The Australian Greens call on Labor to commit to establishing an independent environmental watchdog, rather than just saying they will explore options for one, and to commit to reversing funding cuts to environmental regulators.
Qld Senator Larissa Waters, Australian Greens spokesperson for the environment, said:
"We're glad Labor is moving towards adopting the Greens' long-held positions, but we are calling on Labor to commit to establishing an independent environmental watchdog rather than just saying they will 'explore options'.
"We need independent expert environment and sustainability advice, free from the influence of politicians and the big business lobby.
"We Greens are committed to creating a new independent statutory National Environment Protection Authority, modelled on the successful US EPA, with funding of $130 million per year, including $75 million per year in new funding.
"The Greens' NEPA would enforce the rules, fact-check and independently review all environmental impact assessments and produce comprehensive national environmental accounts.
"Labor's announcement falls short of committing to a new Environment Act that actually protects our natural heritage, rather than tinkering around the edges of John Howard's laws, which have failed our environment, farmland and water.
"We are also concerned that Labor's commitment contains no new funding for environmental regulators, despite the fact that the Department of Environment is on track to lose one quarter of its staff due to Labor and Liberal funding cuts.
"The Greens have always stood firm against the one-stop-shop plan to hand federal environmental approval powers to the states, which was originally proposed by Labor in the Gillard Government," Senator Waters said.
The Greens' plan to protect the environment is here: http://greens.org.au/places