Senate inaction threatens places Australians love

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Tuesday 24 June 2014

 The places Australians love face increased threats after the Environment and Communications Senate Committee recommended yesterday that environment approval powers be devolved to state governments.

The Places You Love alliance submitted that amendments to the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 should not be passed.

“This policy represents a total lack of leadership on environmental regulation,” said Asren Pugh, acting director of the Places You Love alliance.

“State governments are not capable of meeting national standards. Responsibility for assessing environmental impacts of large-scale developments should rest with the Commonwealth.

“It is time for a full review of Australia’s approach to environmental protection.

“Good environmental protection laws would deliver benefits across the board- for communities, for industry, for the places we love.  The Australian community expects the Federal Government to safeguard our environment for present and future generations.

“This Government is more concerned with the interests of mining and developers than it is about the impacts on the health and quality of life of our communities.

“Cash-strapped states and territories that are heavily reliant on royalties from mining and energy developments do not have the legislative or regulatory frameworks required to effectively protect ‘matters of national environmental significance’.

“Last week the United Nations found it would be ‘premature’ for the Federal Government to hand environment powers to the Queensland Government, given a Great Barrier Reef “World Heritage in Danger” listing is pending.

“Where project approvals can be bought and traded at the state level, we will not only see substandard environmental outcomes, we will see substandard economic outcomes and increased uncertainty for industry and the community,” Mr Pugh said.

Environment and Communications Senate Committee – Full Report: here

Media contact: Jessica Kendall – 0414 679 857

SCEC is a member of the Places You Love Alliance