END ENVIRONMENTAL DESTRUCTION
We all depend on a healthy environment to thrive
For decades, Labor and Liberal governments in Victoria have contributed to extinction and habitat loss with active support for native forest logging, land clearing, native wildlife killing, destructive new road projects and over-extraction of water.
The first step in restoring land and waters in Victoria is to stop the activities that are causing the problem.
The Greens plan includes:
- Legislating an end to native forest logging in 2023, with a transition plan to move workers into new jobs and make the most of our existing plantation forests.
- A moratorium on new water licences, centering First Nations rights to water and a plan to return water for healthy rivers.
- A ban on new oil and gas drilling in our oceans and an end to coal burning in Victoria by 2030.
- Ending native duck hunting and an overhaul of wildlife laws that currently allow large-scale wildlife killing permits.
- Strengthen Victoria’s environmental assessment process so it has the teeth to stop destructive projects, and communities are not left fighting them off one by one.
Caring for country
First Nations people must lead Caring for Country
First Nations people have cared for lands and waters for tens of thousands of years. Yet since colonisation, traditional knowledge and practices of caring for Country have been erased and ignored, causing ecosystem breakdown, extinctions, and a massive loss of biodiversity and wildlife.
It’s vital that First Nations people are at the centre of restoring Victoria’s lands, waters and animals to health.
The Greens plan includes:
- A $1 billion fund to enable Traditional Owners to buy back private land, so it can be cared for, restored and protected by First Nations people.
- An $18 million fund to ensure First Nations people receive payment so they have increased capacity to participate in environmental consultation processes.
- Strengthen First Nations water, aquifer and ocean rights and limit how much water we take out of our rivers, so there’s still enough to maintain the cultural practices which keep First Nations people and their Country strong.
- A Dedicated First Nations Ranger training and employment program to bring Traditional Owner cultural knowledge to caring for Country, funded from within the Greens $1 billion a year Zero Extinction Fund.
We must protect our unique native species
Victoria is facing an extinction crisis. Since 2014, the number of species and ecosystems on the brink of extinction has risen from 687 to 2000.
Unlike NSW, Victoria has no dedicated program to protect and restore threatened species and the biodiversity programs we do have are woefully underfunded.
But we can change that.
Victoria urgently needs to centre First Nations people in caring for Country, protect the habitat we have and restore degraded lands and waters.
The Greens plan includes a $1 billion a year ongoing Zero Extinction fund, about 1% of the state budget, to protect and restore Victoria’s environment. The following initiatives will be prioritised out of this fund:
- A dedicated Save our Species program for Victoria.
- Doubling the funding for our national parks management and expanding marine national parks, with more rangers and Indigenous Rangers dedicated to conservation and caring for Country.
- A large-scale program to restore private and public land with weeding, invasive species management, fencing waterways, tree planting and restoring grasslands and wetlands, creating thousands of jobs along the way. This program will also include reinstating traditional cultural knowledge practices of Caring for Country.
- Fully funding Trust for Nature’s work to permanently protect and restore habitat on private land with legally binding covenants.
- Restoring urban biodiversity in cities and towns with healthy swimmable rivers, bee and bird corridors and biodiverse urban forests and green spaces.
Improving farming and caring for the land is a win-win
Healthy ecosystems provide the water we drink, the air we breathe and the food we eat. But a small handful of corporations control the world’s food industry and are driving unsustainable practices for their own profits, often at the expense of local farmers and our environment.
We need to support farming practices that care and regenerate the land, support local farmers and build resilience in the face of climate change.
The Greens plan includes:
- Establishing a Victorian Centre for Regenerative Agriculture to research and trial how organic, biodynamic and regenerative agriculture can improve farming land’s health and resilience against extreme weather events, while keeping farms economically viable and environmentally sustainable.
- Developing Victoria as the Australian leader in land restoration, with farmers playing a lead role in new industries like native seed farming, processing and planting degraded land to make it healthy. When America recovered from the Great Depression and faced crippling drought, the government paid farmers to care for and restore land. This led to the growth of a thriving industry in land restoration, creating new jobs in industries. There is a big opportunity to do the same in Victoria.
