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Policy Watch: Vic Greens, first party to support a Climate Budget in new climate & energy plan

The Victorian Greens have become the first political party in the state to support a Climate Budget with the release of their climate and energy policy ahead of the November election.

Friends of the Earth welcome the announcement saying fresh thinking about climate change policy is long overdue. 

"The Greens announcement sets the bar for action on climate change," said Leigh Ewbank, Friends of the Earth climate spokesperson.

The Victorian Greens' climate and energy plan calls for:

  • The rollout of enough publicly-owned solar, wind, and enabling infrastructure, and an increase to the Victorian Renewable Energy Target (VRET) to reach 100 percent renewable energy by 2030. 
  • The phaseout of the state's remaining polluting brown coal power plants, commencing in 2022 with the final units closed in 2030. 
  • A transition package for the Latrobe Valley including $500 million worth of investment in energy storage. 
  • A Victorian Climate Commissioner to undertake an annual 'State of the Climate' report, investigate local climate impacts, and importantly, work with the Department of Treasury and Finance to ensure the state budget accounts for climate change. 

Friends of the Earth say the Greens' ambition to see the state powered entirely by renewables is in line with the aspirations of the community:

"Many people in the community have a vision for an energy system powered by 100 percent renewables. It's fantastic to see the Victorian Greens both share that vision and have a plan to achieve it," said Pat Simons, renewable energy spokesperson.

"With climate change impacts like drought and bushfires becoming more frequent and more intense, we urgently need to replace Victoria's aging coal fired generators with renewable energy and storage." 

"The rollout of new solar, wind, storage, and grid infrastructure will create thousands of jobs and bring investment to regional communities," added Simons.

Friends of the Earth say inaction on climate change from the Federal Coalition leaves Victorian communities exposed to impacts and requires greater leadership at the state level. 

"Unchecked climate change exposes communities to intensifying impacts like the bushfires and droughts we've seen in East Gippsland," said Leigh Ewbank, climate spokesperson.

"With the Federal Coalition government failing to act, we need to see greater leadership at the state level."

Friends of the Earth say the state budget is the logical next step for climate change policy in Victoria. The group is calling for the state budget to be updated to account for climate change.

“Victorians need a clear picture of how government expenditure affects climate change, and how climate impacts affect the budget," added Leigh Ewbank.  

"Bringing greater transparency to climate change in the budget will allow for its impact on state finances to be understood and tracked over time. If we don’t track the costs of climate change, how can we plan for future impacts?"

Ratings agency Moody's has warned states that fail to account for climate risk are exposed to credit downgrades. A 'Climate Impact Statement' to accompany the annual budget papers is a zero-cost measure the government can adopt for future budgets. 

"No state treasurer wants to see Victoria's credit rating downgraded on their watch. government can climate-proof the budget by modernising it," said Leigh Ewbank.

"The Greens have committed to climate-proofing the budget, and so can Labor and the Coalition."  

Friends of the Earth look forward to the release of the government and opposition climate change policies before polling day. 



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