Environment Victoria, one of Australia’s leading environment organisations, today celebrates 50 years of groundbreaking campaigning to protect our rivers, wildlife, forests and climate.
Born of the campaign to save the Little Desert in north-west Victoria, now a National Park, Environment Victoria has been instrumental in placing environmental concerns at the centre of Victorian politics for five decades.
This history is being told for the first time in a new book, People for the Planet, written by journalist Peter Barrett and launched at Environment Victoria’s birthday celebration tonight.
“Whether campaigning to create Gariwerd/Grampians National Park, returning water to the Murray-Darling, or organising Melbourne’s first big climate change rallies, Environment Victoria has been instrumental in some of the biggest environmental struggles of our time,” said CEO Jono La Nauze.
“The organisation was formed through an unlikely coalition of people – bird watchers, duck shooters, scientists and foresters – who were united in their passion to protect our natural world. For 50 years Environment Victoria has remained committed to working across politics and society, focusing on people-powered campaigns that create lasting change.
“More than 300 different groups have been part of Environment Victoria over the last 50 years. We’ve grown to a community of more than 150,000 people, reflecting a growing concern for the state of Victoria’s environment.
“With our society facing a climate crisis and our planet facing its sixth mass extinction, the work we do is more crucial than ever before.
“Environment Victoria has been around for 50 years, but Indigenous peoples have been caring for country for more than 50,000 years. While reflecting on our history, we’d like to acknowledge that Traditional Owners are the true custodians of this land and water and their sovereignty was never ceded,” said CEO Jono La Nauze.
Key moments – 50 years of Environment Victoria
1969 – Inspired by the fight to save the Little Desert, representatives of 76 diverse conservation groups create a new organisation as a united voice for Victoria’s environment, called the Conservation Council of Victoria (CCV).
1984 – Gariwerd (Grampians National Park) opens, following concerted campaigning by the CCV and partners.
1994 – CCV changes its name to Environment Victoria, raising the organisation’s profile and reflecting a broader range of campaigns.
1996 – Leaded petrol withdrawn after many years of campaigning by Environment Victoria and other groups, an important win for community health.
1997 – Shell-Mobil abandons plans to import oil in large tankers through Crib Point in Western Port Bay, after persistent campaigning from Environment Victoria and local groups.
2000 – With local activists in East Gippsland, Environment Victoria secures water to get the Snowy River flowing again.
2005 – Environment Victoria begins annual ‘Walk Against Warming’, Melbourne’s first big climate change protests.
2012 – With other groups, Environment Victoria secures the Murray-Darling Basin Plan with up to 3200 billion litres of water recovered for the river system.
2017 – After years of hard-fought campaigning by Environment Victoria, Hazelwood power station is closed, with $310 million in government transition funding allocated to the Latrobe Valley community.
Jono La Nauze, Environment Victoria CEO
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