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Turnbull Government defending Abbott plan to stop community from enforcing environment law

Media Release
Larissa Waters 21 Oct 2015

The Attorney-General last night in Senate Estimates confirmed the Turnbull Government was still pushing Abbott's plan to remove community rights to protect the environment.

Senator Larissa Waters, Australian Greens Deputy Leader and environment spokesperson, said:

"Trying to silence communities, farmers and everyone who cares about the environment is an atrocious idea and, if the Turnbull Government brings this on in the Senate, it will be defeated.

"It's heartbreaking that Malcolm Turnbull is continuing Tony Abbott's attempt to silence ordinary Australians who want our environment protected.

"Our environmental laws are there to protect our iconic Australian places and animals, and all Australians have a legitimate right and interest to see those laws complied with.

"What's the point of having environmental laws if government can ignore them, or allow huge coal companies to ignore them, and only allow people to complain about that if they live next door?

"The Government's rhetoric that people are only allowed to uphold environmental laws when their private interests are affected shows that they don't understand that there is a public interest in a healthy environment," Senator Waters said.

Greens Senator for Tasmania and legal affairs spokesperson, Nick McKim said climate change was a global problem with implications for all Australians.

"Citizens, no matter if they live in Cairns, Hobart, Sydney or Perth, will be affected by climate change," Senator McKim said.

"They are entitled to have a say about the massive coal mines that are helping to drive climate change, threatening groundwater and driving threatened species to extinction."

"Only a tiny fraction of developments have been blocked through legal action under the EPBC Act, yet the Government wants to water down the small protections we have."

"Our judicial system does not exist to serve the sold-out coal interests of this government. It exists to uphold the law," Senator McKim said.

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