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6 December 2012 - Federal Government must drop plans to transfer environmental powers      

Federal Government must drop plans to transfer environmental powers

6 December 2012 

Australian environment groups say the Federal Government must completely drop plans to hand federal approval powers for developments to state governments if they have reconsidered those plans, as indicated in media reports today.

WWF-Australia CEO Dermot O’Gorman said, “We look forward to clear and unqualified confirmation that federal environmental powers will not be handed over to states.”

Birdlife Australia CEO James O’Connor said, “Such a result would be good not only for the wildlife and the places Australians love, it would also avoid needless uncertainty for business”.

The Wilderness Society National Director Lyndon Schneiders said, “If these reforms are abandoned the business community has dodged a bullet because they would have created more uncertainty for investors and developers because projects were certain to be subject to more protests and legal battles.”

Humane Society International Director Michael Kennedy said, “It is clear that opposition from lawyers, scientists and the public to the proposed changes is starting to be heard by government.”

Australian Conservation Foundation Director of Strategic Ideas Charles Berger said, “We will be closely examining the details of tomorrow’s COAG communique and urge all governments to focus on how we can best restore our environment to good health.”

NSW Nature Conservation Council CEO Pepe Clarke said, “History tells us that without Federal Government intervention, state governments would have allowed the Great Barrier Reef to be dotted with oil rigs, cattle to trample the alpine national parks, and the Franklin River to be dammed. The states simply cannot be trusted to safeguard the interests of the environment and the community in the face of unrelenting pressure from industry lobbyists.”

The alliance is now calling on the Federal Government to remove the provision which allows the handover of federal powers, or approval bilaterals, in the EPBC Act to ensure that matters of national environment significance are only ever approved by the Commonwealth.

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