Protecting our Environment

The Greens vision for South Australia includes an environment that is clean, healthy and resilient.

Protecting our environment includes:

100% renewable energy by 2025

Our planet is in a climate emergency and it is up to us in the next 10 years to limit global warming to below two degrees above pre-industrial levels. Global warming puts our health, our economy and our precious places at risk. With the electricity and gas industries emitting large amounts of greenhouse gases, de-carbonising this sector is a top priority. 

South Australia’s abundant wind and solar resources, mean we are ideally suited to lead the nation and the world to a 100% renewable energy future.  With investment in new generation and in battery, solar thermal and pumped hydro storage, South Australia can be powered by 100% renewable energy and can help power the rest of the nation too.

Waterproofing SA and restoring the health of the River Murray

As the driest state, in the driest inhabited continent on Earth, South Australia has the chance to lead on water innovation, security and resilience. Right now, the River Murray, our traditional water source for Adelaide, is in a critical state with illegal extraction of water by big corporate irrigators upstream. The Greens are fighting to make sure the River, Lower Lakes and Coorong are getting what they need.

Meanwhile, millions of litres of stormwater that falls from our skies are diverted out to sea where silt and nutrient load damages the marine environment. This water should be diverted, captured, filtered, purified and stored for later reuse. Adelaide’s extensive network of underground aquifers is perfect for this task.

By reducing our reliance on the River and capturing, treating and reusing urban stormwater, we can waterproof SA.

Valuing our wildlife and biodiversity

Most of South Australia’s natural environments are in a highly degraded state and declining. Human activities have resulted in significant impacts on our biodiversity, including species extinctions, infestations of exotic weeds and feral animals, and widespread ecosystem collapse.

Successive governments have failed to understand the essential link between a healthy environment and the health of society and the economy.  The Greens will increase funding to State environment programs, improve the integrity of environmental laws by limiting exemptions, and require environmental impact assessments for all development proposals that have the potential to damage the environment. We will also ensure protection of remaining habitat and connection between natural areas through wildlife corridors and invest in national parks and reserves.

Protecting our food and productive farmland

South Australia has some of the best food and wine in the world. Agriculture and food production contribute billions of dollars to our state economy. However, currently under South Australian law, most landholders have no right to refuse mining companies access to their land.

The Greens will prioritise farming over mining on prime agricultural land, reform land access and also protect valuable productive farmland from urban sprawl. We will progressively reduce Adelaide’s reliance on River Murray water through initiatives such as metropolitan-wide stormwater harvesting, to provide more water for the environment and for food-producing irrigators in South Australia. We will also support development of local community gardens and farmers markets, to increase access to fresh healthy produce and people’s connection with food.

Opposing destructive and polluting industries

The Greens will prohibit destructive and dangerous mining projects such as drilling for oil in the Great Australian Bight, fracking for gas in the South East or any form of underground coal gasification.

Marine sanctuaries

The existing Marine Parks and Sanctuary Zones are essential in protecting marine biodiversity and increasing fish stocks, including in surrounding areas.  The Greens supported their establishment in SA and we are committed to their continued existence.

No nuclear waste dumps

Nuclear waste stays dangerous for thousands of years. The idea of bringing the world’s high-level nuclear waste to South Australia was a risky and ill-conceived proposal that was opposed by the Greens and rightly rejected by most South Australians.

The Greens also support local communities opposed to storing Australia’s existing nuclear waste in their communities. Lucas Heights’ “intermediate” level nuclear waste can stay on site near the reactor. Medical nuclear waste should be thoroughly audited to determine whether a central repository is even needed for low-level waste or whether other solutions are preferable.

Saving our significant trees, and enhancing urban open spaces

For over 20 years, the law has recognised the special place that stately old trees play in our environment, especially in the cities and suburbs where most of the original vegetation is gone. Whether it’s a centuries-old native River Redgum or a stately oak or elm, these trees need to be protected, whilst there are still some left. The community overwhelmingly agrees. The Greens have led the fight in SA Parliament to ensure that significant trees have the protections they deserve.

The Greens also want to retain what little is left of the open spaces in our cities and towns, and encourage community gardens, parks and shared open space. These help to maintain quality of life in higher density environments.

Public Transport and Cycling

Bigger roads are not the answer to traffic congestion. The Greens have a different vision. We need good safe roads, but we also need a well-funded and well-functioning public transport system that gets people where they want to go quickly, reliably, safely and cheaply. 

Cycling has been badly neglected. Economically, it is much cheaper to provide quality facilities for cycling than it is to build bigger roads, freeways, tunnels and overpasses. More people using bikes leads to reduced traffic congestion as well. The Greens aim to make cycling more appealing by creating a safer environment for cyclists of all ages and abilities.

A Sustainable Population

South Australia, even with its relatively small population, has a disproportionately large ecological footprint.  Both the number of people and the per-person consumption are increasing, intensifying our unsustainable impact. Improvements in technology may help reduce our impact, but we also need to stabilise our population and deal with overconsumption and waste.

Beyond Waste

The Greens SA envisage a future without waste. Currently our society does not appropriately value resources, and market mechanisms encourage a throwaway culture. The Greens believe that we should adopt a zero waste goal to conserve natural resources for future generations, avoid the build-up of toxic and noxious substances, conserve water, and achieve deep cuts in greenhouse house emissions and other pollution.