The Greens today announced a plan for a new independent environment watchdog, the National Environment Protection Authority, and a new generation of environment laws.
In Tasmania, Greens Leader Senator Richard Di Natale, said:
“Global warming is already devastating our environment. I’ve seen for myself the destruction caused by bushfires in Tasmania and the devastating bleaching of 100-year-old corals in our Great Barrier Reef.
“Wildlife habitat is being cleared and good fertile land is being ruined to dig up more coal and frack for more gas, adding fuel to the fire in this warming world.
“We’ve gotten into this unsustainable mess because our national environmental protection system is rigged in favour of the big mining companies and big developers, who pour mega bucks into the big parties because it pays off.
“We need an independent statutory National Environment Protection Authority, which enforces our environment laws, free from the influence of politicians and the big business lobby.
“We already have independent expert bodies, like the Productivity Commission, to advise on economic matters. We need to extend this principle to the environment that sustains our economy,” Senator Di Natale said.
The Greens’ National Environment Protection Authority would be funded at $130 million per year, including a budget for assessment, compliance and enforcement of $95 million per year.
Qld Senator Larissa Waters, Australian Greens Deputy Leader and environment spokesperson, said the Greens would establish a new Environment Act.
“Even with our forests burning and our coral bleaching, our current environment laws are so weak that they fail to consider global warming.
“We Greens would establish a new Environment Act, developed by an expert taskforce, which would include ‘no-go zones’ on critical habitat and extend federal protection to all aspects of the environment where impacts of development are significant, including forests, national parks and global warming.
“Under these new laws, climate pollution bombs like the Adani coal mine would not be approved due to global warming impacts, giving job-creating clean-energy projects an advantage.
“We will also protect the voices that speak for nature, with ‘open standing’ to challenge decisions in court.
“We would stop the attacks on tax deductibility for environment groups by ensuring the ‘right to advocate’ for community organisations and much greater access to reliable environmental information.
“We Greens have the courage and vision to put in place environmental protection that actually protects the environment, not the interests of the big parties’ fossil fuel donors,” Senator Waters said.
The policy is online here: http://greens.org.au/places