Media Releases | 28th Nov, 2013

State of the Environment report paints bleak picture for the future

28 November 2013

Environment Victoria has warned today that the continued deterioration of Victoria’s environment, as highlighted in the State of Environment Report released today, is a clear and present danger for Victoria.

The State of the Environment Report follows Environment Victoria’s EnviroWatch audit released yesterday which found that the Victorian Government has failed to deliver on 13 of its environment election promises and has undertaken another 38 actions that take us backwards on environmental protection.

The State of Environment report, released every five years, collates the latest science on Victoria’s rivers and coasts, plants and animals, climate, land, and urban areas. It identifies trends and issues and lists recommendations for the future. A snapshot of report findings can be found below.

Environment Victoria CEO Kelly O’Shanassy said today:

“The Commissioner for Environment Sustainability has done a terrific job of pulling together the facts and trends for Victoria’s environment but unfortunately the facts are alarming. The state of Victoria’s environment is deteriorating across most indicators.

“At the very time we need a comprehensive plan to protect our environment, the Napthine Government has been taking us backwards through either failing to deliver on its environment election promises or implementing environmentally damaging actions.

“Victoria is warmer and drier with less predictable weather patterns; our rivers are unhealthy and in urgent need of repair and our threatened species are more threatened than ever before.

“The report indicates that prior to the introduction of the carbon price, greenhouse pollution was still rising largely thanks to Victoria’s polluting coal plants. This is set to resume if the carbon price is scrapped and the Victorian Government continues to ignore its responsibilities on climate change. Increased bushfires, droughts and heatwaves are a danger to all Victorians.

“Our rivers, the lifeblood of our communities, have been under enormous pressure during the drought and may very well receive a knockout punch from climate change.

“In good news, Victoria’s air quality has improved dramatically in recent decades due to emissions control regulations on cars and industry. Victorians are also much more water savvy and are recycling more, showing that dedicated action does yield positive results.

“These scientific facts documented by Victoria’s chief environmental expert should set alarm bells ringing for all Victorians.

“Our environment is not just the national parks and beaches we visit on our holidays, it’s our cities, our farms and our backyards.  If we lose our environment, we lose our ability to breathe clean air and drink fresh water, and we destroy our lifestyles and economy.

“The Commissioner highlights a number of important recommendations that can put our environment on the road to recovery. Unfortunately these recommendations are not new and governments have been warned for years that our environment is in a freefall.

“Our environment is in serious trouble and our governments don’t have a plan to fix it, in fact their actions like weakening National Parks protection and attempting to develop new coal mines are making things worse.

“We urgently need a positive reform agenda for our environment before it’s too late.”



Key findings of the report include:

  • In the past decade, greenhouse emissions rose by 12 percent, with two-thirds of Victoria’s emissions coming from stationary energy sources – mainly from brown coal plants.
  • Average temperatures have increased by 0.8 degrees since the 1950’s, rainfall patterns have changed and heat waves are more severe.
  • Over the next 50 years, runoff to rivers could halve and temperatures could increase by up to 3.8 degrees. More extreme weather events and bushfires are predicted.
  • Only 23 percent of Victoria’s rivers are healthy with low streamflows and poor river-side vegetation being ongoing causes of ill-health.
  • There is decline in populations of threatened species because of habitat loss and fragmentation, and a decline in the extent and condition of native vegetation.
  • Victoria’s air quality is good by international standards, although areas of poor air quality exist.
  • On average each Victorian is using twice as much energy compared to two decades ago and producing more waste. However, each Melbournian used 42 percent less water over the millennium drought.


For further information or comment

Kelly O’Shanassy, Environment Victoria CEO, 0421 054 402

Read the ‘EnviroWatch 2013: Three years in’ audit here > 

Read the State of the Environment report here >