There is no doubt that Victoria’s climate is changing. We are experiencing rising temperatures as well as more extreme weather events. Climate change is a game-changer for how people will live and work in the landscapes of the future. Victoria’s native plants and animals are also facing this challenge and need our help now more than ever before.
This is why we are developing a new direction for the management of our native plants and animals in Victoria.
In April this year, I launched our new long-term plan to protect Victoria’s biodiversity. Protecting Victoria’s Environment – Biodiversity 2037 will help stop the decline of Victoria’s plants and animals, and improve our natural environment so it is healthy, valued and cared for by all Victorians.
This new plan recognises that although the future is uncertain, particularly for the most vulnerable species, we can maximise our achievements in the longer term by tackling issues before species become critically endangered. It will also help drive action from local businesses, government and people to help stop the decline of our biodiversity through investment, improved decision making and planning, and through volunteer action.
The Victorian 2017/18 Budget has provided $86.3 million for priorities identified to protect Victoria’s biodiversity. This includes $65.5 million for targeted on-ground actions, recognising that we need to make strong investment in supporting partnerships for action across the environment sector to protect and improve local biodiversity.
Another important piece of work is Victoria’s Climate Change Adaptation Plan 2017–2020. This plan outlines what the Victorian Government will do for the next four years to help communities meet the challenges and act on the opportunities that come with our changing climate.
We have set a target to reduce Victoria’s greenhouse gas emissions by 15-20 per cent below 2005 levels by 2020. We are also leading the way by reducing reported emissions from the government’s own operations by 30 per cent below 2015 levels by 2020. This will start us on the path to our long term target of net zero emissions by 2050.
The Victorian Government has committed $25.4 million over four years to take decisive action and restore our position as a leader on climate change.
This issue is packed with interesting stories from researchers and community members on the science of climate change and ideas for response and adaptation.
Richard Eckard, Director of the Primary Industries Climate Challenge Centre, looks at wine grapes and the growth patterns of pastures to show concrete evidence of changes in our climate. Richard explains the role of land managers in developing risk management plans for climate change and that each industry and region will need to consider different emerging risks.
You can also read about a recent study by Dairy Australia that modelled climate change scenarios on a dairy farm in Gippsland. The study showed that the management techniques and skills of our farmers in adapting from one season to the next will be vital in securing the future of our food and fibre industries.
Now is the time to act on climate change. Acting on climate change presents opportunities for local governments, business and communities to adapt, respond to and make Victoria a more healthy, prosperous, clean and vibrant place to work and live.
Finally, I urge you to all think about the many dedicated and inspiring people you know who are involved in important works through local Landcare groups and consider nominating them for a 2017 Victorian Landcare Award. Nominations are now open and Victorian nominations close on 23 June 2017. Recognising and celebrating our achievements can provide great encouragement to the wider community and raise the profile of the important work of our Landcarers across Victoria.
Hon. Lily D’Ambrosio MP
Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change
Minister for Suburban Development