On Tuesday 18 November EIANZ hosted a panel review of the major political parties stances on environmental and sustainability issues. The event was held at RMITs 5 star green rated Academic Building on Swanston Street. The panellists included Peter Nadebaum (GHD), Zena Helman (Helman Consultants), Stephen Jenkins (EnviroRisk), Graham Currie (Monash Uni), James Tonson (VAEE), and the MC was Martin Brennan (ICLEI). The focus was on the local and regional challenges faced by communities and MC Martin Brennan outlined the major parties, Liberal, Labor and Greens, policy positions being taken to the upcoming Victorian State Election. The parties policies were taken from their respective websites and the panellists views towards the parties were similar.
It was generally agreed that the Liberal party policies were lacking and what was there had little substance for discussion. The Labor party had more policy towards renewable jobs with a strong public transport focus, but most of the environmental policies required further costing and the panellists had little faith in the party delivering on all policies. The Greens party were applauded for their vision and values, but it was felt that some policies may not be entirely realistic (such as elimination of all waste to land fill by 2020) and some seemed contradictory with others.
Overall the panel wanted the parties to use an evidence based approach when developing policies and rely on the peer reviewed work of scientists to stop politicising environmental issues. The majority of questions from the audience focused on the East West Link and transport and where money could be better spent, although other questions did fall back to why there is politicisation of the environmental issues and why attitudes towards science are being degraded by that. The Forum was extremely interesting and well attended by professionals in the industry including Landserv staff. More EIANZ events are scheduled in the new year.