Protecting Wilderness and National Parks

The Biggest Threat to the Environment in 30 years - COAG’s PLAN TO CUT DOWN ENV'TL LAWS

“Finally there’s a national environmental consensus, but it’s not a good one! The Council of Australian Governments has decided to cut state and federal environmental laws at the request of mining and development interests,” Keith Muir director of the Colong Foundation for Wilderness revealed.

“The Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, should distance herself as fast as she can from COAGs’ Taskforce on environmental deregulation. To adequately protect the environment, the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act, 1979 should be strengthened, not weakened. For a start, Ms Gillard should consider legislative improvements to make the protection of national parks a national matter”, Mr Muir said.

“Instead of the traditional “no backward steps” consensus on the environment, State and Federal Governments have, through some inverted process, decided that our Federal environmental defender is expendable. If these COAG deregulation initiatives are implemented, future Federal Environment ministers won’t be able to intervene when cattle grazing threaten national parks, or if a proposed dam would inundate a wilderness,” Mr Muir said.

“The best way for nationally significant heritage areas, like South West Tasmania, to be protected is through a Federal Environment Minister who retains a full legal tool kit to stop the damage”, said Mr Muir.

“The Federal Government must be out of its mind to delegate its environmental responsibilities to the states at a time when many states like Queensland and New South Wales are also weakening their environmental laws”, he said. 

“Sure, resource and property development interests want the community to have less influence over decisions when development threatens nationally significant parts of the environment, but the Federal Government needs to reject these demands,” Mr Muir said.

“Mining and development interest have got very close to unravelling environmental laws around the nation, but its absolute lunacy. We need strong and effective environment laws that push back against those big corporations who would to turn Australia into a giant quarry regardless of the damage they cause”, said Mr Muir.

For more information contact: Keith Muir, (02) 9261 2400 (wk); or 0412 791 404 (mob)