The Greens have slammed the two-week Senate Inquiry into major environment law reforms labelling it a ‘sham’ and are calling on the crossbench to refuse to pass the bill this year.
The Greens are also urging the Environment Minister to immediately release the final report into the 10-year-review of Australia’s environment laws, which was handed to her by Professor Graeme Samuel on October 31.
Greens Environment Spokesperson Senator Sarah Hanson-Young said:
“The Greens moved multiple times weeks ago for an inquiry into the government’s bill to hand decision making power for environmental approvals to the states and the government refused.
“Last week they established a two-week inquiry which is nothing more than a sham.
“Submissions for the inquiry close today meaning submitters have had only one week to prepare a written submission on a bill that has enormous consequences for our environment.
“If anyone considers the Senate’s job of examining this bill to be done in this way they’re a fool. The crossbench should rule out their support for passing the bill this year.
“The Samuel Review, a once-in-ten-year statutory examination of our environment laws, hasn’t even been made public yet.
“The Government should release the Report today. What are they hiding?
“The Environment Minister needs to start from scratch, developing a full reform agenda informed by the Samuel Review that actually protects the environment not the interests of big mining companies and developers.
“We’ve seen what happens when states make decisions about projects impacting the environment and cultural heritage from Juukan Gorge and the Djab Wurrung Trees to Port Stephens koalas and Narrabri gas fields.
“There’s too much at stake for powers to be devolved to the states without strong national standards and an independent watchdog to enforce them.”