Press Release No.11 (17.11.14)

Climate Change and Revitalising East Gippsland or Jobs in the Bush

Independent Candidate in Gippsland East Peter Gardner stated that the countryside can benefit in the fight against climate change. He said: “The countryside is the frontline in the fight against the severe and damaging effects of climate change. These include more frequent and prolonged droughts, heatwaves, floods, storms including increasing thunderstorms and related bushfires of which we will have an increasing number of the catastrophic variety.

“The first half of 1998 was a classic example of a short severe drought followed by a couple of intense rainfall events where many places received more than half their annual rainfall in less than a week. Most of these extreme weather events of the last 25 years have been influenced by climate change or in simple terms made worse by it. Country people have the most to gain by combating climate change and the most to lose if nothing is done.

He continued: “East Gippsland and the bush generally should benefit from the massive redirection of our resources away from the city. This is required to combat climate change. Emphasis should be on putting people on the ground, giving people jobs – not bricks and mortar or spending large amounts on technical solutions.

“The policies can be financed by a redirection of funds away from big developments in the city with the notable exception of public transport. Under a succession of governments over the last thirty years the bush has been left to decline. History is littered with examples of civilisations that have collapsed because they neglected or destroyed their agriculture systems.

“My policies are designed to combat and, or adapt to, climate change and many relate to employment. To implement them will provide a boost to the local economies and jobs – especially for young people. These policies include boosting all emergency services, bringing on the renewable energy revolution with local community based energy projects of many kinds, strengthening CFA and the DSE in fire fighting and fire prevention  in country towns and on communications routes, bolstering Landcare in private and community revegetation projects, decentralisation of government departments, and last but not least a general public transport upgrade including increased services, especially of the feeder buses, increased maintenance and the replacement of the Stratford bridge.

In general Gardner supports the Federal coalition’s Green Army but insists it should be engaged in serious projects concerned with either mitigating or adapting to climate change.

“We are all in the same boat with regards climate change. Anything more than the projected 2 degrees average increase in the earth’s temperature will be catastrophic. Now is the time to do some ‘heavy lifting’, to return to a bipartisan approach that puts people above party, and starts to treat the problem with the seriousness it deserves. Now is the time to phase out coal – the new asbestos. Coal has helped develop our society but now we know it kills, and like asbestos we must cease exploiting it as quickly as possible. To do nothing is to endanger life on the planet as we know it. That is why I ask you all to vote one for the vote climate, vote solar platform.”