Victoria

The Victorian Labor government’s final budget before the November state election is strong on spending — for health, education and public transport, but unfortunately also for toll roads and law and order.

The United Firefighters Union (UFU) is planning to rally outside Victoria’s state parliament house as part of a campaign against deceptive behaviour by the Metropolitan Fire Brigade (MFB) board.

Victoria became the first state to have a Renewable Energy Target (RET) written into law on October 20. The Victorian RET has been set at 25% renewable energy by 2020, and 40% by 2025.

Victoria is set to trial a safe injecting room, where users will be able to inject their drug of choice in a medically supervised safe space. The trial will run for at least two years, followed by a review.

It will be the first injecting room in Victoria and the second in Australia, after an injecting room was established in Kings Cross, Sydney, in 2001.

The results of the 2017 City of Greater Geelong Council elections have been declared, with Greens candidate Sarah Mansfield being elected in Brownbill Ward.

Mansfield won more than 17% of the primary vote. Her election was aided by a strong preference flow from residents who voted for Socialist Alliance (SA) candidates Sue Bull and Sarah Hathway.

Lidia Gunnai-Gunditj Thorpe is a Gunnai-Gunditjmara woman living on Wurundjeri Country in Melbourne’s north and the Greens candidate in the November 18 byelection for the Victorian state seat of Northcote.

Comfortably held by Labor since it was created in 1927, the seat of Northcote has seen a surge in support for the Greens in recent years. Some polls are indicating that Thorpe is on track to take the seat with a primary vote of about 40%.

The Victorian Government’s announcement on October 18 that it will ban single-use plastic shopping bags is a welcome step towards reducing plastic pollution.

Victoria will join South Australia, ACT, Northern Territory and Tasmania, which already have similar bans in place. Queensland and WA will follow in 2018, leaving NSW as the only state to allow the bags.

A single-use plastic bag is used for just 12 minutes on average, but can take up to 1000 years to break down.

The Victorian government announced on March 14 a $20 million tender, to install up to 80MW of grid-scale energy storage by 2018.

It invited proposals from batteries, pumped hydro, compressed air, flywheel, and solar thermal technologies.

But its deadlines, of 30MW expected to be installed by next summer and 50MW by the following summer, are impossible for two of those technologies to meet.

Pumped hydro facilities take several years to build, because dams, tunnels and pipelines would need to be built.

The Socialist Alliance has selected a Victorian Senate team of Lalitha Chelliah and Tim Gooden, and candidates Zane Alcorn for the seat of Wills and Sue Bull for the seat of Corio.
Victoria passed legislation on November 27 creating exclusion zones of 150 metres around abortion clinics. Victoria decriminalised abortion in 2008. But each month right-wing Christians organised protests that harass women seeking to use clinics that offer abortions. The legislation makes it an offence to film people without consent or block access to footpaths, roads and vehicles within the zone around GP clinics, hospitals and other health services offering abortions.

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