Tony Abbott promises to remove environmental safeguards

Press release - 19 April, 2012

Sydney 20th April 2012 - The Opposition leader, Tony Abbott’s pitch to major polluters reached new heights today. Addressing a conference in Brisbane, Mr Abbott said he would out-source the protection of the environment and impacted communities to the States and Territories eager to fast track massive new industrial developments. This would effectively remove environmental safeguards and destroy the cornerstone of community protection from the impacts of such projects

“It is Orwellian for Mr Abbott to talk about a body of law created to protect local communities and the environment as “green tape”,” said Greenpeace Head of Program, Ben Pearson. “His policy proposal is presented as enabling home owners to put a granny flat in their backyard, in reality it is about enabling the extractive industries to do what they like, where they like, whenever they like and that may well mean enabling the biggest coal port in the world to be built in the middle of the Great Barrier Reef at Abbot Point.”
“While the big polluters and the Opposition join forces to destroy safeguards that have been built over the last forty years, it is important to remember what environmental safeguards have delivered for Australia,” said Pearson.
“We have the beauty of the Franklin River, the majesty of the Great Barrier Reef and the timeless grace of Uluru because “green tape” prevented industry from trashing these sites. We are able to stop toxic factories being built next to playgrounds, mines destroying our national parks and rivers being transformed into industrial sewers because we have laws that put our wellbeing before the profits of transnational companies.”
“No one should be surprised to see the extractive industries, the big miners and mining moguls pal up to Mr Abbott, their sole concern is with profits. But it is disappointing to see Federal Labor also using the disingenuous term of “green tape,” said Pearson.
“Far from weakening or eradicating environmental safeguards we should be strengthening the ones we have. For instance it is crazy to have an EPBC Act that doesn’t have a greenhouse trigger,” said Pearson. “Any review of this Act must remedy that omission.”
“The fossil fuel lobby may mewl and whine over the onerous nature of these safeguards, but they haven’t prevented gas companies putting gas wells across family farms – whether they were wanted or not,” concluded Pearson.
For further comment contact:
Greenpeace media officer; Julie Macken 0400 925 217
Greenpeace Head of Program; Ben Pearson 0424 575 111