Media Releases | 7th May, 2024

Environment Victoria response to 2024-25 Victorian budget

Today’s Victorian budget has some good measures to keep our renewables rollout on track but it’s a missed opportunity to ensure no-one is left behind as we transition off fossil fuels. And, while a new focus on our rivers and waterways is welcome, there are still worrying gaps on tackling Victoria’s extinction crisis, said Environment Victoria CEO Jono La Nauze.

“New investment in VicGrid’s community engagement for transmission planning is welcome and we look forward to better outcomes for communities in renewable energy zones. We’re pleased to see new funding for spatial risk mapping to protect biodiversity and ensure renewable generation and transmission is built in the best places for communities and nature.

“We welcome the government’s renewed commitment to the Victorian Energy Upgrades program. The announced strategic review should overhaul the program so that it is fit for the future and makes it easy for all Victorian homes and businesses to participate, switch to efficient electric appliances and save on bills.

“While it’s great to see the government continuing to deliver on its climate targets and renewable energy, opportunities to support households and communities are being missed along the way. The SEC and the Latrobe Valley Authority were supposed to help communities adjust to the challenges of the energy transition but both organisations are neglected in this budget.

“We’re still waiting for the SEC to do what the government said it would — to start reinvesting in people and support households to electrify through new pilot programs.

“It’s very disappointing the Latrobe Valley Authority has not received funding to support the community and workers through the transition. While there is funding for regional development and jobs for this year, the community deserves certainty and ongoing funding.

“And while we welcome funding for emergency services and disaster recovery, the government is not investing in community-scale climate adaptation and resilience – so that when disaster does strike the road to recovery is smoother.

“Melbourne faces a future water crisis as a growing population meets lower rainfall due to climate change.

“This budget includes significantly more funding for waterways than in recent years, which is a positive sign the government is taking future water security and the decline of river and wetland ecosystems more seriously.

“We support programs for waterway health and catchment restoration but have concerns if any funding is going towards dubious infrastructure projects on the Murray floodplain, which are being used as an ‘offset’ to justify not returning water to other parts of the river system that need it consistently.

“We hope this budget signals Victoria will prioritise water and play a more constructive role in interstate agreements like the Murray-Darling Basin Plan.

“Victoria faces a major extinction crisis. Up to one third of the plants, birds, reptiles, amphibians and mammals that live on Victorian land are at risk of extinction and yet the government has repeatedly failed to fund their protection and recovery.

“This budget repeats the pattern, and while there’s funding for forests now that state logging has ended, the lack of resources for biodiversity protection still leaves thousands of animals and plants headed for extinction.”



For comment

Alex Merory, Campaigns Director

Ph: 0420 793 120