Significant turn on Victoria’s path towards clean energy and climate safety

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A rare phenomena in politics: Premier Daniel Andrews pays respect to the future generations, not just with a kiss for the photographer, but with a long-term plan for how Victoria will become a carbon-free society during the next three decades.
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Two announcements from the Victorian state government have created a new strategic outlook for Victoria’s activists campaigning for renewable energy and action on climate change. They were announced separately, but it is important to understand that they are inter-connected.

On 9 September 2016, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews and Resource Minister Wade Noonan came to the Geelong region to meet and congratulate the local anti-fracking activists with their successful campaign for a permanent ban on fracking. The premier hailed Victoria’s new fracking ban “a win for people power”.

In itself the anti-fracking groups’ campaign method and victory is worth noticing and possibly learning from in the climate action campaigning camp, because it illustrates how we, the ordinary people, are able to create real policy change against all odds – even when up against powerful economic interests.

What is also significant in a national climate emergency perspective was the launch the day before of the Victorian government’s Take2 campaign, where so far 180 businesses and organisations – many of which are large and mainstream, such as Fairfax Media, AGL, Origin, G21, VicSuper, NAB, Bank Australia and other banks, four universities and over 20 councils – have signed on to start the path towards a zero carbon Victoria in 2050, along with so far around 1,000 individuals.

As we know, the transition away from fossil fuels is such a massive task that it will have be a non-partisan, collective effort, and here we now have a state government stepping up to the challenge and taking the necessary leadership position with this first step to orchestrate and create collective ownership of the effort.

With climate change action as well as with picking up bath towels in hotel rooms, human psychology works this way: we will primarily do it if we are made aware that others are doing it. This is why for Victoria’s 5.8 million people an initiative like Take2, gathering consensus and spreading a feeling of society-wide joint effort, has much more significance than it may seem to have. It is not just a lot of ‘greenwashing’, as it could quickly be critisised for.


Victorian leadership
At the Ravens Creek farm in Moriac on 9 September 2016, Premier Daniel Andrews had this to say to The Sustainable Hour on 94.7 The Pulse:

“If you look at Victoria when it is at its best, its when we are leading our nation and best we can, leading the world. So when it comes to real action on climate change we are leading our nation, very clearly. When it comes to banning unconventional gas and protecting our image, our clean, green brand that is so valuable to us, again, we are leading our nation. And of course, in relation to renewable energy with those very assertive targets to get to 40 per cent renewable energy production by 2025, that’s really important. And, you know, in so many different ways we are making policy decisions that are grounded in common sense but are leadership positions, and that is when Victoria is at its best.”

“Why hasn’t that common sense been more apparent up til now?”

“Well, I don’t want to comment on the people who have held this job before me, but we know what we stand for, and we listen to communities, and we are very keen to make sure that we make decisions today that we will look back on in 20 years, 30 years, maybe even longer, and say, Look, I think we got this right, and how much better are we because of the leadership that was shown, not just by us [the government], this has come from a really strong and broad community campaign that has been run for a long time. It is a very proud day today.”


Audio: Listen to the interview with Premier Daniel Andrews:


» To open or download this one minute audio file, right-click here (On a Mac: CTRL + click)



Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews joins ABC’s RN Breakfast radio show for a talk about renewables and federal climate change policy:

» ABC – 30 September 2016:
Victoria ‘innovative and nimble’ on renewable energy: Andrews

» Download audio file



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Permanent ban on fracking

Premier Daniel Andrew’s statement to the media


» To open or download this six minute audio file, right-click here (On a Mac: CTRL + click)



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How the decision to ban fracking came about

In this six-minute interview, Victorian state government’s Resource Minister Wade Noonan explains the process and the considerations his government made before taking the decision to make a permanent ban on extracting gas in Victoria:


» To open or download this six minute audio file, right-click here (On a Mac: CTRL + click)

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It is not every day you see politicians getting a hug from a campaigner. But this was what happened in Moriac on 9 September 2016. Friends of the Earth’s anti-fracking community coordinator Chloe Aldenhoven gave Premier Daniel Andrews a BIG hug – and we reckon he deserved it.

» Read more about the fracking ban on www.frackfreegeelong.org







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Towards a net zero carbon Victoria: Take2

Daniel Andrew’s statement to the media

Take2: An important step for climate action in Victoria and in Geelong

The ‘Take2 Pledge’ is Victoria’s collective climate change action to help Victoria reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

The Victorian government launches the initiative on 8 September, and writes: “To reach this target, and for Victoria to play its part in reducing global warming, we need to act together – businesses, local councils, community service organisations, educational institutions, families and individuals.

Some of the founding partners that have signed up from the Barwon South West so far include:

· City of Greater Geelong
· Surf Coast Shire
· G21
· Deakin Uni
· Geelong Sustainability
· Surf Coast Energy Group
· Geelong Mums
· Fonterra
· LaMadre Bakery
· Southern Grampians & Glenelg PCP
· Southern Ocean Mariculture

· See who else has pledged

» Getting involved is easy and you can sign up and pledge to TAKE2 here:
www.take2.vic.gov.au






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Victoria’s new renewable energy targets

On its website, the Victorian Government writes that it is “committed to re-establishing Victoria as a leader in renewable energy.”

In June 2016, the Victorian Government committed to Victorian renewable energy generation targets of 25 per cent by 2020 and 40 per cent by 2025. These targets are ambitious yet achievable, and will see an estimated $2.5 billion of investment and an additional 4,000 jobs in Victoria’s renewable energy sector.

Like with the fracking ban, this didn’t just happen. Friends of the Earth’s Yes 2 Renewables had been pushing for years to make Victoria a safe-haven for renewables by reinstating a ‘Victorian Renewable Energy Target’. It was a campaign that transformed energy politics and policy in Victoria.

The government seems to have understood that to make this happen, it is very important to create – or reestablish – confidence among investors in the new supportive policies. The government writes it is “giving the renewable energy sector the confidence needed to invest in the renewable energy projects and jobs that are crucial to our State’s future.


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» Friends of the Earth:
The long road to VRET: FoE’s campaign for a Vic Renewable Energy Target

» Victorian Government media release:
Renewable Energy Targets To Create Thousands Of Jobs
» Fact sheet on New Energy New Jobs (PDF, 737 KB)




Letters to the editor

The local Geelong paper The Indy published the following letters to the editor:

Alan Barron’s response


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