Air pollution remains a significant problem in Victoria.
The Greens will push the next government to DO more on air pollution to keep Victorians safe and healthy.
Government must address air pollution from a range of sources, including transport emissions, coal fired power stations, industry and wood smoke.
Further information about the Victorian Greens policy to tackle pollution from coal power stations can be found here.
Further information about Victorian Greens policy to tackle pollution from transport can be found here.
Wood smoke is one of the more hazardous air pollutants: any level of exposure is harmful to human health. A recent parliamentary inquiry evaluated the health costs of wood heaters.
Despite making up only a tiny proportion of Melbourne’s heaters, wood heaters contribute around 51% of Melbourne’s fine particle (PM 2.5) air pollution.
These particles from wood smoke are absorbed through the lungs where they cause asthma and into the blood where they can cause heart attacks and strokes. And each wood heater in Australia is estimated to be responsible for $3500 - $11000 in health costs, far more than any savings from lower fuel bills.
To keep our community healthy, we must reduce exposure to wood smoke pollution.
The Greens’ will push the government to reduce wood smoke pollution, including by:
- Introducing a wood heater replacement and public education program (based on successful models in Launceston and New Zealand). Households will be eligible for grants to replace wood heaters with heat pumps under the Victorian Greens plan to get 1 million homes off gas. Further information here.
- Developing state-wide guidelines for local councils on managing and enforcing air pollution impacts caused by domestic wood smoke.
- Empowering councils to issue a smoke abatement order to an occupier of a residence from which excessive wood heater smoke is emitted. Where the residence continues to emit visible smoke, the council can then issue an infringement penalty.
- Phase out the sale of wood heaters starting in 2023.