Federal Environment Minister Sussan Ley has serious questions to answer about the influence mining giant Rio Tinto has had on the Morrison Government’s proposed environmental law reforms, the Greens say.
Through FOI documents and responses to questions on notice through a Senate Inquiry, it has been revealed Rio Tinto wrote to the Morrison Government before the 10-year Samuel Review into Australia’s environment laws commenced last year, asking for states to have approval powers for major projects and the Minister has held a number of subsequent meetings with the company in relation to changes to the EPBC Act. Drafting of new laws had also commenced before the interim report of the Samuel Review had been released.
Greens Spokesperson for the Environment Senator Sarah Hanson-Young said:
“The Environment Minister should come out and tell us if she is simply under orders to do the bidding of Rio Tinto and other mining giants by smoothing their path for environmental approvals of their environment-wrecking projects.
“It seems the Minister not only failed to intervene before Rio Tinto devastatingly blew up Juukan Gorge, she continues to help them pursue even more destruction of our environment and heritage sites.
“The Morrison Government needs to stop its pursuit of its rehashed Tony Abbott bill that hands power for approvals of projects of national environmental significance to the states. The mask has slipped and everyone can see the Liberal Party is just helping its fossil fuel donors get exactly what they want and at any cost to our environment.
“Sussan Ley will be remembered as the Environment Minister who put koalas on their final path to extinction, allowed sacred Indigenous sites to be destroyed and trashed our precious natural world instead of protecting it.
“The Samuel Review should be completed before any legislative change is even proposed and strong standards with an independent cop on the beat to enforce them must established to help protect our environment not trash it even further.”