50 new trams to fix overcrowding

The Greens commit to order an additional 50 trams to fix overcrowding, Victorian Greens leader Greg Barber announced today.

“The Government has neglected Melbourne’s tram rolling stock in the face of worsening overcrowding,” said Greg Barber MLC.

Overcrowding has become worse in recent years:

- Passenger numbers grew by 30% in the ten years to 2011.

- During morning peak hour in the CBD, Melbourne’s tram lines are at 99% capacity on average, with some routes running at nearly 150%.

- The Government predicts an additional 16,000 tram trips will be made each day through 2014-15.

“The Government has taken its eye off the ball when it comes to trams,” said Greg Barber. 

Greens to join the Equal Love rally in support of equal rights and IDAHOT

Victorian Greens spokesperson for LGBTI, Sue Pennicuik MLC, will be joining the Equal Love rally in Melbourne this Saturday on the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHOT).*

Greens deputy leader and federal member for Melbourne, Adam Bandt MP, will be speaking at the rally.

“It is ten years since the Howard government infamously amended the federal Marriage Act 1961 to define marriage as between a man and a woman,” Ms Pennicuik said.

“I’ve been joining thousands of people at these rallies since then to stand against this blatant discrimination and in support of full equal rights for all.

“The Greens have also been fighting for marriage equality with bills in federal and state parliaments," Ms Pennicuik said.

West hit hardest by Coalition GP fees

Western Suburbs Greens MP Colleen Hartland has slammed the Abbott Government’s $7 GP fee as a vicious attack on public healthcare, and is deeply concerned that Melbourne’s west will be most affected.

National Health Performance Authority data shows that the South Western Melbourne Medicare Local area had the highest GP bulk-billed visits in 2012-13 at 91 per cent. This includes Hobsons Bay and Wyndham.

In north-west Melbourne (including Footscray and Sunshine), 89 per cent of patients were bulk billed – the equal third highest rate of bulk-billing in the State*.

“Melbourne’s west will be amongst the worst affected places by the Abbott Government’s new $7 GP fee,” said Colleen Hartland.

Victorian Greens to fix Liberal Party's broken solar promises

Victorian Greens leader Greg Barber said today that his party would use the state budget to fix the Liberal government’s broken promise to fund 1 Million Solar Roofs in the federal budget.
"In last night's federal budget Prime Minister Tony Abbott broke his promise for a $100 million per year One Million Roofs Solar Program," said Greg Barber MLC
"Premier Denis Napthine has no plan for solar and will fail to reach his party's state target of 5% solar in Victoria by 2020.
"The Liberal Party is taking Australia back to the coal age, but the Greens have a plan to bring us into the solar century. 

Governments out of touch with community on Westlink

Allocation of billions to the East-West link and Westlink tollways epitomises how both Federal and State governments are out of touch with the community said Greens MP for the Western Suburbs Colleen Hartland.
"When the Westlink proposal last reared its ugly head in 2010, I held eleven community meetings and thousands of community members joined my campaign."
"Every survey and poll shows Victorians want money spent on public transport over roads."

Woodchip exit from East Gippsland means beginning of end to native forest logging

Victorian Greens leader Greg Barber says the exit of Japanese woodchip buyer SEFE from East Gippsland is the beginning of the end for native forest logging.
"Japanese woodchip companies have more environmental consciousness than the Liberal party. Plantation wood is greener, makes better paper and there's millions of tonnes of it available," said Greg Barber MLC 
"Labor first brought woodchipping to East Gippsland's forests under the Kirner government in 1991. Now it's over."

Federal Cuts to renewable energy will harm regional Victoria

Victorian Greens leader Greg Barber said today that federal budget cuts to renewable energy will harm regional Victoria’s economy and promised to create a Victorian Solar Bank to protect investment.

Greg Barber said, ‘We have world-class wind, solar, biomass, ocean, geothermal and hydro resources, but they won’t develop themselves.

‘Prime Minister Abbott’s cuts to renewable energy R&D will harm Victoria’s economy, particular regional Victoria.

‘Renewable energy is good for regional Victoria, because country areas are where you build large scale solar, wind farms and tidal power projects.

‘The Greens have pre-empted these attacks on Victoria’s renewable energy assets and will fill the gap, with the Victorian Solar Bank.

State budget – another big let-down for education

The state budget is another big let-down for everyone who cares about education, Victorian Greens Education spokesperson, Sue Pennicuik has said today.

“Victoria has been the lowest spending of any state government on education for many years. This Coalition government has taken millions of dollars out of in-school programs, such as EMA and VCAL and closed regional offices that provided much needed support for schools. This budget does nothing to repair that damage or lift our education spending above the national average,” Ms Pennicuik said.

Greens move to support right to farm defeated by Liberal Nationals Coalition

A Greens amendment to support the Victorian Farmers Federation and the Right to Farm was voted down by the Liberal Nationals Coalition government in Victorian Parliament yesterday. 
Victorian Greens leader Greg Barber made two attempts to have legislation that would remove the commercial farming advice on land sale contracts examined and redrafted to support the Right to Farm and the Victorian Farmers Federation. He read out the Liberal Nationals Coalition's Right to Farm pre-election promise from the last state election in support of the move, but the Liberal Nationals Coalition MPs voted as a block to defeat the Greens. 

Greens call on Government to amend new dog breeding code

Victorian Greens Animal Welfare spokesperson, Sue Pennicuik, has called on the government to stick to its promise to crack down on puppy farms and amend the newly revised code of practice for breeding and rearing establishments to limit the number of litters that a female dog can have in a registered breeding establishment to five.

“This provision was included in the final draft code of practice in December last year, but was removed by the government at the last minute," Ms Pennicuik said. “Thousands of people who participated in good faith and made submissions on the revision of the code are now left feeling furious and betrayed by the process, the minister and the government.