Big business outcry over the Senate saving federal environment protection from Tony Abbott’s one-stop shop shows complete disregard for our most important natural assets, many of which underpin sustainable industries, say the Australian Greens.
“Big business wants to scrap federal environment protections that have been in place for more than 30 years through Tony Abbott’s one-stop shop but thanks to the Greens’ leadership, the Senate won’t let that happen,” Senator Larissa Waters, Australian Greens environment spokesperson, said.
“Far from the bogus claims that the one-stop shop would reduce delays by one or two years; the reality is federal and state approval processes are generally concurrent so the federal approval adds no time and, where it occurs after a state approval has already been issued, it adds a mere 20 to 40 business days to the approval timeframe.
“That big business thinks a maximum of eight weeks is too long for the federal government to judge whether projects that are likely to have a significant impact on matters of national environmental significance should be approved shows how little regard for the environment they have.
“These federal protections only protect our most important environmental assets, like our World Heritage Areas and endangered species. If we didn’t have these federal powers in the past, there would be oil rigs on the Great Barrier Reef and the Franklin River would be dammed.
“The ‘streamlining’ mantra is a guise for big business’ blatant desire to give environmentally reckless state premiers the final say over damaging developments.
“State governments aren’t responsible for upholding international environmental treaties in the same way the federal government is and state government approvals are too often influenced by royalties, donations and lobbying efforts.
“What’s more handing over federal approval powers to the states would have created a patchwork of different approval processes across the country and would have meant inconsistency for business.
“Our nation’s most precious places and wildlife deserve national protection and we’re so proud that through the Greens’ efforts the Senate will ensure that this remains, despite Tony Abbott and the business community’s attempts to unwind environment protection by more than 30 years,” Senator Waters said.