Reports today that koala experts and conservation advisors have been axed from Queensland's environment department by the Newman Government are an outrage and show he cannot be trusted with federal environmental responsibilities, say the Australian Greens.
"Slashing 30 more jobs from Queensland's environment department after last year's cuts of 220 jobs means 250 fewer people to protect Queensland's environment, which is exactly what Premier Newman wants - open slather for the big miners," said Senator Larissa Waters, Australian Greens environment spokesperson.
"Tony Abbott's plan to give this environmental vandal sole control over Queensland's internationally significant environmental icons, like the Great Barrier Reef and our World Heritage forests, just as more jobs are being cut is sheer madness.
"Secretly cutting environment department jobs the very week after the state signed an agreement to take over federal environmental responsibilities shows this hand-off of federal powers will devastate Queensland's natural assets.
"Tony Abbott wants to pretend federal standards will be maintained, but the track record of state governments indicates otherwise.
"Premier Newman has gutted state protection for forests, national parks, wild rivers, the climate, coastal areas, koalas, community rights, native plants - he is the last person that should be given sole responsibility for Queensland's precious places and species.
"With these additional job cuts, Premier Newman has again proven he is an environmental vandal who cannot be trusted with Queensland's precious and diverse environment.
"Cuts in koala experts are reckless and clear evidence that the Newman Government cannot be solely responsible for protecting this national icon.
"We need experts in our Environment Department who are passionate about the future of the koala and dedicated to planning for its protection if we want this wonderful Australian icon to continue to live with us here in Queensland.
"Incredibly these cuts follow almost 14,000 Queensland public servants losing their jobs under the Newman Government. The impacts of these cuts are very real for the families of public servants, as well as for all Queenslanders who rely on the critical services they provide in our community," Senator Waters said.