Candidates Forum: Vic Greens continue push for renewables

Greg Barber
Victorian Greens leader, Greg Barber

In the second round of environment forums, two Victorian Greens candidates took the hot seat to discuss their policies to rollout renewables and tackle global warming.

Victorian Greens party leader Greg Barber was accompanied by the candidate for the seat of Melbourne, Ellen Sandell. The community was eager to hear  how The Greens would use their power to achieve good outcomes for climate change and the burgeoning renewable energy sector.

Barber and Sandell stated that the Greens’ policy includes support for a 40 per cent cut in emission by 2020. In keeping with the federal Renewable Energy Target (RET), they’d also push for the achievement of 41,000 gigawatt-hours of renewable electricity generation.

When asked specifically about a Victorian Renewable Energy Target (VRET), The Greens candidates said that they would launch an enquiry to understand its workings and duration. In the mean time, they would find simpler ways to achieve more renewables.

Not only did the Greens reaffirm their stance on climate policy, the candidates were clear on their party’s intentions with regard to actioning these targets. Barber stated that the oldest and most polluting power plants in Victoria – Lorne, Hazelwood and Anglesea – would be shut down, and that no new coal power plants would be built in Victoria.

Existing wind farm project in rural Victoria would be supported, Barber stated, ensuring $5 billion worth of investment would benefit those communities. In addition, the transition from fossil to renewable energy would involve training people from the coal industry, who already have the relevant skills, to move to wind and solar industries.

Greens candidate for Melbourne, Ellen Sandell.

Two weeks ago, environment forums held in Melbourne gave the public an opportunity to engage with the Labor party on climate policy. Those who were at the forum, or who read our report on the event, may recall our Yes2Renewables question: What Can the community do to get a strong renewable energy policy adopted by the Labor party?

Funnily enough, it was Ellen Sandell who gave a satisfying answer to this question. When asked how The Greens might use their balance of power in government to achieve positive outcomes for the environment, the candidate responded that her party needed community action as a platform. Campaigns and mandates from the community would enable the Greens to bring these propositions to the major parties.

The issue of ethics resonated with the audience as a concluding note. Sandell asserted that, while Labor and Liberal change their positions at the drop of a hat, her party fundamentally support environmental causes and are consistent in their means. Although The Greens are always in a position where they must compromise with major parties, their values of a just society based in healthy environment remains central.

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