The Australian Greens have announced a suite of new costed initiatives to protect the environment no matter who wins government.
"I don't think anyone is surprised the old parties are ignoring the environment this election," Australian Greens Leader Senator Christine Milne said.
"Tony Abbott and Kevin Rudd think it's an afterthought portfolio, making token announcements while slashing major environmental programs.
"The Greens will plug the gaping void left by the environmental vandalism of the two old parties.
"It is true that there is no economy without environment.
"Environmental protection is not a side issue for Australians; it is one of the crucial issues we face in this century of global warming.
"Voters can trust the Greens to stand up for the environment not only because do we actually care about protecting places that are too precious to lose, we think globally.
"That's why keeping a strong Greens voice in the Senate is the best way to safeguard the environment against a destructive Abbott government determined to hand back environmental powers to the states."
Summary of new environment measures (full policy document attached)
The Greens are proposing a $346 million plan, over the forward estimates, to make our environment protection laws work, including:
• Keep strong Commonwealth environmental powers and not devolving them to the states;
• Provide $130 million to establish an independent statutory Sustainability Commission to advise on projects requiring federal approval, conduct inquiries, produce national environmental accounts and sustainability reports;
• Invest $30 million in a scheme to ensure the quality and independence of information provided by environmental consultants;
• Inject an additional $123 million to:
• Expand the oversight of the federal government to all aspects of the national environment (including climate, water, national parks and forests) which are likely to be significantly impacted upon by proposals,
• Improve monitoring, compliance and enforcement of development approval conditions;
• Improve the quality of decision making by including cumulative impacts, applying the precautionary principle and limiting discretion; and
• Improve community rights before and after federal development decisions are made;
• Fund and implement the recommendations of a review into the funding and management of World Heritage and Ramsar Wetlands, at a cost of $63 million.