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Do you live in an urban area of Victoria? Love Victoria’s wild places, and want to help protect them from worsening bushfires? This one’s for you.
Climate change is supercharging our bushfire seasons. Victoria’s latest Climate Science Report predicts that the annual number of high fire danger days in Victoria will increase by over 60% by the 2050s. These climate-fueled bushfires threaten Victorian lives, health, industry, First Nations cultural heritage and biodiversity on an unprecedented scale.
Longer, more intense bushfire seasons are placing huge burdens on Victoria’s firefighters. The Country Fire Authority (CFA) has lost nearly 2,000 volunteers since the Black Summer bushfires, and many rural CFA brigades are ageing as young people move to urban areas for work and study. Additionally, as climate change causes bushfire seasons around the world to overlap, we will not be able to draw on external firefighting support as we have in the past for ‘surge capacity’ needed during large bushfires.
It is clear that to tackle the climate-fuelled bushfire seasons of the 21st century, Victoria needs to strengthen its firefighting capacity by unlocking new sources of volunteers within the state.
We call on the Victorian government to create a volunteer remote area firefighting team (RAFT) that Victorians living in urban areas, like you, could join.
Allowing urban Victorians to be trained and deployed as firefighters at times of urgent need would be a smart response to the reality of longer, more intense bushfire seasons. It would:
- Be an innovative way of strengthening firefighting capacity that would bring a younger, greater diversity of people into the CFA.
- Allow urban-based people who love wild places to play a practical role in protecting them from bushfires.
- Increase firefighting capacity at a low cost to the state.
- Contain fires before they destroy huge areas of biodiversity-rich bush. In bad fire seasons we often have to prioritise firefighting efforts to protect private property before public land, and a team dedicated to remote areas would help ensure that the places we love can be protected.
- Provide backup for Forest Fire Management Victoria (FFMV) remote area teams (which should also continue to be expanded)
- Catch Victoria up with other states that have Remote Area Firefighting Teams (NSW, Tasmania, ACT and QLD).
- Lessen the burden on existing fire brigades over summer. All Victorians benefit from volunteer firefighting, but the burden is not shared between urban and regional people.
The Victorian government’s new ten-year Bushfire Management Strategy states that the goal of increasing firefighter capacity is fundamental and will be a key aspect of its approach. With the strategy in draft form, we have an opportunity to get this good idea on the table and make it a reality.
To make our case, we need to demonstrate that there are lots of urban-based people who would sign up to be part of a Victorian RAFT, if it existed.
Add Your Name: I’d sign up to join a remote area firefighting team for Victoria.
*Note: by adding your name, you are not committing yourself to anything mandatory in advance. This pledge is for us to demonstrate the level of interest in the idea and for you to receive campaign updates.
We have called the government’s bluff and now we are asking: Can the government reform CDC Victoria's routes in the West now?
The Sustainable Cities collective have been campaigning for Better Buses for 2 solid years. During this time we have built strong, lasting relationships with and amongst community members across Melbourne’s Western suburbs, sharing powerful stories and exposing the groundswell of demand for bus reform that has long been bubbling away within communities.
In May this year the Victorian government announced changes to their process for recontracting bus companies. Rather than one-on-one negotiations, the contracts will be put out to a public tender for bus companies to bid on.
They told us that this will make bus reform easier to do, as it will eliminate the issue of having too many smaller bus companies running 1-2 routes across the network which, they said, is what has made reform difficult in the past.
However, we know that the bus company CDC Victoria - a private bus company backed by global corporation Comfort Del Gro - runs the majority of the bus routes in Melbourne’s Western suburbs, including all of the services in Wyndham. Of the 55 bus routes that they run across the network, 49 of them run out of their 3 depots in the West.
This major company has all of the capacity and capability to reform their routes, and we know that the bus planners in the Department of Transport and Planning have the skills to execute this reform in the immediate term.
That's why we want to see commitment to a pilot for reform in the West now.
To Jacinta Allan, Premier of Victoria and Ben Carroll, Deputy Premier of Victoria
We, the residents and supporters of Melbourne's Western suburbs, urgently request your support in allocating Growth Areas Infrastructure Contribution (GAIC) funds for a pilot bus route reform using the current CDC contracts in our region.
Why We Need This Pilot
Rapid Growth. Our ever-expanding western suburbs are one of the fastest growing areas in Australia, yet this burgeoning population is being left with the same outdated network of long, convoluted and infrequent bus routes.
