The federal and Queensland governments' new agreement to hand federal environment protection powers to the state government, reported on today, will devastate the state's natural assets, say the Australian Greens.
"So much of Queensland's iconic environment has been deemed to have national significance, like our Great Barrier Reef and our ancient rainforests, and for more than 30 years places like this have had special federal protection," Senator Larissa Waters, Australian Greens environment spokesperson, said.
"Now Tony Abbott is ripping up that federal protection so there's nothing to stop Campbell Newman giving the big mining companies open slather across Queensland.
"Then Mr Abbott is set to move on to the other states and territories, leaving a patchwork of varying environmental standards across the country, with no federal power to enforce them, which will no doubt create confusion and uncertainty for business.
"The Newman Government says it wants to maintain environmental standards but its track record indicates otherwise.
"Premier Newman has proven himself an environment vandal, having already gutted state protection for national parks, coastal areas, native vegetation and wild rivers.
"And when it comes to the Great Barrier Reef, Mr Newman says ‘we're in the coal business'.
"The Reef is on the brink of becoming a dredging dump ground for coal and gas ports and a shipping super highway - now, more than ever, leaving the fox in charge of the hen house will prove disastrous.
"Leaving the Reef in the hands of an environmentally reckless premier will no doubt spark international criticism, with UNESCO warning that the Reef could be added to the list of World Heritage sites in danger within a year if it continues to be overrun by development," Senator Waters said.