Victoria’s Liberal Party adopts net-zero emissions target for the first time
“It is designed to save the seat of the MP for Brighton after he almost lost it in the last election. Liberal support for coal – and opposition to renewables – is well known to Victorians,” Ms D’Ambrosio said in a written statement.
Mr Newbury is also likely to face resistance from some MPs in his own party who do not see the climate as a natural problem for the Tories. In the 2018 elections, the state coalition proposed a new power plant, powered by the cheapest alternative to coal, gas or renewables. Peak body Environment Victoria lambasted the policies in 2017, arguing the Coalition had “stocked up on Trump”.
On Monday, Mr Newbury slammed the Andrews government, saying it had spent years continuing its transition to renewables without enough focus on securing private sector finance or creating investment security. for companies.
The Liberal Party, which sees itself as the party of business, would work more closely with the private sector and agree to targets because governments would have to set thresholds to measure their performance, just like a business would, he said. .
“Companies will say they’re investing in NSW because we think there’s more certainty – that’s a very regular comment,” he said.
Professor Bruce Mountain, director of the Victorian Energy Policy Centre, said creating a degree of bipartisanship on energy policy in Victoria had been a slow process. He said all-party support for phasing out fossil fuels was well established in states such as New South Wales, South Australia and Tasmania.
“I haven’t seen a clear position from the Liberal Party on decarbonization, and it looks like they have one now,” he said, adding that it would be beneficial to put intermediate goals in the legislation.
“Good to see that they intend to support net zero.”
The Liberals will also have to manage the concerns of community groups in western Victoria who, along with a number of Victorian Liberal MPs, do not support a transmission line linking Ararat renewable energy projects to Melbourne. A protest against the power lines will take place at the state legislature on Tuesday.
Mr Newbury criticized the government for its handling of the transmission line problem and called the government “environmental cheats” for its tax on electric vehicle drivers.
The Coalition is changing its environmental stance as Liberals across Australia grapple with the threat of well-funded independent candidates running on a climate change platform. The Liberal Party now faces the threat of losing support for independents campaigning on climate and integrity in politics. Simultaneously, Clive Palmer’s United Australia Party is pulling the Coalition the other way by appealing to suburban and regional voters unhappy with years of tough pandemic measures.
State governments including Victoria and NSW have made renewables a central part of their reform agendas. Victorian Liberal MPs also took note of the recent by-election in Gladys Berejiklian’s former Willoughby seat, where her successor suffered a 13.5 per cent primary vote gap and nearly lost to a independent. Mr Newbury nearly lost Brighton’s blue ribbon seat in the 2018 election.
Mr Newbury also holds the party’s equality portfolio, where he had the difficult task of securing internal party support to end proposed amendments to the government’s ban on gay conversion therapy. He faced a strong backlash from some MPs, including far-right Upper House MP Bernie Finn.
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