Environment Victoria has strongly welcomed today’s State Budget, saying the Andrews government has set an example for how climate solutions can drive economic recovery.
Major features of the budget include a $797 million package for household energy efficiency, solar and batteries, $540 million to establish six Renewable Energy Zones, as well as significant packages to restore landscapes by planting four million trees and to improve river and wetland health.
“This is the first state budget since the devastating bushfires and we’re very pleased it includes some big spending to create thousands of jobs by taking significant action on climate change,” said CEO of Environment Victoria, Jono La Nauze.
“The Andrews government has said that renewable energy will power Victoria’s economic recovery, and this budget delivers.
“The massive household energy efficiency package is a game-changer that will make people’s homes more comfortable, reduce their power bills, improve the lives of renters and cut pollution all at the same time.”
On the $540 million to establish six Renewable Energy Zones:
“To cut our greenhouse gas pollution, we need to rapidly clean up our electricity supply. Grid upgrades in six new Renewable Energy Zones across the state will unlock Victoria’s incredible wind and solar resources, bringing enormous amounts of investment and jobs to regional Victoria,” said Mr La Nauze.
“Combined with the $100 million commitment to accelerating the KerangLink transmission line and interconnector, this funding helps us move towards a modern energy grid that can incorporate significantly more wind and solar.
“This helps prepare for the closure of old coal-burning power stations, which are the biggest source of climate pollution in Victoria.”
On the $797 million energy efficiency package funding:
“Energy efficiency saves households money and cuts pollution. It also creates local jobs in a range of trades across the state. This is a clever plan that addresses economic, social and environmental problems at once.
“The $335 million to replace 250,000 old heaters with new, energy efficient reverse-cycle air conditioners will help low-income households get off gas, saving money and cutting pollution.”
On the $28 million raised through an electric vehicle road charge:
“This extra cost discourages people to buy electric vehicles just as they’re taking off, which will make it harder to reduce transport pollution.
“It contradicts the government’s other policies to encourage electric vehicles, sending a mixed message.”
On funding for nature and conservation programs:
“Victoria’s most recent State of the Environment report showed that a lot of work needs to be done to reverse the decline of our natural spaces – the ecosystems that underpin our agriculture and our broader economy.
“Landscape management is a big opportunity for job creation, especially in bushfire affected areas and the budget includes $29 million to continue important bushfire recovery programs.
“We’re also pleased to see $92 million to restore land and plant four million trees, and $16 million to protect our coast from climate change.
“New funding to continue important work to protect rivers through fencing and revegetation is also welcome.”
On the Latrobe Valley Authority funding:
“We’re pleased to see the continuation of the Latrobe Valley Authority’s funding.
“As we rapidly modernise our grid to deal with climate change, the remaining power stations will need to be phased out sooner rather than later. That means we need a plan to continue supporting workers at those power stations and the broader Latrobe Valley community and to bring new economic opportunities to the region,” said Mr La Nauze.
Greg Foyster, Media and Content Manager
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