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Move to end coal in Victoria by 2030

Tim Read MP with the Transition Away from Coal Bill

The Greens in the Legislative Council have presented legislation to a second reading to end coal mining, coal burning, and coal to hydrogen processing in Victoria by the end of 2030.

Greens Western Region MP Sarah Mansfield moved the second reading motion of the Energy and Resources Legislation Amendment (Transition Away from Coal) Bill 2023. It will come back for discussion in about 2 weeks time.

In her speech Mansfield acknowledges the Victorian Governments more ambitious climate targets for 2035, which will probably see coal power disappear by that date.

But Mansfield also takes note that brown coal mining could continue as part of coal to hydrogen for export to Japan, with the Government to attempt to sequester emissions in the depleted oil and gas wells in Bass Strait.


May 31, 2023 at 11:53 pm Leave a comment

Major backtrack on active transport projects in Draft Merri-bek Council Budget jeopardizes Climate Targets

Climate Action Merribek is very concerned with the lack of cycling projects in the pipeline of Council’s budget for 2023-2028.

Council appears to have gone backwards from the 10 year active transport rolling Capital works plan for walking and cycling projects.

We question Council’s priority in the Draft Budget given many $millions in funding for sports facilities over the forward budget, while providing infrastructure to encourage transport mode shift that reduces emissions, as well as many other co-benefits, is cut back to next to nothing.

Council declared a climate emergency in 2018, it needs to take the actions and prioritise project funding for cycling and active transport in accordance with that declaration.

Full Climate Action Merribek submission below.

Other media coverage: See Brunswick Voice, ‘Betrayal’: bike users group lashes council over abandoned projects


May 20, 2023 at 2:54 pm 1 comment

Submission on Impact of Road Safety Behaviours on Vulnerable road users

TAC statistics by road user of 27 Road User Fatalities for Merri-bek LGA 2013-2022

Climate Action Merribek teamed up with Sustainable Fawkner to preparare a submission to a Legislative Assembly Inquiry into the impact of road safety behaviours on vulnerable road users. It was submitted 19 May 2023.

We started with highlighting problem locations around Merri-bek municipality, particularly in the northern suburbs. This is by no means a comprehensive list but more illustrative of the many issues facing vulnerable users at specific locations. We then highlighted the need to address infrastructure to address safety and also as a response to reduce transport emissions. We came up with the following recommendations:

Invest in Safer infrastructure for vulnerable road users. Increasing safety for vulnerable road users means investing in safer footpaths, crossings, separated bike paths and protected bike lanes, and where pedestrian and cycling traffic is low, more shared use bike paths.

More Safety signage. It also means that more safety signage at key intersections is used warning drivers of both pedestrian and cycling activity, including early start signage for cyclists.

Driver Education. In the past too much emphasis has been placed on changing behaviours of vulnerable road users for their own safety as part of education campaigns. This amounts to ‘Blaming the Victim’. There needs to be a much greater focus on drivers sharing public roads, with an emphasis on safety, and also encouraging use of cycling and walking for local trips.

Addressing safety of vulnerable road users needs to also address the need to reduce transport emissions. The saftey of vulnerable road users and the need to change mobility behavious to reduce emissions should both drive more investment in active transport infrastructure. As dedicated infrastructure improves there is likely to be a compounding increase of active transport mode share reflecting the improved safety environment for vulnerable road users. This requires a boost to recurrent funding for active transport as a proportion of Transport funding in the Victorian budget

Build safe cycling infrastructure along the Strategic Cycling corridors. Sometime, like the extension of the Upfield bike path beyond the M80, this is entirely new infrastructure waiting to be built.

Increase funding to active transport to 20 percent of the state transport budget, as recommended by the United Nations.


May 20, 2023 at 1:56 pm Leave a comment

CommBank Brunswick: stop funding Fossil Fuels protest

Commonwealth Bank will announce their new oil and gas policy in August, and now is the time to pile on the pressure to make sure they don’t side with planet wrecking corporations.

Climate Action Merribek members organised a visit and a peaceful protest at 11am on Wednesday at the Commonwealth Bank in Brunswick as part of a broader action by 350 Australia.

From 2016 to 2022 the Commonwealth Bank financed Fossil Fuel Companies to the tune of Aus$14 billion (USD$8,148.69 million)


May 17, 2023 at 9:38 pm Leave a comment

Federal Budget2023 through a climate and sustainable lens

The Federal budget has provided a range of measures to address cost of living and also add to the energy transformation and address environmental reform. Some important initiatives include home energy efficiency upgrades, establishment of Australia’s first National Climate Risk Assessment and a National Adaptation Plan, establishment of Net Zero Authority, upgrading flood warning infrastructure, reducing transport emissions, investment in hydrogen.

But its measures don’t match the scale needed to address the climate emergency.

Some of the items of note:

