Baillieu’s Environment Policy Free Zone

After almost two years in government Mr Baillieu has succeeded in taking Victoria’s environment backwards essentially vacating the environment policy area, Shadow Minister for the Environment and Climate Change Lisa Neville said today.

Ms Neville said the Baillieu Government had failed to produce a clear policy direction on environmental issues and an environmental statement, which was due before this year’s State Budget, had been shelved.

“No statement is going to con Victorians into believing that this government cares about Victoria’s environment,” Ms Neville said.

“The Baillieu Government is a policy free zone when it comes to protecting and investing in Victoria’s environment.

“The Baillieu Government has already wound back environmental protections in Victoria that have been in place for decades and supported by governments of all persuasions.’

“Victorians must wonder what it is Environment Minister Ryan Smith actually does as he has had a number of portfolio responsibilities stripped off him and given to Agriculture Minister Peter Walsh,” Ms Neville said.

“Nearly two years on and Victorians are none the wiser on what the Baillieu Government sees as environmental responsibilities or what action it will take to protect and improve the environment.

“The only action in the environment area we have seen is the Baillieu Government turning the National-Heritage listed Alpine National Park into a cow paddock and back flipping on its promise to reduce carbon emissions by 20 per cent by 2020.

“Mr Baillieu has killed off jobs investment by introducing anti-wind farm laws which create a dense maze of wind farm buffer zones and bans which have shutdown investment in the industry.”

Ms Neville said Mr Smith had also introduced a free for all firewood policy which has seen trees cut down illegally and funding cuts to various beach and Parks Victoria programs.

“Victorians could be forgiven for thinking that Mr Smith’s ministerial responsibility was for the destruction of the environment and jobs, cutting more than $130 million from the Department of Sustainability and Environment budget and slashing 600 jobs from DSE and the Department of Primary Industries.”