April 2018 Update

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.

In November 2018, Victorians will head to the polls. It is an opportunity for political parties to present detailed plans for responding to these challenges.   

We are almost at full capacity to launch exciting new campaign to realise our vision for Victoria: a state that works for people, climate, environment, and economy on May 24.

We have 6 months to make a difference! Please RSVP to avoid disappointment at foe.org.au/6months.


Tell Victorian ALP Senators not to gamble with the health of the Murray!

The Minister for Water David Littleproud and the Federal Government want to slash 605 billion litres of water from the forests and wetlands of the Murray Darling Basin.

So far the Murray Darling Basin Plan has cost $8 billion but the river is in the worst health it has ever been. Now is the time to fix the Basin Plan, crack down on water thieves and restore the river to health.

Communities depend on the river for drinking, practicing culture and recreation but cutting that much water could have disastrous consequences. We need a flourishing Murray-Darling to survive!

We need the ALP to get behind the motion to block this cut in the Senate before its too late for the Murray Darling Basin.

Take action to protect the Murray here.


LAST CHANCE: JUST 24 HOURS TO HAVE YOUR SAY ON VIC'S CLIMATE TARGETS

The Victorian government is now seeking community input about the state's first Emissions Reduction Targets. 

The Turnbull govt's 'do-nothing' approach to climate change means we need greater leadership from Victoria. So let's make sure they hear the message loud and clear.  

Ambitious Emissions Reduction Targets will ensure Victoria contributes a fair share towards efforts to tackle climate change. Ambitious targets strengthens the case for key Friends of the Earth campaigns (from protecting Victoria's forests to ramping up investment in public transport) 

TAKE ACTION: Send a submission today to call for ambitious climate action

Carbon capture offers a false hope that we can sustain our use of coal

The Andrews government recently announced it was launching a ‘world-first’ project to produce hydrogen in the Latrobe Valley.

The project is being developed by a consortium of Japanese energy and infrastructure companies led by Kawasaki Heavy Industries, with the support of the Victorian, Commonwealth and Japanese Governments. It aims to convert brown coal into hydrogen, which will then be transported to Japan for use in fuel cell electric vehicles and power generation.

$100 million in public funds has been allocated to the project. It will only be viable if carbon capture and storage becomes commercially viable (which seems unlikely in the foreseeable future). Even if it works at scale, it is likely to be extremely expensive).

Our reaction is available here and you can find an opinion piece written by FoE which was published in The Age here.

This is a dangerous distraction from the main game – a transition away from our current reliance on coal. Please sign our petition to the main political parties expressing opposition to allocating public funds to development of coal (it is our election petition, so includes our broader campaign agenda for 2018).


Keeping our ‘liveable city’ tag - a world class park system for Melbourne

Melbourne will soon pass Sydney as Australia’s most populous city. The urban sprawl that is happening to accommodate this growth is putting pressure on transport, services, and other infrastructure, and making congestion worse. A big part of ensuring our city continues to be liveable into 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 (check our Get on Board transport plan here). We will also 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.

This sprawl also 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. 

You can read our vision for a world class network of parks which would fill the gaps in the current reserve system here.


Get On Board for better transport options

Sustainable CitiesWe need to seize this moment to transform how people move around the city.

Melburnians are frustrated by the time and money spend in congestion, and understand the damage that car dependence does to their communities and to the environment. But, years of failure to re-build public transport mean that it is hard to believe there are alternatives to the private car.

Now is the time to reverse the short-sighted focus on constructing huge new toll roads and create new networks for convenient and safe public and active travel.

This state election, Sustainable Cities is bringing together communities from across Melbourne to build political power. Residents from Altona to Bulleen, down to Mordialloc and everywhere in between, want to protect local communities, green space and the liveability of our city.

Join the call for our state government to shift the balance of public funding away from major roads and towards a community focused transport plan. There should be no budget funding for new major roads projects.

Get on board here.


Radioactive Exposure Tour 2018

Rad Tour at WoomeraFriends of the Earth's Radioactive Exposure Tour 2018 was a great success with about 30 people travelling over 3000 km to visit communities and sites impacted by the nuclear industry in South Australia. 
From proposed nuclear waste dump sites to nuclear weapons testing sites to the world's biggest uranium mine, we met with people resisting radioactive racism and destruction of country at the front line. Details of the tour can be found here.