  • $2bn for a new hydrogen power program, so Australia can be a “world leader in producing and exporting hydrogen power”.
  • $1bn in “low-cost loans for double-glazing, solar panels and other energy efficiency improvements that will make homes easier – and cheaper – to keep cool in summer and warm in winter”,
  • $300 million energy efficiency social housing upgrades;
  • direct energy bill relief of up to $500 for eligible households (ie, those presently receiving Government allowances) and up to $650 for small businesses.
  • $28.0 million over two years from 2023–24 to develop Australia’s first National Climate Risk Assessment and a National Adaptation Plan to understand the risks to Australia from climate change, invest in a plan to adapt to those risks, and commission an independent review of the Australian Climate Service.
  • $83.2 million over 4 years from 2023–24 to establish a national Net Zero Authority from 1 July to promote orderly and positive economic transformation associated with decarbonisation and energy system change in regional areas.
  • $20.9 million over 5 years from 2022–23 for initiatives to decarbonise the transport and infrastructure sectors including Fuel Emission Standards
  • $80.5 million over 4 years from 2023–24 to support the Australian critical minerals sector
  • Reform of the Petroleum Resource Rent Tax to increase receipts by $2.4 billion over the 5 years from 2022-23.
  • $236.0 million over 10 years from 2023–24 (and $13.9 million per year ongoing from 2032–33) to remediate high priority flood warning infrastructure and address critical reliability risks.
  • $121m over four years to establish Environment Protection Australia as part of an upcoming reform of conservation laws, and $51.5m for establishmment of Environment Information Australia, to provide data on the threatened species and ecosystems.
  • Health: $3.5bn boost to bulk billing that will help GPs provide free consultations to around 11.6 million eligible Australians.
  • Welfare: $4.9bn to increase working age and student income support payments including jobseeker, youth allowance, parenting payment (partnered), Austudy, Abstudy, youth disability support pension and special benefit. This will cover 1.1 million Australians. For Jobseeker those under 55 or over 60 will get another $40 a fortnight; those aged 55-59 will get $92.10 more a fortnight.. Increase to rent assistance by15 percent. ACOSS and student organisations have blasted this increase as greatly insufficient.

May 9, 2023 at 11:34 pm Leave a comment

Call to Prioritise low-income housing energy performance retrofits in Budget2023

At Climate Action Merribek we understand the cost of living pressures, but also the climate emergency that means we need to change to renewables and increase energy efficiency. This is of great importance for those on low incomes and those people renting. Climate Action Merribek joined with over 90 other community, business and NGO organisations in a call for the Federal Government to Prioritise low-income housing energy performance retrofits in Budget2023.

“We welcome the Government’s development of an energy performance strategy as an important initiative. An ambitious home retrofit package, prioritising low-income household, as part of the strategy, would play a critical role in the energy transition supporting lower cost and faster energy transition, permanently reduce energy bills, and improve the health, wellbeing and climate resilience of people.”

“Direct government investment in deep retrofits for homes occupied by people on low incomes would build economies of scale and market capacity reducing the costs for all housing retrofits, while reducing poverty and inequality for the most vulnerable in our society.”

Joint Statement on Energy Retrofits in the Upcoming Budget

May 8, 2023 at 11:52 am Leave a comment

Federal Government moves to establish National Net Zero Authority for Just Transition from 1 July

In a joint media release today Federal Government Ministers announced that a National Net Zero Authority would be established during the budget session with an aim to start from 1 July 2023. Unions Australia and some 60 organisations and community groups, including Climate Action Merribek, lobbied for a National Energy Transition Authority in the budget.

The new Authority will have responsibility for promoting the orderly and positive economic transformation associated with achieving net zero emissions. An agency located in Prime Minister and Cabinet will be setup first to outline more detailed structural arrangements in setting up the formal Authority.

The new, legislated Net Zero Authority will:

  1. Support workers in emissions-intensive sectors to access new employment, skills and support as the net zero transformation continues.
  2. Coordinate programs and policies across government to support regions and communities to attract and take advantage of new clean energy industries and set those industries up for success.
  3. Help investors and companies to engage with net zero transformation opportunities.

May 6, 2023 at 12:19 am Leave a comment

Raising climate issues at Glenroy Festival

Today we were at the Glenroy Festival with a stall in conjunction with Neighbours United for Climate Action, Newlands Friends of the Forest, and The Climate Action Game.

Beautiful sunny day. Just as well, as we didn’t have the 30kg weights per leg to put up our stall marquee.

We talked to a lot people highlighting the Climate Carnival event (FB) on May 6-7 in Brunswick East, and the next session of the Adaptation Game to be held at CERES on June 18.

We had the seven figures from the latest IPCC climate Report Summary for Policymakers as A2 posters people could look at.

Also information on the environmental and health impacts of Synthetic turf, and Melbourne Airport 3rd Runway expansion.


April 30, 2023 at 11:30 pm Leave a comment

Our Big 4 Banks still subsidising climate chaos says report

The Banking on Climate Chaos 2023 report has been published and shows the big 4 Australian Banks: the Commonwealth Bank, ANZ Bank, NAB Bank and Westpac Bank are continuing to approve loans for fossil fuel expansion. Climate Action Merribek was one of many civil society organisations that endorsed this report.

In the league table of worst banks globally for financing fossil fuels, ANZ ranks no 44, Westpac 53, Commonwealth 54, and NAB 56.

All 4 banks have set net-zero 2050 climate targets, but given continued financing of fossil fuel expansion one must question whether this is greenwash target setting. The following details are gathered on the big 4 Australian banks.

See also Market Forces: Australia’s big four banks face human rights complaint over Santos Barossa financing (4 April 2023)


April 25, 2023 at 2:14 am Leave a comment

Timid steps in decarbonising transport with National Electric Vehicle Strategy

The National Electric Vehicle Strategy (NEVS) launched by Climate Minister Chris Bowen and Transport Minister Catherine King is an important first step to decarbonising vehicle transport in Australia. It provides a vision for transitioning Australia’s light vehicle fleet to zero emissions. The policy appears relatively timid lacking specific targets for phaseout of new petrol/diesel vehicles.

Much will depend on the formulation of the Fuel Emission Standards and how much ambition is encompassed in those standards. Whether certain stakeholders such as the Fossil fuel sector or the Motor Industry can successfully lobby for loopholes or watered down standards.

The major active part of the National Electric Vehicle strategy is setting Fuel Emissions Standards. This is still dependant on industry and public consultation for the next 6 weeks (See Consultation paper). It is hoped to have standards in place by end of 2023 or early 2024.

And hopefully firm targets for a ban on new petrol/diesel light vehicle sales.


April 21, 2023 at 2:22 pm Leave a comment

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