The standards for environmental approvals released by the ALP Government today will do nothing to prevent the state and territory governments from destroying the environment and endangered species for mining profits, the Australian Greens said.
“Far from lifting up the states, it's smashing down environmental protection,” Australian Greens Leader, Senator Christine Milne, said.
“Given the experience of Regional Forestry Agreements around the country, this process of bilateral agreements drafted by the Business Council of Australia is destined for failure and environmental destruction on a scale never experienced before.
“Julia Gillard is abandoning Bob Hawke’s legacy of the Commonwealth taking control when the states can't be trusted, and is instead modelling herself on John Howard,” Senator Milne said.
“In 1999, Julia Gillard MP raised the red flag about handing over environment powers to ‘states with track records of environmental vandalism’, and that record hasn’t improved since then,” Australian Greens environment spokesperson, Senator Larissa Waters, said.
“There’s no guarantee that pro-mining Premiers like Campbell Newman and Barry O’Farrell will comply with these weak standards, as we’ve seen with the debacle over the assessment standards for the Alpha coal mine in Queensland.
“The states can’t be trusted with our environment. It is the federal government’s job to look after the most important and precious of Australia’s environment assets, which are of international significance, like the World Heritage Great Barrier Reef.
“No standard will be able to replace the protection that is meant to be provided by the federal Government for our precious places and wildlife – the Government must stop obeying the dictate of industry and trashing their own environment legacy before we lose even more of our environment.”