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Enviro Minister signals plans to use EPBC Act Review to water down laws in favour of big miners and developers

The Environment Minister is in denial about the extinction crisis and plans to use the review of Australia’s environment laws to water them down in favour of big miners and developers, the Greens say.

“The current laws are not working to protect our animals or the environment. This Review should be a once-in-a-generation opportunity to fix them,” Greens Spokesperson for the Environment Senator Sarah Hanson-Young said.

“However the signals from the Minister thus far indicate the government is more interested in making life easier for miners, developers and big business than saving our environment.

“It’s extremely concerning the Environment Minister doesn’t seem to understand the purpose of the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity and Conservation (EPBC) Act, or indeed her job.

“Like her predecessors, the Environment Minister has again failed to recognise her role is to protect our environment, not clear the path for coal, oil and gas.

“We’re in the middle of a climate and extinction crisis, the focus of this review should be on fixing the significant failures in our environment laws that are causing and exacerbating these crisis. The Terms of Reference don’t even mention climate despite the urgent need for our environment laws to look at the climate impacts of a project.”  

Senator Hanson-Young said the inclusion of Dr Erica Smyth AC on the panel was deeply concerning given her ties to the oil and gas industry and the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANTSO).

“We know the Minerals Council wants the ban on nuclear energy removed as a result of this review so it’s hard to be anything but cynical about the government’s appointment of an ANSTO executive,” Senator Hanson-Young said.

“Minister Ley has been at pains today to send a signal to the Minerals Council that she has their back. She’s denied there’s even an extinction crisis and talked up making life easier for industry by streamlining approvals. Her denial is going to cost all of us dearly.

“The Greens will keep fighting for stronger environment laws and will keep pushing for a ‘climate trigger’ and for the maintenance of the ban on nuclear energy.

“A review of the EPBC Act won’t come around again for another decade after this; we simply do not have that much time to act to protect species and our special places, it’s now or never.”

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