State budget sets modest course for greener future, but test is state election

Friends of the Earth has welcomed the state government's continued commitment to providing substantial funding for public transport in the release of the budget today.

Given that this budget is very light on the pivotal issues of water and climate change, we keenly await the release of the Climate Change White Paper. With an election on the horizon, the state government will need to deliver some substantial policy on climate change before November.

Media release May 4 2010
Friends of the Earth

State budget sets modest course for greener future

Environmental group Friends of the Earth (FoE) has welcomed the state government's continued commitment to providing substantial funding for public transport in the release of the 2010/11  budget today.

“Last week the government released it's Green Jobs report, an excellent package of measures that will position Victoria well in terms of developing a low carbon future” said FoE campaigns co-ordinator Cam Walker. “It delivered some excellent measures that will benefit rural and regional Victoria. Todays commitment to public transport builds on the Green Jobs package. As always, we urge the government to support local procurement of any major investment in public infrastructure. We should be building all the new rolling stock that is to be purchased for our public transport system here as a way of protecting jobs and building a green manufacturing sector. The promise of 50 new trams, the regional rail link and investment in improving facilities and staffing levels at train stations is a substantial and welcome commitment to public transport”.

This budget also delivers the funding that had been promised for the Land and Biodiversity White Paper and $20 million to protect about 15,000 hectares of our most endangered ecosystem: native grasslands on the fringes of Melbourne.

“We welcome the funding which is targeted to strengthen cultural diversity and support refugees”.

“Given the strong emphasis on education, health, and law and order in the build up to the release of the budget there are still some good commitments to environmental funding.”

“Sadly, it is clear that, as yet, the government does not fully embrace the need to make all budgetary investment environmentally and greenhouse friendly. The substantial investment in major roads is disappointing.”

“Given that this budget is very light on in terms of the pivotal issues of water and climate change, we will be keenly awaiting the release of the Climate Change White Paper and the framework for the Climate Change Bill, the Future Energy Statement, and Regional Blueprint in coming months. With an election on the horizon, the state government will need to deliver some substantial policy on climate change before November. First of these must be a commitment to close down the ageing and polluting Hazelwood power station and replace it with power from renewable energy sources – wind, solar thermal and geo thermal. This could result in a net gain in jobs in the Latrobe Valley if sufficient support comes from the government”.

“With the recent collapse of the federal government's Emissions Trading Scheme, it is more important than ever that the government of John Brumby shows visionary leadership on the most pressing issue of our time. The majority of people still want serious action on climate change. The opportunity is there for the government to seize.”

Interviews and further comment, Cam Walker: 0419 338 047