Media Releases | 19th Aug, 2021

Climate the biggest challenge in Victoria’s 30-year infrastructure strategy

A comprehensive strategy for Victoria’s infrastructure over the next 30 years puts the climate crisis front and centre as a key long-term challenge, Environment Victoria said today.

The report, Victoria’s infrastructure strategy 2021-2051, was tabled in parliament this morning and makes 94 recommendations, including the following:

  • Accelerate the uptake of electric vehicles with a commitment “to no longer registering new petrol and diesel vehicles in Victoria by 2035 at the latest”
  • Require all new government vehicles to be zero emissions within five years
  • Require new homes to be 7-star energy-rated by 2022
  • Increase minimum energy efficiency standards in rental homes in the next three years
  • Build a circular economy for waste and recycling
  • Target 30% tree canopy in Melbourne’s growth areas
  • Encourage people to take public transport through permanent off-peak discounts and reduced tram and bus fares
  • Trial full-scale traffic congestion pricing in inner Melbourne
  • Boost cycling in Melbourne and major regional cities with high-quality, safer cycling corridors
  • Create climate-adapted facilities for rural communities
  • Amend planning regulations so new housing developments are not forced to connect to the gas network

Responding to the report, Environment Victoria Campaigns Manager Dr Nicholas Aberle said:

“Our use of infrastructure and the built environment accounts for almost 90 percent of Victoria’s greenhouse gas pollution, so we are pleased to see climate solutions are a huge part of this 30 year plan.”

“The recommendation to effectively ban new internal combustion engine vehicles from 2035 at the latest is a major step forward. Transport produces almost a quarter of Victoria’s emissions, and unlike some other sectors that pollution continues to grow.

“Cleaner cars are important, but so is getting people into public and active transport. We support the recommendations to boost alternatives to private cars, but think these could have gone further.

“Promoting a shift to public and active transport is less effective if you are also increasing capacity for private cars. Continuing to spend billions on freeways takes away money from cleaner, better transport solutions.

“The focus on improving household energy efficiency is smart and benefits everyone – it means lower energy bills, more comfortable homes and less climate pollution.

“Gas is a major cause of the climate crisis and Victorian households use more gas than any other state. Current regulations are forcing new housing developments to connect to this expensive and polluting gas network. We’re pleased to see Infrastructure Victoria’s recommendation to scrap these outdated regulations.

“However we think these recommendations on the use of gas in households could have gone further. There is now clear evidence that new all-electric homes are cheaper to run and better for the environment than homes with gas, so this should become the standard in all new housing developments.

“Expanding the gas network is expensive and doesn’t align with Victoria’s targets to cut emissions to zero by 2050, so getting off gas must be a priority for the state.

“With just over 12 months to the next state election, Infrastructure Victoria has put forward a solid template for how political parties should be thinking about Victoria’s future.

“The take-home message is that our biggest long-term challenge is climate change, and our prosperity depends on making decisions now to cut pollution and reach a more sustainable society as quickly as possible.”

Media contact

Greg Foyster, Media Manager

Phone: 0410879031