Climate, environment and forest issues in Victorian 2018 state election #vicvotes

Northern Metro region ballot paper

Our state election comes at an important time as we face major environmental issues with accelerating impacts of climate change, plastic pollution, continued deforestation.

The MPs we elect will make important decisions for us in Fawkner, our City of Moreland, and for all of Victoria that will have ramifications well into the future, sometimes for decades.

Most of us are caught up with day to day lives, with work and paying our taxes and our bills, raising our children. But it is so important to ensure that the benefits we enjoy today are maintained for the future, and the future of our children. If we don’t take the requisite actions we leave an enormous economic, social and environmental debt for future generations.

The big over-arching issue of the Victorian election campaign is addressing climate action at the state level. The recent IPCC 1.5C report articulated strongly that we need rapid and transformative social change at all levels of society if we are to avoid dangerous climate change. We are in a climate emergency.

This is so important as the Federal Liberal Government has failed in 5 years of delivering any climate and energy policy, with Australian emissions continuing to rise under the Prime Ministerships of Tony Abbott, Malcolm Turnbull and Scott Morrison.

Here we provide different organisations reviewing the policies of candidates and parties in the 2018 Victorian state election in the hope that you find this useful for making your vote count in the Victorian state election.

Vote Climate

Climate Action Moreland has approached candidates in the three electorates covering Moreland to sign the Climate Emergency declaration. 6 of 9 candidates in Brunswick signed including both the Greens and ALP candidates. 6 of 8 candidates in Pascoe Vale signed, including sitting Labor MP Lizzie Blandthorn, high profile Independents Oscar Yildiz and John Kavanagh, and the Greens candidate.

Significantly, Labor’s Energy Minister Lily D’Ambrosio has signed the climate emergency declaration, a welcome first step at ministerial level for climate action.

Broadmeadows electorate

In the electorate of Broadmeadows, where Fawkner residents reside, the Socialist candidate Jerome Small and the Greens Candidate Sheridan Tate both signed.

Sitting Labor MP Frank McGuire has not signed the climate emergency declaration. Read more on the Broadmeadows electorate at Broadmeadows #vicvotes candidates sign on to #climateemergency

Melbourne Northern Metro Region

Climate Action Moreland has also reviewed the climate policies of all the Parties standing in Northern Metro Region Legislative Council (The Upper House) Read the assessment: Deciphering climate policy for Northern Metro Legislative Council Parties in #vicvotes

Darebin Climate Action Now have prepared the following scorecard for climate policies for Melbourne Metro North candidates in the Upper House:

Melbourne Metro North Vote Climate Scorecard.

General climate, energy and renewables

Environment Victoria has also rated the parties on clean energy and climate change policies to find out where they all stand. Read how they rated the parties on:

  • Bringing online new renewable energy
  • Closing dirty coal-burning power stations and supporting communities in transition
  • Improving access to energy efficiency
  • Protecting our climate
  • Delivering Sustainable Transport
  • Protecting our precious natural world
  • Creating new national parks
  • Restoring our rivers and waterways

Environment Victoria Vicvotes scorecard

The Yes 2 Renewables campaign has rated the three major parties on renewables and clean energy policies.

Yes 2 Renewables Vicvotes scorecard

Greenpeace have published a scorecard on climate and renewables, with a special new report so that everyone knows exactly what they’re voting for. Read the report:

Greenpeace renewables and climate vicvotes scorecard

Fawkner resident and sustainable transport campaigner John Englart with Elsie

Vote Forests

Why are forests an election issue? Because the Andrews Labor Government promised in 2014 they would sit down with all parties and work out a consensus outcome on the logging of old growth native forests in Victoria. There has been no positive outcome in four years. Vic Forests have been taken to court for illegal logging. A recent ABC news report advises Australia’s endangered forests are being ‘stolen’ and sold in hardware and office stores.

Forests are important as carbon sinks, for the ecosystems and habitats that they provide especially to endangered species such as Victoria’s faunal emblem, Leadbeater’s possum, and in ensuring quality water to the population of Melbourne.

Victorian forests are also important in the sovereignty, land use and spiritual connection of our first nation peoples. Victoria is moving ahead with treaty negotiations with our indigenous nations and the fate of our native forests are an essential part of addressing this.

