Tony Abbott’s planned one-stop-shop for development approvals, announced today to begin in Tasmania, is code for fast-tracking damaging mega projects across the country, say the Australian Greens.
“Tony Abbott plans to remove the vital layer of federal approval that protects our most important environmental assets, which was first put in place to save the iconic Franklin River from being dammed by the state government in the 1980s,” Senator Larissa Waters, Australian Greens environment spokesperson, said.
“Now with a scourge of mining proposals threatening Tasmania’s globally renowned old-growth forests, Mr Abbott wants to make it as easy as possible to rush these through for tick off.
“Mr Abbott’s fast-track agenda is clear – he’ll put the big mining companies ahead of the environment every time, from Tassie’s forests to our Great Barrier Reef.
“With Labor again deferring the decision on whether to allow millions of tonnes of dredge spoil to be dumped in the Great Barrier Reef for the Abbot Point coal port expansion, it could now be up to an Abbott Government.
“It’s simply unacceptable to allow the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area to be treated as a dumping ground for dredge spoil and Labor should have knocked the damaging proposal back straight away.
“Greens leader Christine Milne will be announcing our plan to save the Great Barrier Reef in Airlie Beach tomorrow and will be flying over Abbot Point to see first-hand what we have to lose if the old parties continue to roll over to the big mining companies.
“Neither of the old parties have ever refused a coal or gas mining proposal yet but the Greens will continue to do everything in our power to stop the approval of the Abbot Point coal port expansion and save the Great Barrier Reef from becoming a dredging dump ground and shipping super highway for the big mining companies.
"The Greens will vote against any attempt by Tony Abbott to weaken environment protection. Sadly, Labor has done nothing to strengthen environmental law to keep federal protections in place, despite the Greens' repeated attempts in Parliament to Abbott-proof our national environment law.
"The Greens are the only party Australians can trust on the environment and we will stand up to the ruthless anti-environment agenda of Tony Abbott," Senator Waters said.