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Victoria's incredible climate policy opportunity

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Ellen Sandell
State MP for Melbourne
23 October 2014

To be honest, I never imagined I’d be running for Parliament.

Aged 18, I got a chance to go to one of the best universities in the country. I learned from some of the best scientists in the world. But I learned something pretty terrible: that we were facing the dire consequences of climate change, and the reality is, we’re the last generation who can solve the problem.

I decided to act.

My fight for climate action landed my dream job in the Department of Premier and Cabinet under a Labor government.

But while working there, I had several experiences where reports were changed so they said what the coal or forestry industry wanted, regardless of what the science was saying. Premier Brumby changed his mind and gave in to big industry and vested interests many times.

I realised that the Liberal and Labor parties simply don’t have the conviction to tackle the big issues. They cared more about their political future than our actual future.

Even thought we have a Prime Minister who won't listen to the science or the community, we don't have to wait to replace him before we get action on climate change. We can get action at a state level. But Labor and Liberals won't do it for us.

From the Victorian Liberal Party we have seen the introduction of the world’s harshest anti-wind farm laws, our national parks turned into grazing paddocks and a commitment to new coal mines.

The Labor Party hasn't been of any substantial help either as they continue to support logging our carbon-dense forests at taxpayer expense, refuse to rule out new coal mines, and have no plan for replacing our dirtiest power stations with renewables.

Fortunately, by electing a Greens MP in the lower house, we can change a lot. 

The Greens have a plan to:

  • Repeal the anti-wind farm laws

  • Institute a Victorian Renewable Energy Target (VRET) when Labor and Liberal weaken the federal RET

  • Stop new coal allocations

  • Institute a Cash-for-Containers scheme

  • Transition away from coal fired power

  • Place a permanent moratorium on coal seam gas

  • Stop the East West toll road and invest in public transport instead

  • Create a new Great Forest National Park

The polls show we are probably looking at a Labor Government. While some people think this might be better for the environment, they have yet to announce any new environment or climate policies this election campaign. We are at risk of getting a change of government to Labor with no pressure to do anything about the environment. This means it's more important than ever that we have a Greens MP in the balance of power to hold the next State Government to account.

I'll make it a condition of my support for any Government that they:

  1. Invest in public transport not the East West toll road
  2. Take action on climate change - by replacing coal with renewables
  3. Create the Great Forest National Park to protect habitat, water catchments and carbon stores.

On top of that we can campaign further for a Cash-for-Containers scheme like South Australia has which rewards the public for their recycling efforts, and re-instate many energy efficiency programs that were cut by the Liberals.

But I cannot do any of this alone.

Here are some things you can do:

  1. Come doorknocking with us. We do not want to wake up the day after the election having missed out again by 400 votes, or god forbid, 40 votes or 4 votes!
  2. Help out on election day and early voting.
  3. Come to a special climate doorknock with us so we can make climate a big issue this election and put the pressure on Labor to make some announcements before the election.

I know we can address climate change here in Victoria but I can't do it alone.

I need your help.

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Ellen Sandell
State MP for Melbourne
23 October 2014




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