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Narracan Election Live Blog: Where do Candidates Stand on Climate, Energy & Health?

The Narracan supplementary-election is fast approaching, with voting to conclcuding on Saturday 28th January, 2023. It's an important opportunity for the Narracan electorate in Gippsland to get to know and understand where each candidate stands on climate change, energy and health.

Friends of the Earth is a community-based environment organisation that empowers people to protect the environment and climate, and has been actively organising in Victoria since 1973.

During the Narracan supplementary-election we are running this live blog to share with the electorate, to help them understand where each candidate stands on the key issues of climate change, energy transition and health.

We invited  each candidate to respond to a brief set of key questions on each of these election issues: Climate, Energy and Health.  

The live blog will be updated and promoted on social media and shared with our members and supporters in the Narracan area during the supplementary-election.

Candidate Questions and Responses:



1. Climate change is impacting Victorians, who are dealing with increased floods, bushfires, sea level rise and other extreme weather. What is your plan to address the causes and the impacts of climate change?                                             

2. Many parties and candidates took ambitious emissions reduction targets to the November 2022 state election. What would you set for reducing greenhouse gas emissions at the state level by 2035?

Austin Cram, AJP: 

The Animal Justice Party, through our Climate Emergency policy, is the only party contesting Narracan to fully consider all major contributors to climate change, including energy production, transport, land clearing and animal agriculture. Systemic change needs to occur to ensure climate justice and a clean future for all. Not only does our policy seek the rapid transition away from the use of fossil fuels in energy and transport but also a just transition for agricultural industries to climate-resilient products, the urgent rewilding of cleared land and reforms to water management. As a town planner, I recognise how urban design and the planning of our communities can greatly influence a climate transition. Through access to alternatives to carbon-heavy transport modes to household energy use. At the very base level, we need to properly consider climate change in our planning system.

Our priority is to first declare a climate and biodiversity emergency to begin systemic change in government. The Animal Justice Party is committed to a reduction in methane emissions by 30% by 2030 and net-zero emissions by 2035.

Annemarie McCabe - Independent: 

I am 100% behind meeting our carbon emissions targets and I believe our environment should be healthy and sustainable for our future generations. Working in the health sector I am mindful of the impacts our environment has on our health.

Alyssa Weaver - The Greens:  

Climate change is impacting Victorians, who are dealing with increased floods, bushfires, sea level rise and other extreme weather. What is your plan to address the causes and the impacts of climate change?

In the past three years alone, Victoria has faced catastrophic fires, destructive storms and unprecedented flooding. In times of disasters, all Victorians rely on the incredible generosity of hard working SES volunteers. Our plan includes expanding funding for Victoria’s SES to respond to increasing climate disasters, via a comprehensive investigation of funding and capability.

Coal and gas are the leading causes of the climate crisis. The Greens’ plan includes getting 1 million homes off gas and phasing out Victoria’s remaining coal plants by 2030. The Greens are the only party in Victoria with a fully costed plan to get Victoria off coal and gas and repower our state with 100% renewable energy.


3. Victoria’s energy system is changing, as ageing coal-fired generators begin to close. What are your top three solutions to the energy transition? 

4. Do you support a state renewable energy target, and what target would you set by 2030?

Austin Cram, AJP: 

We are playing catch-up on the energy transition and are decades behind where we could have been with science-driven policy. As a crossbench party, we recognise that we won't be able to set the policy agenda in all cases. However, these are three of our priorities:

Firstly, we need to be pragmatic and accept that no energy technology will be perfect. While off-shore wind power may have some detrimental ecological effects, it pales in comparison to the ecological impacts of fossil fuels by a factor of about 30 times. We need to be open to all technologies in a climate emergency.

Secondly, the Animal Justice Party is broadly supportive of job guarantees and universal basic income programs that can support workers to transition away from employment in the fossil fuel industry.

Lastly, there is a lot that can be done on the demand side to reduce our energy usage. This includes better planning provisions to enforce low energy use housing as well as support for homeowners to retrofit existing housing with energy reducing technologies like blackout blinds, insulation and the retirement of gas appliances and fittings. Transport is also a major contributor and we need to make alternative transport modes more convenient, accessible and affordable to help people break out of car dependency.

Annemarie McCabe - Independent:

consider we should be doing all we can, within our means, to reduce reliance on coal.

Alyssa Weaver - The Greens:  

A big build of renewable energy for a 100% renewable Victoria will create more than 50,000 new jobs and help every household save on their energy bills. Our plan for a 100% renewable Victoria has three important components for a fair transition. 

  • The creation of an independent and properly funded Latrobe Valley Authority, with new and guaranteed funding of $48 million/year until 2035 to oversee the transition away from coal and the economic revival of the Latrobe Valley region. The Authority would establish an offshore wind centre of excellence, a renewables workforce training centre and pioneer world leading coal mine rehabilitation and land restoration. 
  • Increasing Victoria’s legislated renewable energy target to 100% by 2030, supported by a $10 billion investment in new renewable energy generation, storage, and grid upgrades.
  • A Job Guarantee for Coal Workers - Victoria needs to replace coal with renewable energy, but we can’t abandon the workers and communities who have powered our state for generations. The Greens’ plan for a fair transition for the Latrobe valley includes a job-for-job guarantee for Victoria’s coal workers.

The Greens support a state renewable energy target and we would increase Victoria’s legislated renewable energy target to 100% by 2030.  With more Greens in Parliament we can push the Labor Government to go further in tackling the climate crisis, ending coal and gas and creating a 100% renewable Victoria. Even better, we can also create tens of thousands of new jobs, reduce energy bills and bring power back into public hands.


5. Clean air is essential to the health of Victorians, the climate and environment. What are your plans to reduce air pollution? 

6. Do you support powering all health services with renewable energy by 2025?

Austin Cram, AJP: 

The Animal Justice Party supports the development of a circular economy for Victoria to minimise waste with an eventual aim to eliminate it. We also support the "Half-earth project", which seeks to set aside 50% of all land for habitat and to develop our urban communities to better live alongside natural systems and promote biodiversity.

Along with the cessation of fossil fuel industries and a rapid transition in the transport sector to alternative transport modes, we believe this will create a cleaner atmosphere for Victoria. We would endeavour that all government services are powered by renewable energy as soon as practical.

Annemarie McCabe - Independent:

I support powering all health services with renewable energy by 2025 and consider we should be doing all we can, within our means, to reduce reliance on coal. At the end of the day when making important decisions such as these I rely on accurate data, factual reports and weigh up the arguments for and against to form an evidence based approach that is in the best interests of the community.

Alyssa Weaver - The Greens: 

The Greens' plan would require power stations to introduce clean technologies for the remainder of their operating life, to stop toxic pollution and protect the health and well-being of the Latrobe Valley community. As part of the Greening our Health System plan we would develop a roadmap to transition hospitals off gas, to cheaper, efficient 100% renewable electricity by 2030. 

We would create a Sustainable Healthcare Unit in the Department of Health to tackle hospital waste, cut healthcare emissions, review use-by dates and promote reusable healthcare items. Additionally, The Greens would increase health funding by an extra $5 billion, and focus on the forgotten areas of disease prevention, dental and mental health care.

Responses to the live blog will be updated throughout the week in the lead up to Saturday 28th January, 2023.

Electoral material authorised by Cam Walker, 312 Smith St Collingwood, VIC.

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