Since we have been on the tour, Federal Minister Matt Canavan has announced a poll in communities near the proposed sites at Kimba and Bandioota. In doing this, the minister is ignoring a current senate inquiry into the selection process for a nuclear waste facility, and he has given no indication of what 'broad community support' means. Only 50% support? At what point would the government drop the sites? 

The federal government continues a flawed process that lacks clear information. Many of those we visited on the tour are campaigning to stop these proposals in South Australia, and the ACE Nuclear Free Collective is standing strong with them.

You can learn more about their struggles here.


Join FoE's Economic Justice collective: take legal action against Shell

Want to fight corporate power & protect human rights?

Come join Friends of the Earth's NEW economic justice collective that stands in solidarity with people across the globe to hold corporations accountable.  We recently worked with FOE International to launch a court case against Shell for causing climate change. Shell is one of the biggest climate polluters in the world.  This historic case could set a powerful legal precedent: if we win, one of the world’s biggest polluters will have to stop wrecking the climate. 

Click here to join the legal case against Shell as an honorary co-claimant. 

To get involved or find out more about this exciting new collective email:  sam.cossargilbert@foe.org.au 


The case for powering Melbourne's mass transit with renewable energy

Repower the trains with renewablesRapid improvements in wind, solar and energy storage are not only transforming the energy system, they could be key to decarbonising the transport system too.

In January 2017, Victoria's Andrews government announced Melbourne's iconic trams will soon be solar powered, with construction of two new solar farms near Shepparton and Robinvale in the state's north now underway. Once complete, every tram trip will be cutting greenhouse gas emissions and creating regional jobs.

Now that the city's trams will be solar powered, the next logical step is to power the trains with renewable energy too.

Melbourne's train network is the second largest energy user in the state, after Alcoa's aluminium smelter in Portland. It's no wonder – moving over 400,000 people everyday requires a significant amount of energy. This is energy that should be coming from clean renewable sources, not polluting fossil fuels like coal and gas.

Renewable energy can form the foundation for good regional jobs, and a clean, accessible 21st Century transport system that is good for the climate and human health.  

While Melbourne snatched global headlines with the solar trams announcement, we're certainly not alone. Cities, states and even entire countries are now looking to power their transport systems with renewable energy.

The Dutch national railway company NS announced last year that the Netherlands' entire train network was now running on wind energy. Scotland is another example - they're now getting close to 100% renewable energy through the use of wind and hydro, which helps power their extensive train network and the rest of the country.  

After the energy sector, transport is the second largest contributor to Australia's greenhouse gas emissions. But we may well be able to use technological improvements in renewable energy and in the rail network to cut emissions in both.

Melbourne's solar trams are proving that renewable energy can power mass transit – it's time to power our trains with renewable energy too.

The Yes2Renewables collective meets every Tuesday, 6:20PM at FoE Melbourne, 312 Smith St, Collingwood. If you're keen to get involved come along or email patrick.simons@foe.org.au


VIC Budget 2018/19: Will the Andrews government invest in climate action??

Tomorrow is Vic budget day. The Andrews government will outline state expenditure over the next year. Should we expect it to be the budget that makes a massive downpayment on climate action?... No. There's an election around the corner so this year's budget will be heavily focused on Labor's bread-and-butter issues (health, education, and infrastructure).

With the Victorian Renewable Energy Target locked in, fracking banned, and climate change laws strengthened, the budget is the logical next step for climate action. 
Friends of the Earth will be in the budget lock in and will be on deck to provide analysis and actions. Keep your eyes peeled for more. 

Energy Justice Road Trip

Energy Justice Road TripJoin Friends of the Earth & Energy Justice Victoria for a fun and informative weekend Road Trip sharing our vision for a clean, fair and affordable energy system in Victoria. 

The Road Trip is an opportunity to understand how people in regional Victoria are affected by a dated energy system, high electricity prices and the rise of energy poverty. We'll hear inspiring tales of the Gasfield free campaign & those fighting for a just transition away from coal. We want to see how these communities are already pushing for change and what we can do to help.

Departing Melbourne Friday afternoon - 11 May and returning on Sunday 13th evening.

Everyone is welcome, come along for the whole weekend or come to the forum at 3pm Sunday 13 May at the Wonthaggi community hall.

Please RSVP here.