Blog | 10th May, 2022

Why I organised a bike rally in the Latrobe Valley

As a local organiser with Environment Victoria’s Gippsland Action Network, I helped organise a bike ride and rally in Traralgon last Saturday.

This is me on my bike at the start of the ride - in front of one of the three coal-fired power stations in the Valley

Being part of this climate action day was brilliant. It feels so good to be doing something positive and proactive. We had a great team of high-spirited people, and the general atmosphere was very positive and uplifting for everyone who braved the weather to join us.

We had four local candidates show up to receive our open letter, which we are proud to say was signed by over 300 businesses, organisations and individuals. We sent invitations to all local candidates, the ones who accepted our invitation were Jessica O’Donnell and Jannette Langley for Labor and Matt Morgan and Marjorie Thorpe for The Greens.

We asked them to commit to legislating a national, evidence-based plan to slash climate pollution this decade. We also called on them to protect our most important and precious ecosystems. For those candidates that didn’t show up in person, we all called them from the rally to leave a message expressing our disappointment.

With our community looking on, we asked each candidate how they plan to support the region through the transition and what a fast and fair transition looks like to them. We also pushed to find out how they would plan to do this by 2030. What stood out for me from their replies was the passion with what they spoke. It really sounded like they too want to make a difference and this was heartening.

Right across Victoria, communities were standing up for our climate in a big week of action. Here in the Latrobe Valley, we rode our bikes from the source of the largest share of Victorian emissions – our coal fired power stations – to the heart of the community. In Hastings and Ballarat we marched in the streets, shoulder-to-shoulder with workers, families and activists. And in Frankston, Knox, Mount Martha, Dandenong and Pakenham we brought people together to tell our federal candidates what fast and fair climate action looks like in our local communities. You can learn more about the other events in this blog >>

  • Welcome to Country and smoking ceremony from Gunai Kurnai man Uncle Wayne Thorpe

We deserve a government who takes responsibility and protects Australians from climate risks – and our candidates need to know that’s what we’ll be voting for.

It’s been really amazing working with a team of like-minded people under the guidance of experienced activists. I feel I’m learning so much and it feels great to be doing more than just what you as an individual can do in your own home and life. Coming together as a community feels so powerful and important and it gives us all hope for what is possible for the future. And the battle doesn’t end with this election, through the Action Network we’re building momentum and community power for the challenges ahead.

With just over a week to go, I encourage you to keep making your support for climate action impossible to ignore. Talk to your neighbours and your family, ask your local candidates if they have a plan to cut climate pollution this decade or get creative!

Because together we are stronger. Within ourselves and for what we are demanding.

Learn more about the Gippsland Action Network