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VIC upper house passes Green New Deal

The Victorian upper house has passed a motion calling on the state government to support a Green New Deal for Victoria – a plan which see it borrow funds at low interest rates to invest in job-creating projects that deal with climate change and social issues.

The Greens motion calls on the state government to use its upcoming budget to invest in 23 new or expanded recycling facilities by 2025, as well as a big build of publicly-owned renewable energy and storage projects, with a transition plan for coal workers.

Victorian Greens Acting Leader Ellen Sandell explained that Infrastructure Victoria has calculated that by 2025, the state will have significant shortfalls in plastics, food waste and paper and cardboard processing.

“Unless our government swiftly invests in a local recycling system, we’re going to see more than 800,000 tonnes of recycling and organics left with nowhere to go but landfill,” she said.

“We want to see 23 new or expanded factories by 2025 address this shortfall, create hundreds of much-needed jobs and protect our precious environment.”

The Green New Deal also calls for a ban on polystyrene and other single-use plastics and a requirement that all councils use recycled materials first in infrastructure projects.

In addition to environmental projects, the Green New Deal calls for a big build of public housing, bike lanes and other active transport projects, and the employment of more educators, healthcare and social support workers.

According to Sandell, it is clear Victorians want to see a renewables-led recovery from the COVID-19 recession that focuses on supporting those hardest hit by the pandemic and building projects that deal with transforming the state’s energy system.

“Victorians don’t just want Victoria to go back to the situation we had before COVID-19, where we had rising homelessness, polluting coal energy, environmental destruction and workers in caring professions with terrible pay and conditions,” she said.

“Victorians instead want our government to build a better future for Victoria, and the government has a once-in-a-generation opportunity with this Budget to fix some of the problems society faced before COVID-19 hit.”

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