Protecting our great outdoors

Victoria is renowned for its natural environment – and with good reason.

Man walking up an outdoor trail

In this Budget, we are protecting our environment and taking action on climate change for our kids and grandkids.

The world is going through a historic energy transition as we move away from fossil fuels to clean, renewable energy. Victoria is leading the change – to cut carbon emissions, generate cheaper energy and create thousands of jobs.

As a state, we’re also continuing to invest in our environment, making critical investments to protect our great outdoors and manage our precious water supply.

Investing in our environment

From pristine beaches and coastline to forests and national parks, our state is rich in natural beauty – and we’re going to keep it that way.

This Budget invests $85 million to protect us from biosecurity risks, including $73 million to help the fight against red imported fire ants, one of the world’s most invasive pests threatening wildlife and our agriculture and tourism industries.

We’re providing $44 million to the Environment Protection Authority to crack down on illegal dumping and other waste crimes – targeting individuals and businesses who put Victorians and our environment at risk.

And we’re investing $17 million to protect our state and national parks and make sure they can be enjoyed by all Victorians – including funding to support community organisations and volunteer groups.

Since the launch of our Container Deposit Scheme in November, more than 300 million containers have been returned, with more than $30 million in refunds provided. This Budget invests a further $15 million to progress the state’s circular economy targets and support Recycling Victoria to boost recycling and help households cut down waste.

A further $7.5 million is provided to continue the waste levy rebate grant program for charitable recyclers – helping to address the impact of illegal dumping at donation sites and ensuring it’s not a cost that charities have to wear.

Caring for our native forests

Following our move away from native timber logging, we’re making sure more Victorians can experience and enjoy our forests. This Budget provides $116 million to help restore native forests and make them even greater.

This includes $11 million to support the work of the Great Outdoors Taskforce, which will work on developing future uses of our state forests, including the 1.8 million hectares of forest previously used for timber harvesting.

And $105 million will help restore native forests, promote biodiversity, and maintain forest access roads. Because whether it’s camping, fishing or hiking – we want to make sure more Victorians fall in love with our great outdoors.

Since the end of native timber harvesting, we’ve provided over $630 million for workers, businesses and communities as they transition. And in this Budget, we’re delivering an additional $290 million to create jobs for former forestry sector workers in forest and fire management.

Protecting our waterways

From suburban creeks to the mighty Murray, our waterways are home to native wildlife and places for families to enjoy.

With $691 million of dedicated funding, the Victorian Government will continue investing in critical water projects, including:

  • $270 million to protect and restore Victoria’s waterways and catchments, including giving more opportunities for Victorians to enjoy our rivers and wetlands.
  • $140 million to safeguard and improve water access by managing water entitlements, maintaining Victoria’s Water Register and monitoring water data.
  • $96 million to diversify Victoria’s water supplies and make sure schools, businesses and councils can use water efficiently.
  • $60 million to support water corporations, local councils, farmers and primary producers with grants to promote sustainable irrigation – and get the most out of every drop on farms.
  • $38 million to prepare for and manage floods, including strengthening flood warnings and forecasts.
  • $25 million for water grid planning.
  • $12 million to protect our water system against climate change.
  • $9.7 million to improve water infrastructure and restore high-value sites in the southern Murray-Darling Basin.

Planning the energy transition

We brought back the SEC to provide reliable and affordable government-owned renewable energy for Victorians – and create thousands of jobs for Victorians. The first investment from the SEC’s initial $1 billion will help build one of the world’s biggest battery projects and drive down the cost of energy bills.

Offshore wind is also a big part of our renewable energy future. This Budget invests $18 million to plan for offshore wind generation projects, and $17 million to continue planning and designing a renewable energy terminal at the Port of Hastings, where the infrastructure for offshore wind farms can be assembled.

We are also investing $10 million to improve spatial risk mapping and guidance for future renewable energy projects – saving investors time and money – with an additional $7.3 million to make sure environmental assessments are finished on time.

A further $12 million will fund VicGrid to coordinate the planning and development of the state’s transmission infrastructure, as we transition to renewable energy.

Helping families with energy costs

Rising energy bills are a big pressure on family budgets. That’s why the Victorian Government is helping households reduce energy costs by providing:

  • $38 million so more Victorians can install electric heat pumps and solar hot water systems. By switching to a heat pump or solar hot water system, the average household will save up to $400 on their electricity bills each and every year.
  • $6.1 million for eligible households to take up interest-free loans so that they can install solar battery storage systems in their homes.
  • $5.9 million to improve the Victorian Energy Upgrades program to help Victorians switch to energy-efficient products and reduce emissions.
  • $3.4 million to continue to support vulnerable Victorians who are struggling to pay their energy bills to navigate the retail energy market through the Energy Assistance Program.

Funding will also help families to find the best deal on their energy bills by maintaining the Victorian Energy Compare website.