Vic Budget is a missed opportunity for public transport

Victorian Greens leader Greg Barber says today's state Budget is a missed opportunity that will fail to fix Melbourne's public transport overcrowding.

"This is a missed opportunity for Victoria," said Greg Barber MLC

"Our trains are already overcrowded and Victoria’s population is growing by 2,100 people every week.  

“There have been three Budgets in a row with almost no real increase in public transport capacity.  There are 30 million extra trips expected on public transport in the Melbourne metro area next year but scant increase in services.   

Vic Budget is a missed opportunity for regional public transport

Victorian Greens leader Greg Barber says today's state budget is a missed opportunity that failed to improve regional public transport.

"This is a missed opportunity for Victoria," said Greg Barber MLC

"V/Line trains are already overcrowded and Victoria’s population is growing by 2,100 people every week. Where is the plan for our future?

“V/Line passengers are forecast to grow by 7% in the coming year, but there will be less than 1% increase in services. This means even more overcrowding on V/Line.

Greens will fight Labor's rate cap push

Victorian Greens leader Greg Barber says the Greens will fight Labor's local council rate cap push.

"Councils deliver critical services such as childcare, maternal and child health, meals on wheels, libraries and infrastructure maintenance. These could all go into rapid decline if Labor's rate cap comes into place," said Greg Barber MLC 

Greens launch Maternity Care Matters Report

The Greens have launched the Maternity Care Matters Report today.  The report shows there has been little improvement since the Auditor General found serious shortcomings in provision of maternity services in Victoria in 2011.  
 
Colleen Hartland, Greens MP for the Western Suburbs and spokesperson on health, said we must invest in a purpose built Women's hospital where it is needed most - in Melbourne's West.
 
"There has been a 70% increase in births in the western suburbs over the past decade, that’s an increase of 5,448 births per year," said Greens MP for the Western Suburbs, Colleen Hartland.

Fair go for Firefighters exposed to toxic chemicals and smoke

Victorian Greens spokesperson on emergency services Colleen Hartland has today called on the Premier to support The Greens Fair Protection for Firefighters Laws, or introduce their own as firefighters are exposed to toxic chemicals and smoke yet again.

"Firefighters go into fire zones while everyone else gets as far away as they can," said Colleen Hartland.

"We're very pleased to see all citizens safe today. However, the health of  firefighters battling today's fire  is far from safe."

"The Wells Road fire is a large and serious toxic fire. Though it's important to remember that every house and structure fire that firefighters face also contain toxic chemicals and smoke."

Latest data shows Solar booming in Victoria this year

Solar is still growing fast in Victoria despite cutbacks to government support, the Greens say. The latest data just released* shows solar installations are booming in the first two months of 2014.
 
Victorian Greens leader Greg Barber said: "Despite the federal and state government cutting back support for solar in December 2012, solar boomed in 2013 and has showed no sign of slowing in the first part of this year."
 
"Another 2,352 homes and businesses went solar in January and 2,476 in February. That's about 9 or 10 megawatts being added every month. People who install solar cut their own power bills, but they help keep everyone's bill lower by taking pressure off the power grid." 

Greens will help Victorians bank on solar

Australian Greens leader Christine Milne joined Victorian Greens leader Greg Barber on the campaign trail today, announcing an initiative to help Victoria achieve its 5% solar energy target.

The Victorian Solar Bank would work much like the federal Clean Energy Finance Corporation, providing funds to invest in solar and clean technology around the state. 

Greens pitch to rising solar voter base

Victorian Greens leader Greg Barber today said that if the one in ten Victorian households with solar panels changed their vote on the basis of support for solar energy, this could affect the outcome of the Victorian election.
 
Mr Barber announced election initiatives to pitch to the solar vote in his speech to open the Solar Energy Industries Association conference in Ballarat and released data on the growing number of solar households in each Victorian electorate.
 
"There are over 207,000 households in Victoria with solar PV and the Greens are the only party that stands behind them," said Greg Barber MLC
 
"Regional and suburban electorates are leading the way, installing solar panels to cut the cost of electricity today, which cuts pollution in the long run. 

Hoarded growth areas taxes should be spent on bus services

Victorian Greens leader Greg Barber has pledged to spend taxes collected from growth area development on better bus services for outer suburbs.
 
"Money collected by the state government from growth areas development taxes is being hoarded rather than spent. There's a desperate need for buses that take people to the train station, because the car parks are full," said Greg Barber 

Government loses opportunity on jury directions bill

Victorian Greens Justice spokesperson, Sue Pennicuik, expressed surprise at the defeat of the Jury Directions Amendment Bill 2013 in the Legislative Assembly last night. The bill was voted down by the Opposition and Geoff Shaw because the government forced it to a vote when there had been no debate on the proposed laws.