The Greens have today introduced legislation to establish a Federal Environment Watchdog to enforce Australia’s environment laws.
Greens Environment Spokesperson Senator Sarah Hanson-Young said:
“Australia’s environment laws are failing to protect our wildlife and natural places. Our environment laws not only need strengthening they need to be enforced.
“Time and time again we’ve seen governments fail in their duty to protect the environment. It’s clear for all to see that the the Morrison Government can’t be trusted to do the right thing to protect our environment and wildlife.
“The Greens bill introduced today for the establishment of a Federal Environment Watchdog would deliver a much-needed independent cop on the beat to deliver accountability, compliance and enforcement of our laws.
“A Commonwealth Environment Protection Authority is long overdue. It defies logic that 20 years after the establishment of the Environment Protection Biodiversity and Conservation Act there is still no independent enforcement of those laws.
“The once-in-ten-year review of our environment laws by Professor Graeme Samuel was clear that our natural environment and iconic places are in an overall state of decline and are under increasing threat. Professor Samuel said the current environmental trajectory is unsustainable and one of the ways he recommended the failings be addressed was with a strong, independent cop on the beat.
“The recommendation came after a scathing Auditor-General report which found the Environment Department was failing to properly administer the EPBC Act including an absence of effective monitoring, reporting and evaluation arrangements for controlled actions.
“Yet all the Morrison Government has delivered in the last year is a reincarnation of Tony Abbott’s environmentally destructive reforms from 2014, completely ignoring Professor Samuel’s review.
“The Morrison Government wants to make it even easier for mining companies and big developers to get approval for projects that will destroy the environment and harm our native animals.
“Without independence from the Minister and the political party they belong to, which is beholden to their political donors in the mining, development and logging industries our laws will never be upheld in the way they should.
“Failure to enforce the laws is a death sentence for Australia’s koalas and wildlife.
“I urge the parliament to support the Greens bill and back the future of our environment and wildlife.”
Information on the bill can be found here.