Almost eighteen months ago, this media release was issued to announce the appointment of Dr Kate Auty to the position of Commissioner for Environmental Sustainability. Now the Baillieu Government has been sworn in, it is time to ask what is going to happen to this office. I have gone over to the Liberal Party website to see what I could find – and, particularly, looking for the key words sustainability and environment. That turned out to be an ‘interesting’ exercise – considering we are just concluding the last decade of the 21st century.
I can find a heading for Secure Water and a Healthy Environment. I already had a copy of The Victorian Liberal Nationals Coalition Plan for Water. I have been over the Plan for Water with a fine tooth comb. Now sometimes I am blind as the proverbial bat – but I can’t see reference to the Commissioner for Environmental Sustainability. There is to be the establishment of a Living Victoria program…but all the references to that are about water and the Minister for Water (Nationals Deputy Leader and former Victorian Farmers Federation President) Peter Walsh will oversee the program.
There is a section on the website titled Recent Policy Announcements. and it contains a section called Agriculture & Environment. The headlines of the announcements are all rural, regional and agriculturally referenced. Doesn’t look like a whole of Victoria policy at all.
So where are we. I can understand – well, sort of – if the Liberal and the Nationals judged that the electorate might have been/be more concerned about other issues like cost of living; public transport; health; schools, etc. Now the election is over and everyone is safely esconced in their democratic oversight positions, it would be nice to see heads turned to letting us know what they really plan to do on issues of environmental sustainability.
All the above election issues are important. However, we are – first and foremost – human beings living in an endogenous context which is not faring too darn well. Those election issues exist within that context too. If we are not managing our living space well and sustainably we are not going to manage those election grabbers very well either.
So, in the hope that someone who knows something about Liberal National Coalition Policies reads this, could you please post some enlightening comment below so we have an idea – if only a rough one – about how where we all live at the Victorian end of things is going to be managed.
From the Minister for Environment and Climate Change
Friday, 19 June, 2009
NEW COMMISSIONER FOR ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY
Environment and Climate Change Minister Gavin Jennings said Dr Auty begins in the role today replacing Dr Ian McPhail who recently completed his five year term as Commissioner.
“With the appointment of Dr Auty to this important position, the Brumby Labor Government is taking action to ensure that the high quality environmental reporting of the Government’s activities continues for the benefit of all Victorians,” Mr Jennings said.
“The Commissioner for Environmental Sustainability has a significant role to play in environmental reporting and public education, so I am very pleased that we have someone with Dr Auty’s experience to take on the role.
“I look forward to working with Dr Auty in her new role to achieve the best results for Victoria’s environment. We’ve got a great platform for the Commissioner to build from but there is more to do.
“I’d also like to thank Dr McPhail for his dedication over the past five years as the inaugural Victorian Commissioner for Environmental Sustainability.”
Before accepting the role, Dr Auty distinguished herself as Chairperson of the Ministerial Reference Council on Climate Change Adaptation and as a member of the Premier of Victoria’s Reference Committee on Climate Change.
Dr Auty brings extensive legal and academic background including post-graduate qualifications in environmental science.
Dr Auty signed the Victorian Bar Roll in 1992, and was appointed a Victorian Magistrate in 1999. She established the first Victorian Koori Court and acted as inaugural Koori Court Magistrate.
From 2004–2009 Dr Auty was a Magistrate in Western Australia. She has undertaken a number of consultancies including a project on local government and climate change for the National Environmental Law Association.