Friends of the Earth Melbourne released the statement below on March 20.
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One of Victoria’s worst kept secrets over the past year has been the intention of the state government to expand the state’s involvement in the coal industry. A draft cabinet submission shows that the Baillieu government is preparing a campaign to promote further development of Victoria’s brown coal reserves.
“There can be little doubt that on environmental grounds, this is the worst state government Victoria has had in decades,” said Friends of the Earth campaigns coordinator Cam Walker.
“While it came to power with only a handful of promises, the government of Ted Baillieu has moved swiftly to implement a well-crafted agenda that will send our state backwards many decades on climate action and environmental protection.
“This latest move, to open up new coal allocations for industry, is policy that dates from the 1950s. Sadly, this is true of much of the government’s approach to the environment, as it winds back protection and action across most areas of environmental and climate policy.
“The time for new investment in coal is long over. Even if we leave aside the fact that the Baillieu government has effectively destroyed our chances of building new wind energy projects, and dropped support for the development of solar, to embrace coal development for export means that we will be locked into a quarry mentality, where we should instead be building our agricultural, manufacturing and high tech industries.
“This announcement will be greeted with anger in the communities likely to be affected by new mines. There is a growing backlash against new coal and gas operations in rural Victoria, much of it in the traditional heartland of the National Party.
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