Climate and environment missing from Budget

Friends of the Earth Australia have expressed disappointment at the Victorian State Budget released today.

MEDIA RELEASE
Friends of the Earth
Tuesday 5 May, 2009

Climate and environment missing from Budget

Friends of the Earth Australia have expressed disappointment at the Victorian State Budget released today.

Apart from funding for previously announced national parks, there was virtually nothing new in the Budget to address the looming threat of climate change or Victoria’s declining environment, the group said.

Damien Lawson, climate campaigner from Friends of the Earth Australia, said the Budget was a lost opportunity to respond to the global financial crisis and address climate change at the same time through a greening of the stimulus including infrastructure spending.

 “The substantial commitment of almost $1 billion to bushfire recovery and protection is welcome, but without real action on climate change the risk of further catastrophic bushfire days will grow. What happens if we face the same weather conditions next summer?,” he said.

“There is also no new commitment to investments in renewable energy. Talking up the $100 million announcement for a solar thermal powers station - contingent on Commonwealth support and designed to mask the state government's solar feed-in-tariff failure - is all spin. This is a missed opportunity for new green jobs.

“The $1 million allocated to begin work on the solar power station is matched by $1 million for developing new coal infrastructure investment in the La Trobe Valley. We need money and a plan for a just transition away from coal not further investment in yesterday's industry.”

Mr Lawson said the additional funding for public transport was needed, although most of it was not new, and was still well short of what was required.

“Victoria spends less than a half of what other states spend on public transport and this commitment will not substantially address that imbalance,” he said.

“The additional $27.8 million for bikes, carpooling and low-emission vehicles is a small good step but there is still too much funding – almost a billion dollars - for roads. We needed a real commitment to significantly transform the way Victorian's move around Melbourne and the state.”

 

For more information and comment:

Damien Lawson, Friends of the Earth on 0419 253 342