Media release: DEA congratulates Vic Government’s response to the Independent Review on the Climate Change Act

Media release: DEA congratulates Vic Government’s response to the Independent Review on the Climate Change Act

Dr John Iser and The Hon Lily D’Ambrosio MP

9 June 2016

DEA congratulates the Victorian Government for their historic climate change announcements on Thursday 9th June, 2016.  Hopefully a significant beginning to acting on climate change in this state?

DEA has been liaising closely with the Department of Environment and Climate Change over the last year, and Victorian DEA representative Dr Eugenie Kayak has been part of their Climate Change Advisory Panel.

We have worked very hard to ensure health is at the forefront of decisions and public engagement plans.  DEA’s submission to the Climate Change Act review can be found here  and our response to the Independent Review of the Act here.

Victorian Chair Dr John Iser represented DEA at the announcement by the Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews that they would accept nearly all 33 recommendations of the Independent Review of the Climate Change Act 2010, tabled in Parliament on 11th February 2016.

The Victorian Government will amend the Act to:

– set a long-term emissions reduction target of net zero by 2050 in legislation, supported by process for setting interim targets every five years to ensure the long term target is met;

– develop five yearly Victorian Climate Change Strategies that incorporate both mitigation and adaptation;

– work in partnership with local government, community and business to pledge specific actions to reduce emissions, now and into the future; and

– develop integrated Adaptation Action Plans for key climate exposed sectors.

– See more here 

Importantly, the Victorian Government plans to commit to immediate action through a target to reduce emissions leading up to 2020 to be announced towards the end of 2016, rather than post-2020 as suggested in the Review.

DEA has been strongly arguing for more immediate targets than the Review suggested, and are very pleased with this announcement.  We will continue to work towards stronger emission reduction targets in the next few years / decades rather than three to four decades down the track.

In addition, the government has established a pledge-process in an attempt to engage all levels of government, business and the community. Although this is a Labor government initiative, we would encourage all Victorian DEA members to cast aside political bias and sign here.

These plans are highly significant as Victoria is still strongly dependent on brown coal with one of the highest per capita CO2 emission rates globally.  Victoria will now be joining SA and Canberra in adopting a net zero emissions target by 2050.

In delivering his address, Premier Andrews spoke of the need to take heed of climate science, and that action now was imperative for the economy, employment and the future of this planet. Lily D’Ambrosio, Minister for Energy, Environment, and Climate Change mentioned health as an issue of concern, which again is an important milestone in political thinking. Dr Iser thanked Minister D’Ambrosio for her contribution to this government’s policy and would like to acknowledge the leadership of the previous Environment and Climate Change Minister, Lisa Neville.

DEA looks forward to continual engagement with the Victorian Government on this and many other issues, including its promises of a target for 2020 for its departments and agencies, including schools and hospitals to be announced later this year, and how the EPA will potentially take a greater role in the monitoring and regulating of greenhouse gas emissions.

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