Labor’s sneaky scheme would bypass environment laws for new offshore gas projects


Labor’s last-minute attempt today to allow the Minister to bypass environmental law when approving new offshore gas projects has been slammed by the Greens as undemocratic and dangerous.

The changes would effectively hand the Resources Minister Madeleine King broad-ranging powers to reduce environmental and consultation obligations, without oversight from the Environment Minister.

Minister King added the pro-gas-expansion amendment to a largely unrelated bill about protecting workers rights. The gas-approvals change sets Minister King on a collision course with Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek who has promised to fix Australia's broken environment laws.

Adam Bandt MP is Leader of the Australian Greens:

“Coal and gas are fuelling the climate crisis, but Labor wants more.

“​​Labor is trying to sneak through changes to fast track gas projects and make the climate crisis worse.

“In the middle of a climate crisis, Labor is letting big corporations bypass environmental protections and fast-tracking new gas projects.

“The Greens will fight Labor’s move to fast-track new gas projects, which will make the climate crisis worse and put people’s lives at risk.

“Instead of fixing our broken environment laws, Labor is weakening them. Seeking to tack this climate-wrecking loophole on to otherwise important reforms to improve workers rights is a cynical play that shows Labor is in the pockets of the gas corporations.”

Senator Dorinda Cox is Greens Spokesperson for First Nations, Resources and Trade:

“The recent cases relating to the Barossa and Scarbrough gas projects showed the clear need for stronger consultation. 

“This sneaky change is a bad faith move that is pre-empting the outcomes of the ongoing review into the current consultation requirement for offshore projects.

“This is about the Albanese Government and the Minister for Resources gaining support from the Coalition for changes to the Petroleum Resource Rent Tax.”

Senator Sarah Hanson-Young is Greens Spokesperson for Environment:

“We can’t protect our environment if we trash our already weak environment laws

“Minister King’s attempt today to bypass our already weak environment laws undermines Minister Plibersek’s commitment to strengthen them and listen to the community.

“What is the point of reforming our environmental laws when this power could allow the Resources Minister to bypass and ignore them? This change that undercuts ongoing reviews and consultation should be dumped immediately. 

“The Greens will refer this Bill to a Senate inquiry.