The states and territories have buddied up with Tony Abbott at COAG today (13.12.13)to gut national environment protection.
“States and territories have all made dodgy deals with Tony Abbott today to slash federal environment protection,” Senator Larissa Waters, Australian Greens environment spokesperson, said.
“These deals pave the way for Tony Abbott to abolish a 30-year-old federal safeguard for our most precious natural places and wildlife, established when Bob Hawke stepped in to save the Franklin from being dammed.
“Labor governments in South Australia, Tasmania and the ACT are trashing Bob Hawke’s legacy and contradicting federal Labor’s position.
“Labor joined the Greens in the Senate this week to call on all states to abandon Tony Abbott’s environmentally destructive plan. Labor is hopelessly conflicted on protecting our environment.
“Tony Abbott wants to put states and territories in charge of approving environmentally destructive projects that impact our World Heritage Areas and nationally endangered species.
“If states had this power in the past, the Franklin River would be dammed, cattle would be grazing in the Alpine National Park and there would be oil rigs on the Great Barrier Reef.
“Two of Australia’s worst environmental offenders, Campbell Newman and Barry O’Farrell, signed up ahead of the COAG meeting.
“We can’t trust state governments with our nationally and internationally significant environmental icons and standards of environmental protection will drop under their watch.
“It’s the federal Environment Minister’s job to protect our most important environmental assets, not to leave it up to the states so big business only has one level of government to lobby their way through.
“Not only does Tony Abbott’s plan do away with decades of national environment protection now and into the future, it means much more work for state environment departments, many of which have suffered severe job losses.
“Handing over federal powers also opens up state governments to court action that previously federal governments would be responsible for, especially as international environment treaties are involved in these major approval decisions.
“As agreed by the federal Senate this week, all states and territories should abandon Tony Abbott’s environmentally destructive agenda,” Senator Waters said.