Local Government Legislation Amendment (Environmental Upgrade Agreements) Bill 2015

Ms SANDELL (Melbourne) — It will be no surprise to anyone that the Greens are very happy to support this bill, the Local Government Legislation Amendment (Environmental Upgrade Agreements) Bill 2015. The bill, as others have said, extends the successful environmental upgrade agreement scheme currently in place in the city of Melbourne to all councils across the state. I want to start by thanking the staff and councillors of the City of Melbourne, in particular Cr Leppert and Cr Oke, for the great work they have done in sustainability over the last few years. I know that the City of Melbourne has been a real leader in this space in a number of ways. It is good to see that this environmental upgrade agreement scheme can now be rolled out in other councils, enabling third-party financiers to provide loans for owners of non-residential buildings for sustainability, environmental and energy-efficiency upgrades that will then be repaid through council rates.

This is exactly the kind of innovative financing mechanism we should be looking at to support renewable energy and energy efficiency and to help us deal with climate change.

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Member's Statement - Unconventional Gas

Ms SANDELL (Melbourne) — I rise today to congratulate over 60 Victorian communities who have declared themselves gas field free. Victoria is currently covered by over 400 000 hectares of approved coal, coal seam gas, tight gas and shale gas exploration licences. But in communities across Victoria, farmers stand shoulder to shoulder with environmentalists, health professionals, people in tourism and locals in calling for a permanent ban on unconventional gas, fracking and coal seam gas.

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Unconventional gas

Ms SANDELL (Melbourne) — I rise today to congratulate over 60 Victorian communities who have declared themselves gas field free. Victoria is currently covered by over 400 000 hectares of approved coal, coal seam gas, tight gas and shale gas exploration licences. But in communities across Victoria, farmers stand shoulder to shoulder with environmentalists, health professionals, people in tourism and locals in calling for a permanent ban on unconventional gas, fracking and coal seam gas.

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Local Government Legislation Amendment (Environmental Upgrade Agreements) Bill 2015

Ms SANDELL (Melbourne) — It will be no surprise to anyone that the Greens are very happy to support this bill, the Local Government Legislation Amendment (Environmental Upgrade Agreements) Bill 2015. The bill, as others have said, extends the successful environmental upgrade agreement scheme currently in place in the city of Melbourne to all councils across the state.

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Yet again, Labor chooses coal over the community

On Wednesday, Parliament debated a Greens’ Bill that would mean Alcoa (the owners of Anglesea coal mine and power station) would have to be subject to Freedom of Information (FOI) laws. They are one of the very few companies in Victoria that are exempt from FOI.

This exemption has meant in the past Alcoa has been able to hide important health and emissions information from the public -- information that other companies would have had to release.

Now that the Anglesea coal mine and plant are closing, it’s more important than ever that information about the rehabilitation of the mine site and plant are out in the open. This is why we introduced this Bill.

After days spent negotiating with all sides of politics, we decided to make it so that the FOI laws applied only to Anglesea (not Alcoa’s Portland smelter) and make sure the laws weren’t retrospective. Although we’d prefer not to water down the Bill, we felt it was more important to pass laws to increase transparency about Anglesea’s future. In doing this, we were able to support from the Liberals, Nationals and cross-bench and saw the Bill pass the Upper House.

However, at the last minute, Labor voted against our Bill in the lower house, meaning Alcoa will remain under the veil of secrecy.

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