Today Premier Naphine announced the merger of the Department of Sustainability and Environment and the Department of Primary Industry, as well re-committing the government’s support developing Victoria’s coal resource.
Environment Victoria CEO today said:
“For the past few years, the Victorian Coalition has put in place many antiquated and environmentally destructive policies such as anti-wind farm laws, development in national parks and expansion into Melbourne’s green wedges. It has prioritised environment exploitation over protection. By scrapping the stand-alone environment department, there is a real risk that this out-dated approach will continue.
“If done badly, combining environment protection and primary production is akin to putting the fox in the hen house. But environment restoration can go hand-in-hand with improved agricultural and industry productivity if done right. What really matters is that the government switches its approach from natural resource exploitation to sustainable use of Victoria’s natural assets. With a new Premier comes a new opportunity to make the switch and take Victoria forwards.
“We are however very concerned that the government has reiterated its support for new coal development and placed this responsibility in the new Department for State Development. Numerous economic studies have shown that recent past coal developments have not created a single new job in Victoria. The sooner the government wakes up to this reality and focuses its attentions on clean energy rather than coal, the sooner we will create more jobs and secure Victoria’s economy."