MEDIA RELEASE - 3 May 2022
Vic govt must build on budget to tackle climate and secure just transition
Friends of the Earth says the Andrews government must build on the budget to ramp up efforts to tackle the climate crisis and secure a just transition for Victorian communities.
Investment in climate, energy, and environment is modest in Budget 2022-23 and builds on the record renewable energy investment of previous years.
Weeks after announcing the country’s first offshore wind target, the Andrews government has put its money where its mouth is by announcing $6.8 million to develop an offshore wind implementation statement which is needed to kickstart the jobs-rich sector.
"Building offshore wind is essential to deliver the deep emissions cuts needed to avoid dangerous climate impacts," said Anna Langford, Friends of the Earth spokesperson.
"The Andrews government’s investment is a vote of confidence in Victoria’s nascent offshore wind industry."
Friends of the Earth welcomes the government’s $7 million budget allocation to the Latrobe Valley Authority including for the development of the region’s first Just Transition Plan. The announcement comes after years of advocacy from Friends of the Earth, Environment Victoria, and local community groups.
"It’s excellent to see the state government invest in the region’s first Just Transition plan now that coal closure timelines have been announced," said Wendy Farmer, Friends of the Earth’s Gippsland Renewables campaigner.
"It will be crucial for the Transition Plan to detail secure and long term support for the Latrobe Valley community to create jobs and capture the opportunities of renewable energy development."
Given that transport is the second largest and fastest growing source of emissions in Victoria, Friends of the Earth will be looking to the government to increase investment in the bus network to service Melbourne’s high-growth suburbs.
"Frequent, accessible, and electric buses are needed to put the handbrake on rising transport sector emissions," said Anna Langford of Friends of the Earth.
"With Melbourne’s suburbs expanding rapidly, all communities deserve clean electric buses to access jobs and other essential services without relying on polluting and expensive private vehicles."
Victoria faces a future of intensifying climate-fuelled bushfires. While Budget 2022-23 builds on previous investments in regional firefighting, Victoria still lacks a volunteer remote firefighting capability to protect ecosystems at risk of collapse.
"Continued investment in firefighting capacity is needed in the age of increasing climate impacts to protect communities and the places we love," said Cam Walker of Friends of the Earth.
Friends of the Earth supporters and community allies will be calling for all political parties to commit to a comprehensive plan to halve Victoria’s emissions this decade.
Greater investment is needed to help end the reliance on polluting gas in homes and industry, accelerate the rollout of renewable energy, and build a modern bus network that serves the community.