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Old parties collude to launch assault on environment

The Labor and Coalition parties are locked in a race to the bottom to shed responsibility for protecting Australia’s environment and clear the way for big business in their greed for short-term mining profits, the Australian Greens said today.

“George Orwell would be impressed by Tony Abbott claiming to be a conservationist while launching an assault on our country’s environmental protection laws, but people really don’t like two-faced politicians who say one thing while doing another,” Australian Greens Leader, Senator Christine Milne, said.

“When you ask Australians what kind of country they want to live in, they’ll talk to you about being proud of our natural icons like the Great Barrier Reef, as well as our community and our lifestyle. They won’t tell you they want to live in a country where anything standing in the way of corporate profits gets pushed aside.”

Tony Abbott’s announcement that the Coalition will attempt to one-up Labor in selling out the environment at a ‘one-stop shop’ for big business comes after the State of the Environment report, released late in 2011, revealed that Australia is losing the battle to save its iconic places and endangered wildlife.

“This isn’t about reducing red tape, it’s about making sure nothing stands in the way of the mining industry and the billions of dollars in profit that will mostly flow off-shore or line the pockets of Clive Palmer and Gina Rinehart,” Australian Greens environment spokesperson Senator Larissa Waters said.

“While mining profits have soared, more and more of Australia’s precious wildlife such as koalas, possums and Tasmanian devils are being pushed closer to extinction every day – we’re facing a biodiversity crisis, yet it’s big business that’s getting the red carpet treatment.

“Tony Abbott’s claims that removing protections will boost productivity are ridiculous and betray an utter lack of understanding of Australia’s economy, as a Productivity Commission report released only yesterday clearly identifies the mining industry as the main culprit for Australia’s productivity slump.

“Both Labor and the Coalition are planning to lock out communities from having a say about the future of their local areas – the Greens are the only party left who are willing to stand up for communities and the environment against short-term fossil fuel greed.”

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