The Australian Greens are alarmed by reports today that the Abbott Government is cutting another 200 jobs from the federal Environment Department and gutting the department’s responsibility to assess damaging developments.
“Tony Abbott is gutting the Commonwealth’s ability to assess damaging developments so that his big mining buddies can get away with whatever they want,” Senator Larissa Waters, Australian Greens environment spokesperson, said.
“The federal environmental assessment division has a vital role in protecting our most important environmental assets, like our World Heritage Areas and endangered species, from damaging developments.
“Tony Abbott is tearing up this essential federal responsibility, ignoring our international agreements, and leaving it all up to his conservative state cronies, who are also gutting their environment departments.
“Gutting staff from the division now, six months before the scheduled hand-off of approval powers to states, puts the lie to the federal government’s claims that it will ensure that state governments must comply with federal standards before they take over federal approvals.
“Without federal staff to guarantee the states’ poor environmental laws are improved to meet federal standards, there is now no doubt that environmental protection will be slashed in this hasty rush for Tony Abbott to wash his hands of environmental responsibilities.
“The Abbott Government’s anti-environment agenda is clear, from his outrageous comments against our national parks last night to his cuts to the environment department to his plan to do away with federal environment protection.
“Tony Abbott’s disregard for public servants’ jobs and their families is also blatant, with thousands of people losing their jobs to his cuts and many more left wondering about their job security,” Senator Waters said.