Sovereign indigenous clans in Victoria consisting of the Taungurong, Wurundjeri and Gunai Kurnai peoples met on 14 and 15 September 2018 to discuss land and forests and formulated a statement on forests that calls for an immediate moratorium on logging and destruction of Victorian forests. This statement was read out at a forum on the future of Victoria’s Forests held by Brunswick Friends of Forests at Brunswick Town Hall on 21st November 2018.

Read more on an election scorecard on indigenous sovereignty and issues that affect indigenous Victorians prepared by ANTAR Victoria.

If indigenous sovereignty isn’t enough, the scientific research of Professor David Lindenmayer from a western scientific point of view is unequivical that continued logging does not make environmental, social or economic sense, and cannot be justified using conventional economic modelling, let alone triple bottom line accounting. His most recent research just published shows that continued logging in the Thomson dam catchment, which supplies 60 percent of Melbourne clean drinking water, would result in the reduction of water for 600,000 people by 2030. This at a time when climate change is affecting rainfall southern Australian patterns moving them further south with a long term projected decline in rainfall.

The abstract of the study: Resource Conflict Across Melbourne’s Largest Domestic Water Supply Catchment, says:

Based on an estimated consumption of 161 litres of water per person per day, the loss in water yield resulting from logging would equate to the lost water for nearly 600,000 people by 2050.
Given the strategic importance of water from the Thomson Catchment, our analyses suggest that native forest logging should be excluded from this catchment, particularly in the context of increasing human consumption of water and decreasing stream inflows from the catchments. Previous work has shown that the economic value of the water across all of Melbourne’s Water Catchments, including the Thomson Catchment, is 25.5 times greater than the economic value of the timber produced from the all native forests, based on integrated economic and environmental accounting (e.g. under the System of Environmental and Economic Accounting [SEEA] developed by the United Nations). It is not the difference in value between water and timber that is important, it is the change due to the use of an ecosystem service, resulting in the reduction of water yield. Therefore, we suggest that ongoing logging of the Thomson Catchment, when it is known to reduce water yields, is a questionable natural resource management policy.

Read the article by David Lindenmayer and Chris Taylor at the Conversation: Logging must stop in Melbourne’s biggest water supply catchment

Continued Victorian Government support of VicForest logging is also at variance with public opinion. In Victoria 64 per cent found logging for wood production unacceptable, and another 11 per cent were undecided. Notably, the regional opinion was only slightly smaller than the urban opposition to logging, according to The Sydney Morning Herald Article.

The study found harvesting native forests was viewed as unacceptable by 65 per cent of regional and rural residents – including in areas with timber industries – not far shy of the 70 per cent disapproval by urban respondents.

For instance, 62 per cent of residents in Victoria’s Central Highlands and Gippsland regions viewed logging of native forests for wood production as unacceptable and just one in five supported it.

Public Opinion on continued logging of native forests

Sustainable Transport

The Public Transport Users Association based on examining transport policies, recommends a vote for 1. The Greens, 2 Labor, and 3. The Liberals.

PTUA vicvotes2018 scorecard

Moreland Bicycle User Group (Moreland BUG) surveyed the candidates on cycling issues for Brunswick, Pascoe Vale and Broadmeadows electorates, and the Northern Metro Region.

The results:

See also Bicycle Network Victorian State Election 2018 Election tracker for policy and promises.

One promise not listed was an additional $250,000 by Labor to upgrade the lighting on the Upfield Bike Path in Brunswick. Climate Action Moreland convenor John Englart responded that the money would be better spent extending the bike path to Upfield to get more people and suburbs access to arterial cycling facilities.

The Sustainable Cities campaign targets the shift to more sustainable transport solutions with public transport, walking and cycling policies. Read their Transport policy scorecard:

Sustainable Cities vicvotes scorecard

Multi-issue scorecards

The My Vote Matters scorecard by the Islamic Council of Victoria’s is a first. It rates the 3 major parties across a number of policy areas, including Islamaphobia and racism, health, employment, education and environment.

My vote matters vicvotes scorecard

The Democracy in Colour scorecard might also interest our ethnically diverse population in Fawkner:

Democracy in Colour Vicvotes scorecard

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