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Andrews govt finds $1m for climate action, but "falls short of community demand"

The Andrews Labor government has announced a $1 million Community Climate Change Adaptation Grants program for regional Victoria, yet Friends of the Earth says the allocation "falls short of community demand."

"Every dollar the state government spends to help communities respond to climate change is a wise investment," said Leigh Ewbank, Friends of the Earth climate spokesperson.

"Yet Victorian communities will need much more then $1 million to cope with the impacts of climate change."

The Federal Coalition government's failure on climate change has seen the country's emissions increase for three consecutive years. This failure leaves Victorian communities exposed to  intensifying droughts, heatwaves, bushfires, rising seas, and extreme weather.

Regional Victoria is already experiencing climate impacts. For example, Cape Conran saw a winter bushfire last year and community members have sounded the alarm over the impact of rising sea levels in Apollo Bay and Inverloch.

"With the Federal Coalition failing to act on climate change, we need to see greater leadership from Premier Daniel Andrews and the Labor government."

Friends of the Earth say the Andrews Labor government showed leadership in 2017 when it established the $4.3 million Victorian Climate Change Innovation Partnerships (VCCIP) Grant Scheme to help community groups, local councils, businesses, and non-government organisations rollout innovative climate solutions.

Demand for the 2017 climate grant scheme dramatically outstripped what was available. While the government received over 240 applications the $4.3 million scheme could only support 24 projects. Nine out of ten projects missed out on crucial support. 

"When we're facing a climate change emergency, it's not good enough that positive solutions are missing out on funding," said Leigh Ewbank.

"Without seeing a greater level of investment in the May budget, this new grant scheme could be seen as a downward trend at a time when the urgency of climate change is increasing."

Friends of the Earth have called on the state government boost investment by establishing a Victorian Climate Change Action Fund (VCCAF) of $100 million. 

The fund would provide funding for community, business, local government, and non-government organisation initiatives to cut greenhouse gas emissions and enhance resiliency to climate change impacts.

"Community members concerned about climate change impacts would welcome a public commitment from the Andrews government to a $100 million Victorian Climate Change Action Fund," said Ewbank.

"We'll be looking to the May budget for investment in initiatives to rein in emissions and help protect communities from climate impacts."

Friends of the Earth will be engaging with members of parliament, community groups, and other stakeholders to build strong backing for a Victorian Climate Change Action Fund in the lead up to the May budget.

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