Former Albury girl Victoria McKenzie-McHarg was today listed as the one of the state’s 100 Most Influential, Inspiring and Creative People in a special edition of the Age Melbourne Magazine.
Victoria was selected in the 20 to 30 years age bracket for her work as a Safe Climate Campaigner with Environment Victoria, the state’s leading non-government, not-for-profit organisation based in Carlton.
Victoria grew up in Albury and attended St Patricks Primary School then Xavier High school, where she was school captain and dux of the school in Year 12 in 2000. At 18 years of age she then packed her bags for Melbourne to study at Swinburne University where she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree majoring in politics and communications.
Victoria was nominated for the Top 100 for her role in leading Environment Victoria’s legal challenge against the EPA’s approval of a proposed new coal-fired power station at Morwell in the Latrobe Valley. Victoria said “This is one of the most significant environment cases ever brought in Victoria. If we win it’s difficult to see how any new coal-fired power stations could be built in Victoria again.”
Victoria’s environmental conscience was developed during her family holidays spent swimming the deep waters of the Murray River and splashing about its banks upstream in Walwa. This Christmas, as always, Victoria will visit her parents who still live in Albury.
Victoria said her desire to make a difference came about during travels overseas. “The thing that made me passionate about climate change was when I was in the UK working for a small international development organisation – a bit like a mini Oxfam – when I started to realise the impact of climate change on African rural communities and also here in Australia. So I needed to get serious. I felt I had a moral responsibility to do something about climate change because I had the skills to do something about it.”
Upon her return to Australia in 2007 Victoria successfully applied for the position she still holds at Environment Victoria.
“About five hours after I started here [former prime minister] Kevin Rudd signed the Kyoto Protocol. That was a pretty good first day in the office.”
Now 28, Victoria has had many more good days since, organising the 40,000 people strong Walk Against Warming rallies, and leading grassroots campaigns with community groups, including the Wodonga Albury Towards Climate Health (WATCH) group to “lobby governments to take the action we need.” Victoria added, “Regional communities are on the front line of climate change. They’ll be among the first and worst affected, but they also have a lot of power to influence our leaders to take action.”
For interviews contact:
Victoria McKenzie-McHarg on 0428 480 409
Ian Kenins on 0417 561 563