Victorian Coalition finally signs on to cut greenhouse by 50 per cent

by Callum Godde

The Victorian Coalition is promising to legislate an emissions reduction target of 50 per cent by 2030, if it wins the November state election.

Opposition Leader Matthew Guy on Sunday unveiled the policy, which matches Victorian Labor’s target and is higher than the 43 per cent goal set by the federal government.

The Victorian government has already committed to slashing emissions 50 per cent by the end of the decade, but is yet to legislate the interim target.

Under the Coalition’s plan to reach the 2030 target, it has pledged to establish a $1 billion hydrogen strategy, upgrade transmission infrastructure in western Victoria to unlock renewable energy and set up a “Fixing Victoria’s Grid” taskforce.

It will also legislate a local gas guarantee for new supply, a policy first announced in 2017, within the first six months of taking office.

Mr Guy described it is a sensible plan for building the state’s future energy system and said it showed the Coalition’s commitment to climate change action.

‘Climate change is a priority’

“By writing into law an emission reduction of 50 per cent by 2030, we will send the strongest possible signal that action on climate change is a priority,” he said.

It comes the day after the coalition announced it would offer rebates of up to $1400 for solar panels and $3000 for a home batteries, expanding on Victorian Labor’s signature Solar Homes program.

Premier Daniel Andrews would not be drawn on whether his government also planned to legislate the 2030 target.

“Apparently people who were opposed to renewable energy and didn’t believe in climate change a few weeks ago, suddenly (do). Nothing like a convert,” he told reporters.

In March, Mr Guy flagged the coalition would pursue Labor’s 2030 and 2050 emissions targets after in 2018 vowing to scrap them in favour of a national approach if they regained government.

But the Andrews government was comfortably returned for a second term, with Mr Guy stepping down as leader and the opposition’s policy left in limbo.

-AAP