If you’re concerned about the climate crisis, there’s a lot on offer at this election – but it can be hidden in long policy documents, or buried underneath all the candidate scandals in your news feed.
So we’ve sifted through all the media announcements and promises to bring you this quick summary of what Labor, the Coalition and the Greens are offering on climate, clean energy and nature this election.
Click the links below to skip straight to that section, or scroll down.
For the last year we’ve been building community support for a fast and fair shift to renewable energy. We’ve called this campaign ‘Clean Energy For All’ and it has three core principles:
Our analysis compares announcements from the major parties against these principles. For other topics – like forests and nature, or transport – we’ve linked to relevant independent environment organisations that have created similar policy analysis or scorecards.
Finally, if you want all the nitty-gritty details, you can download our full 22-page election tracker here >>
Environment Victoria believes we need to aim to cut climate pollution to zero by 2035. So what are the parties offering?
Labor’s climate target to cut emissions by up to 80% by 2035 is among the best in the world, raising the bar and putting pressure on other states and countries to lift their game. Delaying net zero until 2050 is too late, and it’s good to see Labor acknowledging this by bringing the date forward to 2045.
The Liberals have come a long way since trying to block Victoria’s climate laws in the past, and their support for target to reduce emissions by 50% by 2030 is very welcome. However they don’t have a target for 2035 so fall short of Labor’s ambition.
The Greens are the only major party to promise emissions cuts in line with the Paris Agreement goal of limiting global warming to as close to 1.5 degrees as possible.
We need to aim for 100% renewable energy in the electricity sector by 2030 – so which parties get us closest to that goal?
Labor’s revised renewable energy targets mean the end of coal power generation in Victoria. Importantly, the targets are not merely aspirational – they are supported by plans to build sufficient renewable generation (including the government’s commitment to develop Australia’s first an offshore wind farms), transmission and the nation’s biggest storage target.
This is a massive step forward for a state that currently relies on coal for around two thirds of our power.
A revived SEC could be a powerful tool to reshape Victoria’s energy system and ensure that from here on, the energy transition is both fast and fair.
The Coalition presently has no renewable energy target for Victoria. We need a clear plan to ramp up the rollout of renewables and storage to phase out coal and gas as soon as possible. We have no assurances, if elected, that the Coalition would retain the Renewable Energy (Jobs and Investment) Act and set ambitious renewable energy targets for 2035.
The Greens plan for achieving 100% renewables by 2030 is in line with what the International Energy Agency and the UN advise is needed to keep global warming below 1.5 degrees. This is the kind of climate action we need.
Victorian households use more gas than any other state, and gas is responsible for about 17 percent of Victoria’s climate pollution.
Given gas prices are likely to remain high for the foreseeable future, the next Victorian government needs to rule out any new gas developments while helping households – particularly the vulnerable and disadvantaged – to switch to efficient electric appliances.
So how do the parties stack up?
Labor has also initiated what will be a very significant transition for Victoria, breaking our addiction to fossil gas, with the development of the Gas Substitution Roadmap. With the exception of the ACT, no Australian state or territory has yet bitten off this challenge.
While the Roadmap is a great start, it is yet to be matched by the serious investment needed to achieve its aspiration – starting with more support for households to switch from gas to efficient electric appliances.
Labor has also not ruled out new gas exploration or import terminals, all of which are potentially damaging to the local environment and our climate. This is disappointing. The time for new fossil fuel developments is well and truly over.
The Coalition launched their election campaign with a pledge to ‘turbocharge’ gas production in Victoria, which will only delay the urgent action we need to reduce climate pollution.
It’s deeply disappointing that the Coalition have chosen to stoke a culture war on gas, in full knowledge that their promise will be impossible to implement. It’s a cynical move that will only serve to delay Victoria’s transition to a clean energy future, while failing to address the very real cost of living pressures faced by many Victorians.
Gas prices are going to remain high for the foreseeable future and the Coalition isn’t offering anything to help households switch to efficient electric appliances which could both save them money and cut pollution.
The Greens have committed to end fossil gas use entirely, including a comprehensive, funded policy to help homes and businesses transition away from gas. They have promised to stop the unsustainable growth in new gas connections, and significant rebates that will assist people to replace gas appliance with efficient electric appliances.
