its environment department, with the division the hardest hit by a tough budget.
All up, $130.6 million in funding will be stripped from the department on the back of the end of some bushfire and climate change programs.The government said the funding reductions were due in part to certain schemes ending in the lead up to the introduction of the carbon price in July.
Opposition environment spokesperson Lisa Neville said the government had "abandoned its responsibilities to enhance and protect Victoria's environment."
Environment Victoria described the budget as “deeply disappointing”.
“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.
“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.
“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.”