The Greens are a much-needed advocate for rural Victorians. I am bemused that the Liberal-Nationals continue to play the false card that the Greens are city centric (“ALP-Greens alliance a nightmare for state”, Denis Napthine, July 28).
I grew up on a farm between Woomelang and Sea Lake and now live in the Macedon Ranges. My colleagues in rural Victoria, and in some city seats such as Melbourne Greens MP Ellen Sandell, are genuine bush kids.
I joined the Greens because of my love of the rural life and a passion to protect it.
All we have in the country is our natural resource. The elements play a huge part in our success, but so does sustainable, intelligent policy and investment. All we get from the Liberals, Nationals and Labor, for that matter, are decisions based on the interests of their corporate donors. They have no long-term vision: they leave the community and councils to advocate for what’s truly needed to revitalise local economies.
No other party will stand up for the country, protect and conserve it so it continues to support the economic and social well-being of residents.
The Greens are the country. No other party will stand up for the country, protect and conserve it so it continues to support the economic and social well-being of residents.
The Liberals and Nationals have become completely compromised, and advocate against evidence and the public good. Take Dr Napthine; he is an ex veterinarian, yet he advocates for practices proven to be both inhumane and unpopular like jumps racing and duck shooting. There is a reason these practices are banned in other states and countries. Dr Napthine, like so many other politicians, uses facts rather loosely. Less than 0.4 per cent of the population shoot ducks (based on the license statistics of the Gaming Management Authority) while 87 per cent want it banned (Morgan Poll). How is this popular?There are a plethora of independent economic studies which show duck shooting is detrimental to rural areas and nature-based tourism would be far more lucrative, providing protection for threatened ecosystems and Aboriginal culture as well as jobs and health benefits.
Take a look at Dr Napthine’s own electorate of Warrnambool, which makes money from whale watching – not whale killing.
Again and again the Liberals and Nationals play politics, but what is their plan to revive rural Victoria?
Are they aware of our track record in species loss? Do they know the Australian east coast is known as the deforestation hot spot, losing 50 mammal species in just two centuries? Our state emblem, the Leadbeater’s possum, is under threat of extinction due to logging, while the King Island thornbill has a 5 per cent chance of survival in the next 20 years. You would be hard pressed to find a Liberal or National MP who cares, much less one with a plan to address it.
There is a better way. Protecting and promoting our natural assets provides far more jobs and economic security.
Tourism already outperforms the national growth rate and nature-based tourism is the fastest-growing component. Dr Napthine talks about hundreds of jobs in forestry. What about the tens of thousands in nature-based tourism?
Independent evidence has shown that creating the Great Forest National Park will be jobs positive. A report by the Nous Group demonstrated that for “an investment of just $45 million, Victoria’s proposed Great Forest National Park would draw almost 380,000 extra visitors a year to the Central Highlands, add $71 million annually to the local economy and generate 750 jobs”. That is full time, ongoing jobs, not the seasonal and impermanent jobs of the logging industry.
Do the Greens want to see the closure of base load coal-fired power stations? Yes we do, so our kids can have a future free from pollution. And, importantly, we want to see a planned closure, where workers are given time and opportunity to re-train and re-skill. The Greens consistently advocated for investment to this effect when seeking the closure of Hazelwood. What eventuated was a quick decision without time for a planned transition for employees. This hurt the community. We want Australians to be meaningfully engaged in their community, whether through employment, volunteering or caring; each are equally important.
The Greens have a plan to transition Victoria to 100 per cent renewable energy by 2030. This is entirely possible and means there will be no more need for polluting coal-fired power stations. Our plan will create thousands of jobs, ensure investment in regional Victoria and bring down prices.
I cannot speculate on coalition arrangements that may eventuate with the ALP.
Dr Napthine, who could not form government without the Nationals, knows more about coalitions than I do. But I know the Greens are the best thing for country Victoria based on science, facts and evidence.