MEDIA RELEASE: Andrews govt’s record-breaking budget builds momentum for ambitious climate targets

The Andrews government’s 2020-21 budget delivers a clean recovery for Victoria with a record $1.6 billion to accelerate the renewable energy transition and over $5 billion for Public Transport. 

Friends of the Earth say the record investment in climate, energy, and transport initiatives build momentum for the government to set science-based Emissions Reduction Targets—a decision on which is expected by the end of the year:

“The Andrews government budget will deliver a clean recovery for Victoria that will create thousands of jobs while cutting emissions,” said Leigh Ewbank, Friends of the Earth campaigns coordinator.

“This budget shows the Andrews government can aim high when setting the state’s first Emissions Reduction Targets.”

In contrast to the Morrison government’s budget, which failed to deliver climate and energy initiatives, the Victorian Labor government has made renewable energy and energy efficiency a key pillar of the state’s economic recovery. 

Budget 2020-21 includes a record $1.6 billion investment in key climate and energy initiatives: 

  • $540 million to establish six Renewable Energy Zones to accelerate construction of solar, wind, and storage across the state.

  • $12.6 million to bring at least 600 megawatts of new solar and wind capacity online to meet the Victorian Renewable Energy Target. 

  • $108 million fund to support innovative and transformational renewable energy projects such as offshore wind.

  • $27 million to help volunteer-run and community organisations install solar, batteries, and other energy-saving equipment.

  • $125 million to continue the work of the Latrobe Valley Authority.   

Friends of the Earth campaigns coordinator Leigh Ewbank:

“The Andrews government’s budget initiatives will accelerate the rollout of renewables, create jobs, and put Victoria on the map for the jobs-rich offshore wind industry.” 

Friends of the Earth will engage Minister Lily D’Ambrosio for more details on how the $108 million innovation fund will support offshore wind. Friends of the Earth have been campaigning for the establishment of an Offshore Wind roundtable to develop an industry plan for the jobs-rich sector.  

Budget 2020-21 will invest in key transport initiatives: 

  • $2.2 billion to fund preliminary works on the Suburban Rail Loop to connect Melbourne’s metropolitan train lines. 

  • $2 billion in the Geelong Fast Rail project to reduce travel times and increase capacity between the cities. 

  • $1.48 billion to build and maintain 100 modern, accessible trams to replace ageing rolling stock.  

  • $660 million for upgrading the Shepparton and Warrnambool regional rail lines. 

  • $276 million to upgrade the Dandenong line for the deployment of High Capacity Metro Trains. 

Friends of the Earth campaigns coordinator Leigh Ewbank: 

“Greater investment in critical Public Transport projects will help cut emissions in the transport sector—the state’s the second largest and fastest growing source of emissions.”

Friends of the Earth say there is an emerging gap between short-term and long-term rail infrastructure that budget 2021-22 can fill by investing in a feasibility study for the Melbourne Metro 2 tunnel.

Budget 2020-21 is a reminder that governments can deliver for the climate and community: 

“The Andrews government 2020 budget shows the government can deliver a clean recovery that’s good for jobs, equity, the climate, and the community. This is the sort of leadership the community expects from governments,” said Leigh Ewbank. 

“The next logical step for the government is to act decisively on climate change. Setting science-based Emissions Reduction Targets can drive Victoria’s long term economic recovery and ensure our state tackles the climate crisis.”

Friends of the Earth have organised a Day of Action for Victoria’s Climate Targets on Sunday 29 November to call for science-based Emissions Reduction Targets.  

The organisers believe this could be the last chance to influence the government’s decision on a nationally significant climate policy.   

GET INVOLVED: www.melbournefoe.org.au/dayofaction

For further comment please contact:

Leigh Ewbank, FoE Melbourne Campaigns Coordinator: [email protected], 0406 316 176