The Abbott Government last night passed a bill through the Lower House to hand federal environmental approval powers to the states, ignoring the World Heritage Committee’s concern about this environmentally disastrous plan.
“UNESCO is currently meeting to decide whether to downgrade the Great Barrier Reef’s World Heritage status to ‘In Danger’ and has expressed concern about the Abbott Government’s hasty handover of federal approval powers to the states,” Senator Larissa Waters, Australian Greens environment spokesperson, said.
“But Tony Abbott is ignoring this international expert concern and forging ahead with his plan to give state premiers the final say over destructive projects threatening our World Heritage Areas and threatened species.
“Leaving the fate of the Great Barrier Reef in the hands of Campbell ‘we’re in the coal business’ Newman would put this already struggling World Heritage Area in grave danger.
“Federal environmental approval powers have been in place for more than 30 years and saved the Reef from being scarred with oil rigs in the Bjelke-Petersen era.
“With Tony Abbott’s bill to put the states or even local governments in charge, environmental standards would drop and the fox would be in charge of the hen house
“The Greens will do everything we can in the Senate to see this retrograde step to unwind federal environment protection blocked,” Senator Waters said.