Late last year the Business Council of Australia almost forced the Gillard government to hand over most Federal Environment powers to the states. This would have been an unimaginable disaster for Australia. After a combined campaign form Australia’s enviro groups Gillard back stepped in early December. Even the normally apolitical Sir David Attenborough made a public statement against this plan, which was a powerful shot from our side. Ms Gillard told the states that unless the states can agree to operate under the same framework, it won’t happen. The plan could resurface though as it was deferred until the next meeting of the Council of Australian Governments in April 2013.
Australian National University Centre for Climate Law and Policy associate director Andrew Macintosh said the government did not have a clear idea what these bilateral agreements would look like and it is no surprise it has fallen over.
Here’s why the Feds MUST NOT hand all environmental powers to the states…
In August 2012, Hancock Plantations were legally forced to pay $305,000 to repair damage done to critically endangered grassland in south western Victoria – under the Federal EPBC Act.
That was for destroying 0.7ha of a protected rare Temperate Grassland of the Victorian Volcanic Plain.
In comparison – what does VicForests get for wantonly destroying 8ha of protected rainforest in East Gippsland? DSE tells it to be good for 12 months and drops the case against VicForests.