Victorian Environment groups gathered to protest the Environment and climate actions of the Baillieu Victorian State Government on Sunday November 13, 2011 on the steps of State Parliament. To highlight the direction the Government is taking Victoria's environment, the protesters marched backwards to the Treasury Gardens.
Related: Melbourne Protests report | Flickr Photos from Friends of the Earth | Takver
Background: Coalition’s 2km wind farm veto sets a risky precedent | Retreating on climate policy - Victorian Government stops discussions on Hazelwood closure | Victorian Government needs to come clean on plan to achieve 20 percent emissions cut by 2020
Several hundred people gathered outside Parliament House to highlight the direction the Baillieu Government is taking Victoria on the environment and climate change.
Organisers of the Backwards March – Environment Victoria, The Wilderness Society, Victorian National Parks Association and Friends of the Earth – called on the Premier to change direction to save Victoria’s environment before it’s too late. The protest comes a fortnight ahead of the Baillieu Government’s first anniversary.
Reasons for the march include in the 1st year of power the Government:
- Sent Cattle trampling into the Alpine national parks
- New wind farms blocked
- Co2 emissions target ignored
- Endangered species habitat logged
- New coal-fired power station approved
- Green Wedges threatened
- Westernport destruction fast-tracked
All without a substantial electoral mandate to undertake these actions. The coalition Government did not present an Environment or Climate Policy at the last election.
Environment Victoria’s CEO Kelly O’Shanassy said: "The Baillieu Government didn’t release their environment policy ahead of the election, and since they were elected we’ve seen the systematic dismantling of Victoria’s environmental protections. Its extremely disappointing and contrary to Victorians aspirations for the environment. We need to see a change of direction urgently."
"Some of the Baillieu Government’s decisions are frankly illogical and ideological," Friends of the Earth’s Campaigns Coordinator Cam Walker said. "The State Government has so far turned its back on the solar and wind industries, two of the fastest growing industries in the world, and instead is supporting new coal mines and coal-fired power stations. Victorians can oppose wind farms but not the extension of a coal mine. It’s a backwards approach that needs to change."
The Wilderness Society’s Forests Campaigner Luke Chamberlain said: "It has only taken a year for Premier Baillieu to take Victoria back to Victorian times when loggers and miners were able to destroy our beautiful natural environment without any recourse. Recent revelations that forestry could be made exempt from the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act effectively sign the death warrant of Victoria’s iconic Leadbeater’s possum at Sylvia Creek and the Long-footed potoroo and other endangered species at Brown Mountain."
Victorian National Parks Association Executive Director Matt Ruchel said: "Premier Baillieu said he would fix the problems and build the future. But when it comes to our unique environment his government has created new problems that are threatening our future. The government has undermined National Parks with cattle trampling the Alpine National Park and opening up redgum parks for firewood collection. National Parks are not cow paddocks or firewood depots."
- Facebook - Backwards March
- Media Release, Nov 13, 2011 - Backwards March calls on Premier Baillieu to change direction on environment