Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Green group slams Brumby on climate

VICTORIA'S environment has been damaged by the Brumby Government's focus on brown coal and a reliance on roads over public transport, according to a damning "report card" by one of Victoria's leading environmental groups.

In a scathing letter to all Victorian Labor MPs, seen by The Age, Environment Victoria has condemned the poor environmental performance of Premier John Brumby in his first 12 months in office.

The group slammed the Government's reliance on brown coal, its lack of investment in renewable energy, failure to do more to save the Murray River, and criticised it for prioritising road tunnels and upgrading freeways over a "bursting" public transport system.

Environment Victoria chief executive Kelly O'Shanasssy said some good environmental decisions have been made but the successes were small in comparison to policies that damage the environment.

"It gives communities little hope of the ALP's commitment to a better environment," she wrote.

The letter also warns that Environment Victoria will use its "influence as opinion-makers" in the lead-up to the 2010 Victorian election.

"We continue to be disappointed that the ALP Government frequently meets with irrigators and the business community but fails to see the need to engage with Victorian environmental leaders," Ms O'Shanassy wrote.

Earlier this month, the Brumby Government signed off on a new $750 million brown coal power station in the Latrobe Valley. The project, a joint venture between Australian coal technology specialist HRL and Chinese power giant Harbin Power, has received $150 million in Government funding.

The Government is also considering its response to the Eddington report, which recommends a road tunnel linking Melbourne's east and west and a rail tunnel connecting Caulfield and Footscray.

A spokesman for Environment Minister Gavin Jennings said the Government recently announced $72 million funding for renewable energy projects, ended logging in the Otways, and established the Cobboboonee National Park.

Read the original article at TheAge.com.au

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