November State Election – We’re Off and Running
In November 2018, Victorians will head to the polls. With community concern about climate change on the rise, it's an issue that all political parties must address in detail.
Our state is undergoing profound change as the population grows, entire industries go to the wall, and climate change starts to really impact on our landscapes, economy and lifestyles. Yet Melbourne continues to sprawl, as low density development covers valuable farmland and remnant vegetation, supported by transport infrastructure that will perpetuate our current reliance on cars.
An election provides all parties with the opportunity to demonstrate leadership on the interconnected issues of climate, energy, social justice, and the economy.
FoE has launched an ambitious election campaign, with policy in the realms of forests and biodiversity, transport and sustainability, and energy, climate and renewables.
We have huge plans for the year! We will be holding a major campaign launch on May 24.
In the meantime, check our website for full details on our campaign and policy agenda.
You can take action and support our campaign by sending email to the political Party Leaders here.
If you can support our work with a donation, that would be fantastic.
IMAGE: Mt Torbreck - part of the proposed Great Forest National Park. Photo: Justin Cally
Melbourne will soon pass Sydney as Australia’s most populous city. The urban sprawl that is happening to accommodate this growth is putting enormous pressure on transport, public services, and other infrastructure, and making congestion worse.We need big ideas to solve a big - and growing - problem. Here are 3 ideas.
AN ACCESSIBLE CITY
A big part of ensuring our city continues to be livable in coming decades will be the need to build a world class public transport system that is adequate to the needs of a city larger than 5 million people. Infrastructure Victoria has recently warned that, without government intervention, Melbourne will have an extra five hours of peak traffic by 2030.
Check our Get on Board transport plan, available here for our top order priorities for fixing our transport infrastructure.
A COMPACT CITY
Urban sprawl needs to be reined in. We need to ensure there is increased population density around transport corridors, but in a way that meets community needs and expectations, not just the profit imperative of developers.
WORLD CLASS PARKS
This sprawl poses a major threat to remaining open space around the fringes of Melbourne. We are running out of time to protect these landscapes.
In an election year, we need political parties to commit to a world class park system that will protect our city against future sprawl and provide breathing space for the community and protection for key habitats.
Last year we exposed the Green Building Council of Australia’s (GBCA) dodgy ‘Green star’ ratings. The GBCA award green star ratings for buildings made with timber sourced from unsustainable logging operations in Victoria’s native forests.
Wood certified under the so called 'Responsible Wood' certification scheme (formally Australian Forestry Standard) is being used in so called ‘Green’ buildings that te council has awarded their green tick to. This includes wood from old growth forests, endangered species habitat and critically endangered Mountain Ash forests within the proposed Great Forest National Park
Old growth forest logged in East Gippsland, 2015
Our transport system is a mess.
Roads don’t relieve congestion, they create it. But state government after state government keep building roads. They keep putting the road lobby and private interests before smart transport solutions.
This is why we need to build enough momentum to stop ANY mega toll road project that they put on the table.
And that’s where our #GetOnBoard plan comes in.
As conservationists from the Goongerah Environment Centre (GECO) entered their tenth consecutive day of successfully preventing logging of old growth forest at Granite Mountain in remote East Gippsland, twenty government officials have today arrived on site to break the blockade.
Around fifteen people are at the blockade, established on Monday 22 January. One person is suspended from a tripod structure blocking the logging road.
Work on Westgate announced as community members gear up to launch their own transport plan
The announcement that work has commenced on the controversial Westgate tollroad comes amid strong community concerns over the project--from increased pollution affecting public health to disruption for communities in the western suburbs.
Community member from the inner-west, Chloe Aldenhoven, expressed concern over the works:
"The Westgate tollroad is a dud project that will bring pain to local residents, congestion for generations, and result in billions of profit for Transurban. This doesn't sound like Labor values to me."
The announcement comes as community members from across Melbourne prepare to launch their own vision for the city's transport with an event planned for the first sitting day of Parliament for 2018--a hotly-contested election year. Friends of the Earth Melbourne will be joined by community members on Tuesday 6th February to launch Mobilise Melbourne: A Community Plan for Transport.
"Previous governments have failed to listen to the community when it comes a vision for planning and transport in Melbourne," said Rachel Lynskey, Sustainable Cities spokesperson for Friends of the Earth.
"This is why Friends of the Earth are kicking off an initiative to capture the community's bright ideas for transport infrastructure and services."
"We'll be presenting these community-sourced ideas to all state political parties, calling on them to ramp up investment in sustainable transport initiatives."
The Mobilise Melbourne: A Community Plan for Transport plan brings together groups campaigning against mega tollroads in the western and north-eastern suburbs, previous locals who stopped the East-West Link, and many more concerned citizens.
But Carbon Capture and Storage off Ninety Mile Beach is no laughing matter
Golden Beach is an idyllic section of Ninety Mile Beach. It boasts a pristine coastline, plentiful fish, multitudes of birds and the skeletal remains of an 1897 shipwreck. But there is a cloud hanging over this lovely place.
A publicly-funded State Government project, called CarbonNet, has earmarked the area for Carbon Storage. This February, seismic testing for a suitable carbon storage site will be undertaken in the waters off Golden Beach.
Friends of the Earth were pleased to attend the official opening of the Kiata wind farm today, and say the project is renewable energy success story that highlights the need for the Turnbull government to hit the reset button on energy policy.
Climate change is affecting people in Melbourne by putting pressure on public health, the local environment, infrastructure, and the economy. Yarra Community Solar and the Epworth Hospital have initiated sustainable projects in the inner north to create change in their communities.
Last year was a big year for the Murray Darling. The Darling ran dry, Four Corners exposed upstream water theft thrusting our river into the national spotlight and bickering over the Murray Darling Basin Plan threatened to cut back the amount water that is returned to the environment. With a Victorian State Election and a key decision about the fate of the Murray Darling Basin Plan pending for February, 2018 is shaping up to be even bigger.