About 30 of us gathered for photos in Howitt Park Bairnsdale (including former Mayor and Independent Senate candidate Mendy Urie) hoping to celebrate an announcement from the Premier Daniel Andrews that Victoria was to be the first state to ban unconventional gas mining outright. It was not to be. The statement instead said the decision had been deferred to August and that there would be more community consultation (sigh! for most of us the two year process has been long enough) and that the Premier would visit Bairnsdale.
Labor continues to disappoint – in Victoria where they have power approaching 2 years and federally where they aspire to it. If we cannot rein in our use of fossil fuels quickly and drastically, say by 2030 achieving 100% renewables, then any hope of keeping the warming of the planet to 1.5 or 2 degrees will become impossible. There are two steps that have to be done at all levels of government. The first and easiest is to stop any new fossil fuel development – coal, oil or gas – and the easiest of these is to just ban CSG outright. The second and far more difficult part is to convert to 100% renewable energy.
Perhaps because of the federal election with labor cautious and wary of putting so much as a foot out of line, any even mildly controversial decision by the state government is delayed. With the benign, mild campaigns of the major parties in this election we are left with a choice someone described as “between Tweedledum and tweedledummer”. (When will climate change become the continuous front page headline it deserves to be?) The announcement after considerable build up was another ‘fizzer’. Consequently the mood at the photoshoot was sombre and our Premier given the thumbs down.