Environment Victoria wholeheartedly welcomes the long overdue end to native forest logging announced today as part of the Victorian state budget, as well as delivering on election commitments to phase out coal by 2035, but the Andrews government needs to speed up work to break our gas addiction by electrifying Victorian homes and businesses, said Jono La Nauze, Environment Victoria’s CEO.
“Today is a monumental day for the thousands of Victorians who have worked so hard to protect Victoria’s globally unique forests. Future generations owe a debt to the grass roots groups, citizen scientists, the community lawyers, the staunch traditional owners and their supporters who have demanded a better future for our forests.
“Today is also a difficult day for those workers who make a living from native forest logging and we acknowledge their pain and anger. With a very significant new $200m transition package we believe it is possible to ensure nobody is left behind.
“Indeed, the need for workers in our forests is increasing: from controlling invasive plants and animals through to managing the growing threat of wildfires in a changing climate, there are many more jobs to be created in caring for our forests than will be lost in ending unsustainable logging.
“Pleasingly, the budget invests in employment, training and job opportunities for workers in forestry and energy sectors, both of which are undergoing significant and necessary transitions.
“Today the Andrews government has given Victoria’s remaining native forests a fighting chance for recovery and survival for the benefit of future generations.”
Emissions reduction measures welcome but Investment still needed to get Victoria off gas
“Today’s budget also confirms the Andrews government’s nation-leading commitment to shift Victoria from having Australia’s dirtiest power system to its cleanest by replacing coal with renewable energy, including through a revived State Electricity Commission.
“As coal pollution reduces, it will be important that the Andrews government turns its attention to reducing emissions from other major sources. A growing share of Victoria’s emissions now come from burning gas, petrol and diesel.”
“We are rapidly running out of time to ensure a smooth pathway off gas, petrol and diesel in Victoria.
“When it comes to transitioning off gas, Victoria has a far more pressing challenge than any other state: not only do more Victorians depend on gas than in other states, our supplies from Bass Strait will plunge dramatically over the remainder of the decade. We only have a few short years to act.”
“While the budget does provide for continued development of Victoria’s Gas Substitution Roadmap, it fails to make a significant investment in the solutions we have at hand right now – supporting households and businesses to replace ageing gas appliances with efficient electric heat pumps.
“Investing in electrification must be an urgent priority for the Andrews government in future budgets.”
James Norman, Media and Content Manager
Phone: 0451 291 775