The Turnbull government is wrecking its fledgling environmental credentials by continuing to support changes to Australia’s environmental legislation, Greenpeace Australia Pacific said today.
“Greenpeace is deeply disappointed over reports that a senate inquiry has recommended changes to Australia’s key environmental legislation, which will seriously undermine community efforts to protect our natural heritage,” said Ms Dominique Rowe, Head of Campaigns for Greenpeace Australia Pacific.
“Australians love their natural environment and recognise it needs to be shielded from corporate greed and exploitation. We need the safeguard of legislative protection so the government doesn’t ram through projects that could be environmentally devastating,” she said.
In August, Attorney-General George Brandis announced an amendment to the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act (EPBC Act) to remove the right of third party individuals or groups to challenge environmental approvals for large projects, such as new coal mines.
“Since the EPBC came into force in 2000, we have seen repeated attempts from the business sector to scrap or undermine it by describing it as bureaucratic ‘green tape’.
“It has been atrocious to see the government jump on this bandwagon, with Mr Brandis painting EPBC enforcement as green ‘lawfare’. His efforts to change the Act are surreal, given his role is to protect the public interest uphold the rule of law, not dismantle it.
“The unhealthy influence of vested interests and lobby groups on government policy is precisely why we need to continue our efforts to represent the concerns of ordinary Australians in court,” said Ms Rowe.