Local environment groups, Ballarat Renewable Energy and Zero Emissions (BREAZE) and Ballarat Environment Network (BEN), today called on the local Liberal candidates, Craig Coltman and Ben Taylor, to explain to the electors of Ballarat why the coalition has no policies to manage the risks of climate change.
While the opposition endorsed Labor’s plan to cut Victoria’s emissions by 20% by 2020 and has promised to detail its policies nearer to the election, it is yet to actually reveal what the policies are.
The one climate policy they have announced places extreme restrictions on wind farm development and is likely to bring wind development to a halt in Victoria and send billions of dollars of potential investment to other states.
“It’s astonishing that just one week out from the election, Ted Baillieu has not provided any evidence that he even considers climate change a problem,” said Andrew Bray, BREAZE Community Campaigner.
“There are no policies on renewable energy, no policies on energy efficiency and no plans to phase out Victoria’s aging and highly polluting coal-fired stations. It’s as if he just doesn’t want to talk about it.”
Shadow Minister for Environment and Climate Change, Mary Wooldridge, visited Ballarat this week to launch a plan to clean up Yarrowee Creek but made no mention of any climate-related initiatives.
“Of course we want to see our natural resources looked after but after years of scientific reports telling us the damage we’re doing to our environment through greenhouse gas emissions, it’s incredible that an opposition can go to an election in 2010 without policies to deal with this critical issue,” said Mr. Bray.
Hedley Thompson, Executive Officer of Ballarat Environment Network, called on Craig Coltman and Ben Taylor to explain why the Coalition refuses to release any climate policies.
“Both Craig and Ben spoke with some conviction at our Candidate’s Forum about how important they thought the environment was and about the need to cut greenhouse gas emissions,” said Mr. Thompson. “We are very disappointed that so late in the campaign there’s no opportunity to evaluate their policies. This makes it very difficult to assess their commitment to the environment.”
The two groups, while acknowledging that Labour was further ahead than the Coalition, also questioned John Brumby’s ability to live up to his promise to cut Victoria’s emissions by 2020.
They referred to an election scorecard prepared by a collection of Victorian environment groups which showed that Labour is still a narrow fail on looking after the environment.
“John Brumby clearly understands the need to act on climate change and has made tentative steps to begin the process of transforming Victoria’s economy,” said Mr. Bray “but there are some real questions about whether he’s prepared to do what it takes to fix Victoria’s problems.”
“His plan to replace the equivalent of a quarter of the Hazelwood power station is well short of what is possible and his support for a new brown coal power station at Morwell, which will produce the same amount of emissions as the partial Hazelwood closure will cut, is just a clanger.”
The Commonwealth Bank recently wrote down its share in Hazelwood to almost nothing and was skeptical that the owners would receive very in compensation. This demonstrated that the cost of closing Hazelwood will be much less than previously thought.
“The scorecard also clearly shows that The Greens have superior policies to both major parties when it comes to looking after the environment,” concluded Mr. Thompson.
Media Enquiries: Andrew Bray 0421 379 646
A note about political content on this site
Friends of the Earth is non party aligned. According to our international mission statement, FoE groups should not endorse ‘people, Parties or products’. We have been featuring comment and media releases from a range of Parties on this site in the build up to the state election. This does not imply endorsement of any party or candidate.