The Greens commitment to stopping new gas projects is vitally important. Their range of policies to help Victoria to get off gas is broad, including a plan to get homes and businesses off gas, ban new gas connections by 2025, stop new gas extraction – both onshore and offshore – and rule out construction of new gas import terminals.
Energy storage is a vital piece in reaching 100% renewable energy, and Victoria needs to ramp up plans for batteries. How do the major parties stack up?
If implemented, Labor’s promised storage target would give Victoria the most ambitious storage plan in the country. Their plan for an additional 100 neighbourhood batteries will assist those who cannot readily install batteries in their homes to take advantage of electricity generated by renewables.
The Coalition’s support for household batteries will make a significant contribution to increasing storage in the state. Some details are lacking – we’d love to see an estimate of how much combined storage capacity their plans will contribute to. We’d also love to see the Coalition commit to community storage incentives to support neighbourhood batteries.
The Greens policies on energy transition centres the importance of ensuring that clean energy is available for all, including through energy storage. We would like to see the Greens release a storage target figure (in megawatts and megawatt hours). We’d also love some additional detail on how much energy the Portland aluminium smelter could provide to the grid as a ‘reverse battery’.
Environment Victoria believes the Latrobe Valley community needs to be supported as coal power stations close and massive mines need to be rehabilitated. Where do the parties stand on this issue?
Labor has previously announced support for the Latrobe Valley in the wake of the Hazelwood mine fire and after the closure of Hazelwood power station.
While a revised State Electricity Commission (SEC) based in Morwell is a welcome move, the Latrobe Valley community also deserves a comprehensive rehabilitation strategy for the three enormous coal mines. It’s not acceptable for the community to be left with enormous fenced off parcels of land that no-one can utilise, or rivers and the Gippsland lakes deprived of precious water for decades to come.
For decades the Latrobe Valley has paid the price for powering Victoria with its health and with its environment. If re-elected, a Labor government should tackle mine rehabilitation and environmental justice in Latrobe Valley with the same boldness it has taken in promising the comeback of the SEC.
Despite initiating an Inquiry into the Closure of Hazelwood and Yallourn, the Coalition is yet to release policy commitments explicit to the Latrobe Valley energy transition, worker transition, or mine rehabilitation. This is a big policy gap, especially given that two of the three remaining power stations have announced closure dates within the next 12 years.
The Greens commitment to legislating the Latrobe Valley Authority, guarantee jobs for workers, and set closure dates for the remaining operational power stations lays a strong foundation for a just transition in the Latrobe Valley. And they go further than the other parties by committing to require coal-burning power stations – the single largest source of deadly fine particle pollution and huge source of other toxic air pollutants – install pollution reduction technologies. This will help protect the health of the Latrobe Valley community.
Environment Victoria supports the Victorian Forest Alliance’s demand to stop native forest logging by 2024 or earlier.
We recommend checking out their scorecards for individual electorates here >>
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We need to incentivise uptake of zero emissions vehicles by increasing public, private and home charging stations. How do the parties compare?
An important factor in growing community appetite for electric vehicles is to make sure that there is enough charging capacity in metropolitan, regional and rural parts of the state. We want to see Labor commit to supporting installation of charging infrastructure in all commercial premises, inner-city parking buildings, in petrol stations, and of course in our homes.
Labor’s premature electric vehicle tax is a handbrake on the rollout of electric vehicles in Victoria and should be delayed.
The Coalition’s commitments regarding electric vehicles clearly indicates a commitment to incentivising uptake of electric vehicles by ensuring necessary charging infrastructure is in place. An additional 600 charging stations is a good step, as is pausing Labor’s EV tax.
The Greens have gone further with a policy to install 1000 charging stations, and have committed to scrapping the electric vehicle tax.
As well as encouraging households to switch to electric vehicles, we also need to shift more people onto sustainable and active forms of transport, like trains, buses and bikes.
Other groups have been following these issues more closely this election, and we recommend the following policy scorecards:
Environment Victoria recommends the following to find out about nature and national parks policies this election: