Yesterday’s approval of Rio Tinto’s South of Embley bauxite mine in Cape York is a taste of more environmentally disastrous decisions to come from the Queensland Government, under the federal government’s plan to shed federal environmental responsibility to the States.
“Sadly, we can’t have any confidence in Minister Burke saying he won’t sell out the Reef, because that’s precisely what the Gillard government is doing with its agenda to offload federal environmental protections – backed to the hilt by the Abbott opposition,” said Greens spokesperson for the Environment and former environmental lawyer, Senator Larissa Waters.
“Shipping from new and existing ports is set to treble through the Great Barrier Reef, so now is the worst time for Minister Burke to leave approval decisions to the States.
“The result of the COAG decision to delegate approval powers to the States on key matters of national environmental significance will see Premier Newman in charge of most key environmental decisions.
“This is truly frightening from the man who has already wound back state climate programs, dissembled the Environment Department, signalled he will overturn wild rivers laws, has described World Heritage listing as a “problem” for the Queensland coast, and has now approved a bauxite mine expansion in a pristine part of Cape York.
“Only the Greens stand for strong protection for our precious places and species, and will fight to ensure the federal government does its job to protect the environment for everyone.”