Economic and Social Equity. High car dependency in Melbourne’s West drives up daily costs and leaves many residents isolated both economically and socially. Access to buses that are fast, frequent and connected will ensure that everyone has access to jobs, education, essential services, and each other, making our community more inclusive and vibrant.
Environmental Sustainability. Transforming our bus network from the long, convoluted routes we have now to a simple grid of fast, frequent and connected electric buses will significantly reduce emissions, alleviate traffic congestion, and contribute to a more environmentally sustainable future for our community. Better public transport means healthier lives.
We want to see the bus network redesigned into a simple grid with clean, accessible electric buses running every 10 minutes, all day, every day, as outlined in Melbourne University’s ‘Better Buses for Melbourne’s West’ research paper.
Why GAIC Funds? GAIC funds are designated to support infrastructure development in rapidly growing areas, but the government has not distributed any of this funding during the past 2 budget cycles. While major public transport projects like the Airport rail are put on hold, it is imperative that we receive better buses now so that everyone can move freely around our communities.
Why CDC routes? Having multiple operators running bus routes in one area can make bus reform difficult. Unlike other parts of Melbourne, the majority of bus routes in the West are serviced by one operator. CDC Victoria operates the majority of the bus routes across Melbourne's West. A pilot for reform using the existing CDC contracts can easily be achieved in the immediate future.
Our aim is to create a more efficient, accessible, and equitable public transportation system for Melbourne's Western suburbs. Your leadership in this matter can transform the lives of those who face daily challenges due to inadequate public transport access. Please seize this opportunity to make a profound and lasting impact on our community.
‘50 years of Friends of the Earth - fighting for environmental and social justice’
It’s our birthday, and it's a big one! This year, Friends of the Earth Melbourne is turning the big 5-0! That's 50 years of defending and protecting forests and waterways, standing as allies in the struggles for First Nations’ self-determination and land rights, opposing uranium mining, protesting the destruction of war, keeping fossil fuels in the ground, and championing a just transition away from extractive industries.
In the early 1970s, a wave of progressive politics was sweeping the world. In Australia, the peace movement was opposing the war in Vietnam, and a resurgent Land Rights movement had established the Tent Embassy in Canberra. The women’s movement was changing how society worked, while the gay and lesbian liberation movements were taking to the streets and driving profound change. And the environmental movement was flourishing.
In Melbourne, people had heard about Friends of the Earth – a rapidly growing network of environmental activists who were grassroots and local but connected globally.
Back when FoE started in 1973, Australia was still killing whales. There was lead in the petrol, which was impacting kids in the suburbs around FoE’s home in Fitzroy. There was a nuclear industry which was determined to see mass scale uranium mining and a large network of nuclear reactors across the country.
50 years on, Friends of the Earth Melbourne has grown into a smart and effective grassroots campaigning organisation that gets results. Victoria now leads the country with its policies on climate action, renewable energy, and a ban on fracking - all as a direct result of collaboration between Friends of the Earth and communities across Victoria. It is by leveraging this grassroots power that we have been able to transform our energy system to protect our climate and environment.Read more
But needs to be matched with plan to shut down gas distributionRead more
Join us to celebrate 50 years of community action for environmental and social justice!
We will host the AGM via Zoom to report back on our 50th year of grassroots activism! We'll hear from Campaign Collectives, Members and The Food Co-op and Cafe team on who Friends of the Earth Melbourne continues to MOBILISE, RESIST and TRANSFORM.
Formal invite, agenda and guidelines for nominations for office bearing roles here
Please RSVP today, and you will be sent a Zoom link closer to the time!
6pm - 6:30 | 50 years of FoE Special Guest Panel!
Since 1973, we have defended and protected forests and waterways, stood as allies in the struggles for First Nations’ self determination and land rights, opposed uranium mining, protested the destruction of war and kept fossil fuels in the ground.
We have built thriving social enterprises that challenge the status quo, promote sustainable consumption, put workers first and help fund environmental and social action.
To celebrate this rich history of community led campaigns, for this special 50 Year of FoE Annual General Meeting we'll be bringing back some old friends to reflect on some of the key roles Friends of the Earth has played in shaping movements across Victoria and beyond.
This will be an online event not to be missed!
Speakers to be announced.
This is a Members only event. To become a Member of Friends of the Earth, click here.
312 Smith St
Collingwood, VIC 3065
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