Last year saw YOUR voices heard after a series of AMAZING achievements by the community campaigns run out of Friends of the Earth Melbourne. These victories don't belong to the strategic outlook of a CEO or board of management, they are not the result of million dollar campaigns, but come from the genuine grassroots and largely volunteer run collectives housed with Friends of the Earth. Our model of equal pay (for our few paid staff), equal say and no bosses that challenges traditional power structures is working, but we need your help to keep it going! Scroll to the bottom to make a donation today!
Let's take a look at the top 5 Big Wins of 2016!!
1/ Six brown coal licences CANCELLED!
Rural locals are ecstatic as Mantle Mining has had 6 brown coal mining exploration licences in South Gippsland and the LaTrobe Valley cancelled.
“We really feel like Christmas has come early and we can now look forward to a coal and gasfield free future.” said south Gippsland beef farmer, Mr O’Connor.
A door to door study conducted in 2014 demonstrates that a staggering 96.7% agree with Mr O’Connor in their desire for a coal gasfield free future.
Gippsland and the LaTrobe Valley has some of the most crucial agricultural land in Victoria, so to no longer have this land threatened by coal mining conglomerates is a great relief, for farmers and Victorians alike.
We are continuing to work to stop destructive coal mining with communities, but also looking at how we can help communities change for the better when coal mining and power generation leaves their town.
2/South Australians nuclear waste dump DELAYED!
In an amazing outcome for South Australians, two-thirds of the 350 members of the citizens jury have come out strongly opposing the nuclear waste dump plan, putting an end to it and any further attempts at nuclear waste dumping in South Australia.
Premier Jay Weatherill initiated the citizens jury, claiming that he would not appeal any decisions made and was confident they would make a wise decision in relation to the plan, and it seems that they have. The dubious plan included 138,000 tonnes of high-level nuclear and 390,000 cubic metres of intermediate-level nuclear waste as money making scheme, now all banned.
Late last year SA Liberal Party and Nick Xenophon both announce that they would oppose the nuclear waste dump proposal in the lead up to the March 2018 election. Further to this, Taiwan, one potential client country, announced it would not dump on SA as a result of widespread public opposition.
FoE campaigners, Yankunytjatjara Native Title Aboriginal Corporation and the community have fought endlessly to overturn the plan, with over 3000 people protesting at Parliament. An incredible display of what grassroots movements can achieve!
3/College Creek in the Strzelecki Ranges Now PROTECTED from Logging!
After 20 years of hard work Friends of the Earth and Friends of the Gippsland Bush (FoGB) have had College Creek, comprising of 8,500ha in the Strzelecki Ranges, added to Victoria’s State Reserve System.
The College Creek handover will be the first package of land that will be gradually handed back over the next few years.
The Strzelecki Ranges is home to the endemic Strzelecki Koalas who are at great risk due to severe habitat loss as a result of logging in one of the already most depleted bioregions of Victoria.
However, adding College Creek to the protected area hugely increases protection of the koalas, who now have 23,500 ha of protected, diverse and beautiful rainforest.
This great community victory shows how staying around for the long haul can really yield results!
4/ Fracking BANNED in Victoria!
Fracking and coal seam gas banned in Victoria! The Andrews government has announced a permanent ban on the exploration and development of all onshore unconventional gas in Victoria, an incredible result of the Lock the Gate campaign and community efforts.
The devastation of fracking was being seen in the United States and in Queensland with cases of contaminated water, health problems in people and livestock, including complaints of headaches and nosebleeds, and farmers bores dropping by metres. Thankfully, over a million hectares of western Victoria and 87% of Gippsland that was previously licensed for fracking and coal seam gas is now permanently protected!
This land is some of the most important farming land in the state, providing both food and job security, and is now securely protected for farming.
5/ Renewable energy targets TRANSFORM Victoria's energy sector!
A strong step forward in the path to 100% renewable energy has been taken by the Andrews Labor government. They have listened to community opinion and committed to 25% renewable energy by 2020 and 40% by 2025. This not only means less climate destroying pollution, but also many more job opportunities for Victorians. Yes2Renewables has been supporting Victorians creating innovative techniques for renewable energy, with 6 Community Owned Renewable Energy (CORE) projects currently operating in Victoria and 26 under development.
The decision means at least $2.5 billion in investment, 10,000 new jobs and around a 12% reduction in Victoria's greenhouse gas emissions.
The Macedon Ranges Community Sustainability Group (MRSG) have installed a solar power system, thanks to a state government Renewable Energy Grant, producing 20 kW of clean energy from 160 solar panels. This outstanding achievement paves the way for more community run clean energy projects, and a 100% renewable energy future for Victoria.