- Public funding within our $1 billion a year Zero Extinction Fund to manage weeds and pest animals, and plant biodiversity corridors, so farmers can reap the ecosystem services of growing food in healthy landscapes.
Fixing Victoria's broken nature laws
We need nature laws that actually work
Strong laws are a powerful tool that can protect our rivers, forests and oceans and ensure we all have a healthy planet for the future.
But unfortunately, many of Victoria’s nature laws are outdated, lack the teeth to have an impact or are simply ignored by the Labor Government.
For example, Victoria’s laws allow widespread slaughter of native wildlife while invasive deer species are considered a protected species.
The Greens plan includes:
- Strengthening Victoria’s environmental assessment process so it has the teeth to stop destructive projects, and communities are not left fighting them off one by one
- Making the tools in Victoria’s biodiversity laws mandatory for the government to use, like in the United States. This would ensure, for example, that vital habitat has to be protected and the government has to be working to restore every threatened species.
- Modernise wildlife laws so they actually protect wildlife! Right now these laws consider native wildlife as a resource or pest, while introduced species, like deer, receive protection.
- Reform the laws that apply to invasive species to ensure protecting threatened species and ecosystems are the focus of invasive species management, alongside ensuring invasive species like feral deer are managed on agricultural land
- Create an independent conservation regulator for Victoria who will be bold in holding the government and industry to account and protecting nature.
Waste and recycling
Let’s get rid of pointless plastics and fix the waste crisis
Our oceans and rivers are full of plastic, and most of it didn’t need to be created in the first place. Meanwhile many of our recyclables end up in landfill because governments haven’t done the work to make using recycled materials the smart and affordable thing to do. With the collapse of the REDCycling soft plastic recycling scheme, more than ever we need strong action to support the recycling industry.
Supporting the recycling industry turns waste into resources and creates thousands of jobs.
The Greens plan includes:
- Establishing a working group to set ambitious and mandatory procurement targets for use of recycled materials in government infrastructure projects. That way soft plastics will end up in footpaths, railway bollards, street furniture and playground equipment, not landfill.
- A ban on more single-use plastics to stop pointless, polluting plastic, including coffee cups, free plastic bags, excess packaging on fruit and veg, take away containers and fruit stickers, with a one year lead time to make sure alternatives are readily available.
- Make supermarkets responsible for reducing plastic packaging by requiring they implement alternatives to single use soft plastics and plastic containers such as creating BYO container/bag systems for deli items and certain bulk dry goods, and refill stations for items such as dishwashing liquid.
- Investing $100 million to building or upgrading dozens of recycling factories and composting facilities so our kerbside collections are actually recycled.
- Investing $50 million into going faster with recycling improvements. The Greens have had some great wins on getting household food waste and glass recycling rolled out, but we need these to get to more households sooner.
- Cutting plastic bottled water use by investing $100,000 into installing water bubblers in shopping strips, parks and train stations, across the state.
- Investing $4.5 million in creating ten re-use and repair centres, so our broken gadgets get a second life instead of going straight to landfill.
- Stopping all large-scale toxic incinerators, which burn rubbish and recycling, creating toxic waste, so we get better at reducing waste instead of just burning it.
HOW WE'LL PAY FOR OUR POLICIES
- Making big corporations pay their fair share
The Greens will make the big banks, property developers and the gambling industry pay their fair share of tax so we can invest in climate action, affordable housing and public services for all.
Our plans will also be paid for by spending smarter and making our state borrowings work for the community.
Our plan includes:
- $15 million for the Victorian Centre for Regenerative Agriculture
- $500,000 for the land restoration industry strategy
- The independent conservation regulator would replace the existing government conservation regulator
- $50 million to go faster with recycling improvements
- $4.5 million for re-use and repair centres
- $100,000 for refill stations
- $100 million for recycling factories and composting facilities