Victorian election roundup: Andrews pushes solar while Guy backs coal

The Andrews government has announced a rooftop solar rebate for renters and pledged to extend its renewable energy target in an effort to push its environmental credentials ahead of the 24 November state election.

The proposed $82m solar rebate will allow 50,000 renters to share the cost of installing solar panels or solar hot water on their rental home with the state government, which would pay 50%, and their landlord, who would pay 25%. The cost borne by renters would be spread out over four years and paid incrementally through monthly rent.

It builds on the rebate for 720,000 owner-occupied homes announced in August and mirrors schemes for renters already in operation in some local government areas.

Victoria’s renewable energy target is currently set at 40% of the state’s electricity output by 2025. The proposed extension is 50% by 2030.

The announcements were welcomed by the lobby group Environment Victoria, which warned that the future of Victoria as a national leader in renewable energy was “on a knife edge” and depended on the election result.

The Greens have proposed a 100% renewable energy target while the Coalition, which plans to announce its energy policy next week, said it favoured a “national approach”.

The federal government does not have an emissions reduction plan.

The opposition leader, Matthew Guy, has also put his support behind the construction of a new lower-emissions coal-fired power plant in the Latrobe Valley.

Chinese deal belted

The opposition has promised to release the memorandum of understanding between the Victorian and Chinese governments over the Belt and Road Initiative, if it wins the election.

The Andrews government signed up to president Xi Jinping’s signature global infrastructure and economic development initiative last month. The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said it did not see the final text of the agreement and was not aware it had been signed until it was announced.

The initiative is not supported at a federal level by either Labor or the Coalition.

The federal opposition leader, Bill Shorten, told the Australian the MoU should be made available “over time”.

No Liberal in Richmond

The Liberal party has announced that it will not stand a candidate in the inner-city seat of Richmond, held by the Labor planning minister, Richard Wynne, on a margin of 1.86% against the Greens.

Richmond is one of four inner-city seats – including Melbourne, Brunswick, and Green-held Northcote – that is likely to come down to a battle between the Greens and Labor.

The Liberals have announced candidates for the other three but Guy told reporters on Thursday his party would not be “a preference machine for Daniel Andrews or the extreme Greens”.

He gave as a reason his allegation that Wynne was involved in the “red shirts” affair, which is currently being investigated by Victoria police without the cooperation of Labor MPs.

The Liberal party employed a similar strategy in the federal byelection for Batman, now called Cooper, which was won by Labor MP Ged Kearney.

Kindergartens v prison beds

Labor has continued to focus on education, promising to build a kindergarten on the grounds of or adjacent to every new primary school constructed in the state.

It has pledged to build 100 new schools in the next eight years, an investment worth $850m.

Meanwhile, the Coalition has promised to double the size of the proposed 700-bed maximum security prison at Lara by adding 300 medium security beds and a 300-bed remand facility.

The prison population has increased in Victoria and is likely to increase again if the Coalition, which announced three new offences to be subject to mandatory sentences this week, is elected.

“Under the Liberal Nationals mandatory minimum jail sentences, 15 years’ jail will mean 15 years’ jail,” Guy said. “There won’t be any discounts for so-called good behaviour.”

The perils of going bush

A tale of two tweets, or, the danger of party leaders visiting rural electorates.



Автор: Calla Wahlquist
Дата: 2018-11-09 03:42

Источник: Victorian election roundup: Andrews pushes solar while Guy backs coal