Report card reveals Brumby government dragging it's feet on environment

More than half of the Victorian Government’s environment election promises are at risk of being undelivered or have already been broken, a new report from leading environment groups says.

Friday 7 December 2007

Media Release

HALF COMMITTED: REPORT CARD REVEALS BRUMBY GOVERNMENT DRAGGING ITS FEET ON ENVIRONMENT

More than half of the Victorian Government’s environment election promises are at risk of being undelivered or have already been broken, a new report from leading environment groups says.

The report, Envirowatch: one year in, was compiled by Environment Victoria (EV) in partnership with the Victorian National Parks Association (VNPA), Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF), The Wilderness Society (TWS), Friends of the Earth (FoE) and Greenpeace.

One year since its re-election in 2006, the State Government has broken four of its 69 pre-election environment promises, while another 33 show no signs of progress. It has so far kept six of its pre-election promises, while another 26 are on target to be delivered.

“While many of the Government’s initiatives are progressing well, it is very concerning that over half of their promises are already in jeopardy,’’ EV CEO Kelly O’Shanassy said. “Government will need to work hard over the next three years to ensure it upholds its commitments to the environment.’’

The majority of the Government’s broken promises relate to improving river health. Ms O’Shanassy said the decision to raid rivers of their legal water entitlements to provide water for urban use and agriculture indicated the Government did not truly value rivers and wetlands.

“That’s a problem given that rivers supply almost all our water needs in Victoria and underpin the Victorian economy and our lifestyles,’’ Ms O’Shanassy said.

“Since re-election, the Government has had a bumpy ride on water. It’s made some world class decisions to improve irrigation efficiencies but at the same time shown short-sightedness when it comes to protecting the very rivers that provide water for irrigation and urban use.’’

The report also says over 50 per cent of the Government’s climate change promises are at risk of not being delivered.

Ms O’Shanassy said the Government would need to significantly boost energy efficiency and renewable energy programs over the next three years to meet their election promises.

“Unfortunately, even if all these promises are met, they are unlikely to ensure Victoria’s greenhouse gas emissions actually fall,’’ she said. “What we’re really missing is a short-term target to reduce pollution that informs all government decisions.’’

The Government also has failed to deliver on promises to immediately implement new protected areas in old growth forests in East Gippsland, Cobobbonee and the Strzelecki Ranges. TWS campaigns manager Gavan McFadzean said the “jury is still out on the Government meeting its promises to protect forests’’.

“In East Gippsland we will be looking closely to ensure Premier Brumby meet his promise to remove 41,000 hectares of old growth forests from logging, equating to nearly 80,000 hectares of new reserves,’’ Mr Fadzean said. “The Premier also needs to ensure that almost all the Cobobbonee forest is protected in new National Park.”

VNPA executive director Matt Ruchel said progress was being made on protection of Murray River Red Gum forests through the Victorian Environment Assessment Council (VEAC) process.

“But the declaration by the Premier that there would be no consideration of further water recommendations has undermined VEAC’s independence,’’ Mr Ruchel said. “We do, however, commend the Government for its commitment to a White Paper on land and biodiversity.’’

 

For interview:

Cam Walker, FoE, 0419 338 047

Kelly O’Shanassy, EV CEO, on 9341 8119 or 0421 054 402

Matt Ruchel, VNPA executive director, on 9341 6504 or 0418 357 813

Gavan McFadzean, TWS campaigns manager, on 9038 0810 or 0414 754 023

Mark Wakeham, Greenpeace energy campaigner, on 9341 8127 or 0409 542 753

Media contact: Daniel Clarke on 9341 8113 or 0407 771 072

 

For a copy of the report, click here .