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Victorian emissions target decision likely delayed by coronavirus crisis

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Instead, Ms D’Ambrosio said Victoria had legislated emission reduction targets “which we’ll have more to say on in due course”.

Environment Victoria chief executive Jono La Nauze said Premier Daniel Andrews was focused on the coronavirus and a short delay would be understandable in the circumstances.

But anything longer than a few weeks would add to uncertainty for businesses and workers, he said.

“Managing climate change and the risks it poses to Victoria is a massive challenge that is not going away and longer delays will only harm our people and our economy,” Mr La Nauze said.

“The sooner Mr Andrews provides a clear timeline, the sooner business can invest in building the zero carbon economy Victoria needs.”

In deciding a target, the government is required to consider the advice of an independent panel chaired by Labor heavyweight and former federal minister for climate change Greg Combet.

The Combet panel found Victoria should reduce its emissions by 32 to 29 per cent in the next five years, and 45 to 60 per cent over the next decade.

Despite the coronavirus pandemic, the state government last week made another significant emissions-related announcement, overturning the long-held moratorium on conventional onshore gas exploration.

It also moved to enshrine in the constitution a ban on “unconventional” gas extraction practices, including hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking”, and coal seam gas exploration.

The decision will allow exploration and drilling for gas to commence from the middle of next year.

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