The Morrison government’s bill handing federal environmental powers to the states and territories is the biggest legislative sell-out of Australia’s environment since federation, Bob Brown Foundation said today.
“This is Scott Morrison handing Australia’s wildlife and wild country and seas to the wolves. The worst exploiters wanted it: Morrison is not just cutting green tape, he is handing them an elephant gun of ecological elimination,” Bob Brown said.
“Had this biocidal bill been in place in earlier years, the Franklin would be dammed, Fraser Island logged, whale flensing would be still ‘creating jobs’ in Western Australia and there would be oil rigs on the Great Barrier Reef. A feature is what is missing after repudiation of Graeme Samuel’s key recommendation for an environmental ‘cop’ or policing agency to enforce national standards. Instead we will get state oversight like that of the Tasmanian Forest Practices Authority which effectively logs and incinerates wildlife-filled old growth forests.”
“Sussan Ley is the minister for disempowering herself. If she and the prime minister really wanted a ‘one stop shop’ for environmental approvals they should have taken powers from the eight states and territories and vested them in Canberra. This scattering of environmental power leaves the corporate exploiters to more easily bulldoze weaker state governments.”
“Australians are proud of our wildlife and environmental heritage. This sell-out by Morrison will be very unpopular. It should be blocked by the Senate. The Greens are strongly opposed. We call on Labor and other parties and independents to oppose the bill.”
“To see how ‘ecological sustainability’ looks when the commonwealth hands it to the states, Mr Morrison should visit a flattened and burnt forest, once full of rare and endangered species, in Victoria, New South Wales, Western Australia or Tasmania. This comes from the forests’ environmental management being handed back to the states in 2002. Now the miners, gas frackers, industrial fish farmers and exploiters of national parks for profiteering high-end tourism are being gifted the same licence for ecocide,” Brown said.
“This will rile Australians. It is a recipe for much greater protests, from coast to coast, than we have seen in Australia for decades,” BBF campaign manager Jenny Weber predicted.
“The states and territories are being handed a green dragon while Sussan Ley washes her hands of environmental care,” she said.