Julia Gillard and Tony Burke fiddle while strong national environment policy begins to burn
As the Queensland Government starts to dismantle state environmental legislation in favour of an easy life for mining companies and their private profits, Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Environment Minister Tony Burke continue plans to devolve their own national and international environmental responsibilities to the states.
“It is hard to imagine a more disastrous and destructive environmental scenario,” said Michael Kennedy, Campaign Director for Humane Society International. “The current new batch of anti-environment laws by the Queensland Government absolutely fly in the face of good environmental management, and should be scaring the hell out of PM Gillard and Tony Burke, but instead, they just sit there and rub their hands together knowing, just like the Queensland government, that they are pleasing big industry.”
“Handing Commonwealth environmental powers back to the states and territories in the current circumstances, where all conservative state governments are winding back hard won environmental protections, highlighted by Queensland’s bowing and scraping to multinational mining companies, should send shivers down the backs of anyone who wants to ensure our life supporting ecosystems are being effectively protected. HSI’s 40,000 members are voicing their outrage to the PM,” said Mr Kennedy.
Mr Kennedy continued, “Prime Minister Gillard and Minister Burke must reverse their decision to castrate the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act, 1999, and stop this sham of a process agreed by COAG (without any public consultation) where they are developing the flimsiest possible safeguards and standards to guide state government environmental assessment behaviour – putting the fox in charge of the chicken coop has never been a more appropriate analogy.”
The PM should also start to be proactive environmentally and move to protect the wild rivers in Cape York, now, in unprecedented action, being unprotected by the Queensland government - by instigating emergency National Heritage Listings for those rivers threatened by new massive mine developments.