The future of environmental policy will be shaped by whichever Party wins the next election. The alliance of environment organisations led by the Australian Conservation Foundation, Conservation Council SA, and the Wilderness Society has set out to make sure that environmental issues get the attention they deserve in the lead up and during the state election.
The alliance of environmental organisations will be distributing the scorecard across key electorates, so that voters are informed about where the parties stand, and factor conservation and climate change issues into their decision about who to vote for on March 17.
The South Australia: Our Future scorecard is the result of a detailed survey that focused on 36 key issues; an Environment Leaders Forum held on 22 February that put Jay Weatherill, Nick Xenophon, Steven Marshall and Mark Parnell on the stand to answer questions related to scorecard commitments and letters outlining and verifying each party’s commitments signed off by the party leaders.
The alliance pulled together a comprehensive analysis of how the four main parties: the ALP, Liberal Party, SA Best and the Greens compare on a range of environmental, climate and energy issues. The issues range from climate change and clean energy, to protecting our oceans and waterways like the Murray River, to ensuring that South Australia rules out an international radioactive waste dump and moves away from fossil fuel exploration and development.
Quotes on the performance of the parties on key issues:
The Great Australian Bight - “Despite huge community opposition and an unprecedented 6 South Australian councils passing resolutions raising serious concern with the risks associated with proposed deep sea oil drilling in the Great Australian Bight, only the Greens and SA-BEST have committed to oppose it to date.,” Peter Owen, Director, The Wilderness Society South Australia.
Clean Energy - “The Weatherill government continued its strong performance on clean energy policy with a series of announcements including an increased renewable energy target to 75% and $100 million no interest loan scheme for household batteries. By contrast Liberal Leader Steven Marshall pledged to scrap South Australia’s renewable energy target and supports Turnbull’s deeply flawed National Energy Guarantee proposal,” Gavan McFadzean - Program Manager, Climate & Energy at the Australian Conservation Foundation.
Gasfields in the South-east - “Gasfield development has no social licence in the premium wine growing areas of the Coonawarra and the community is up in arms about the potential risk to their groundwater. The commitment to a moratorium on fracking by the Greens, SA Best and the Liberals is very welcome, and it’s disappointing that Labor would not join them in also making this commitment,” Cat Beaton, Community Organiser, Conservation SA
A Healthy Murray - Bethany Koch, Community Organizer ACF said : “At first glance all four parties seem to be singing off the same song sheet on protecting the Murray for farmers and the environment. But when it comes to actually standing up to Canberra and upstream states, the Greens, Labor and SA Best actually put their money where their mouth is, whereas the silence from the SA Liberals is deafening.”
Nature Protection - “Enhancing and protecting native vegetation is an investment in our State’s future, yet has been woefully under-resourced. The Greens and SA Best are leading the way in committing additional resources to nature conservation. SA Best and The Greens have also joined with the Liberals in promising more resourcing for volunteers and community groups delivering environmental projects,” Craig Wilkins, Chief Executive, Conservation SA
Marine Parks - “South Australia’s Marine Parks have huge public support, and with good reason. Our spectacular and unique marine waters are truly world class. Our globally significant network of marine sanctuaries are critical for a healthy marine environment and a credit to Labor and the Greens, but the Liberal’s threat to review marine park protections if elected is alarming,” Kathryn Warhurst, Campaigner, Conservation SA