Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Australia to lose environmental protection

The koala was recently listed as a nationally threatened species, but now the federal
government plans to hand its legal powers over to the states, placing the koala and its habitat
at risk. Koala and joey photo: WRD-073 © Dave Watts / Lochman Transparencies

Not content with putting pressure on the state government, big business and the mining industry have broadened their attack to our federal environment laws. Following intense industry lobbying, federal and state governments have recently announced an aggressive plan to wind back critical environmental protection laws that protect our land, water and wildlife.

This plan, if it goes ahead, will remove essential federal protection for threatened species and accelerate mining and coal seam gas development in our forests, woodlands and rural landscapes.

In the guise of ‘cutting green tape’, government and industry propose to hand important federal approval powers to the states, and fast track approvals for large developments.

Handing federal powers to the states will put iconic natural places and threatened wildlife at risk. It will set environment protection in this country back 30 years.

Since the days of the Franklin Dam campaign, the federal government has played an essential role in protecting Australia’s wild places and native wildlife.

From the wild rivers of Tasmania to the tropical rainforests of the Daintree, it has been federal government intervention that has saved our country’s most iconic natural areas from destructive development proposals backed by state governments.

In early June, Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke made headlines with a high profile war of words with the Queensland government, following the state’s decision to approve a massive coal mine proposal that threatens the Great Barrier Reef.

Minister Burke slammed the Queensland government’s environmental assessment process, and has used his powers under federal environmental law to ‘stop the clock’ on the proposed mine.

The Minister’s intervention underscores the critical importance of strong national laws to protect our environment. Right now, Minister Burke has the power to stop environmentally destructive developments like the Alpha coal mine. But his government wants to give that all away.

In New South Wales, developers and mining interests are taking advantage of a review of our environmental assessment laws to attack important environmental protections and undermine community rights to participate in planning and development decisions. They've argued for important public consultation requirements to be removed from state planning legislation.

The Nature Conservation Council of NSW encourages you to donate money to help to build a national campaign to stop the federal government from walking away from its environmental responsibilities, and allow them to lead efforts to defend state planning laws from attacks by industry and developers. www.nccnsw.org.au

Australia deserves stronger environmental laws, not weaker ones.

No comments:

Post a Comment