Victoria grapples with drought

[Green Left Weekly, #690, November 11, 2006]

Like a large part of the continent, Victoria is in the grip of an unprecedented drought. Across the state, dams are rapidly emptying and river flows are at record lows, cities and towns face drastic restrictions and farmers confront an uncertain future. The water crisis gives the question of global warming and catastrophic climate change a new immediacy and is a major issue in the November 25 state election.

Make public transport free — for everybody

[Green Left Weekly, #689, November 3, 2006]

Public transport issues continue to feature prominently in the November 25 state election as both major parties trawl for votes. First, Victorian Liberal leader Ted Ballieu pledged to make public transport free for all primary, secondary and full-time tertiary students in the state (at an estimated cost of $285 million). A few days later he promised to abolish metropolitan transport Zone 3, a move which would give significant savings to commuters travelling in to the city from the outer suburbs. And only hours after that, Labor Premier Steve Bracks promised to do the same and, furthermore, to reduce V/Line (country) fares by up to 20%.