The same day that the federal Environment Minister, Tony Burke, acted to boost environment laws to give himself the power to stop the supertrawler, the ALP Government and the Coalition also voted to continue their plan to give away responsibility to protect Australian icons like the Great Barrier Reef.
Under planned reforms to the national environment laws, most of the federal Environment Minister’s powers to protect the environment will be given to the states, many of which have a track record of environmental devastation.
“The case of the supertrawler has seriously undermined public confidence that our environment laws are strong enough to protect our seas, our precious places and wildlife,” Australian Greens environment spokesperson, Senator Larissa Waters, said.
“And yet the Government and Coalition are determined to continue their plan to weaken these laws even further, and give away most of Tony Burke’s responsibilities to protect the environment to the states.
“The Great Barrier Reef is a prime example of what will happen should the Government continue with this plan – once given responsibility for the Great Barrier Reef through the strategic assessment, Campbell Newman and his government have made it abundantly clear that they won’t allow the survival of the Great Barrier Reef to stand in the way of profits from fossil fuel exports.
“The Great Barrier Reef, and other precious places around the country, are so environmentally important that they matter to all Australians – this is why the federal Environment Minister was given the job of protecting them in the first place.
“We can’t trust the states to care for our environment, and now it seems we can’t trust the Labor Government to do their job, and protect the Great Barrier Reef for all Australians.”
Senator Waters’ motion is attached.
Media contact: Elissa McKay 0419 626 725
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