Labor’s shadow cabinet and caucus will carefully consider the report’s recommendations and any government response.
But Australians are right to be sceptical given that the Morrison Government has completely bungled environmental reform so far, by:
- pre-empting the findings of their own independent review, after it was revealed they began commissioning legislation before the interim report was even finalised;
- rehashing Tony Abbott’s failed 2014 environment bill, which the interim report warned against;
- ramming the failed Abbott bill through the lower house and gagging debate;
- ignoring and cherry-picking the recommendations of Samuel’s independent review by failing to introduce national environment standards as the foundation of reform, and then ruling out a genuinely independent cop on the beat for our environment;
- breaking their promise to introduce standards at the same time as other changes;
- leaving the Abbott bill to languish in the Senate for months, without putting it to a vote;
- voting against a Senate inquiry into the impact of the bill on the environment and jobs, and then backflipping to support a sham inquiry, which lasted just hours.
Australia’s bushfire ravaged natural environment, industry groups, scientists, and communities across the nation have been crying out for measured, durable and effective reform.
But the Morrison Government’s is more interested in politics than solutions.
This Government was already starting from a low base, given it has:
- slashed 40% from environment department funding;
- presided over an explosion of 510% in job and investment delays through environmental decision blow-outs;
- delivered a staggering 95% of environmental approval decisions late and outside statutory timeframes in 2018-19;
- made environmental decisions that contained errors or were non-compliant in 79% of approvals;
- presided over Australia’s escalating environmental crisis, with NSW koala populations at risk of extinction and Australia’s threatened species in decline.
Labor has consistently stated that we would work constructively on the reform process and consider any sensible proposals.
We have called on the Morrison Government to:
- Introduce strong national environmental standards; and
- Establish a genuinely independent ‘cop on the beat’ for Australia’s environment;
- Fix the explosion in unnecessary 510 per cent job and investment delays caused by their massive funding cuts.
Instead of delivering jobs and protecting the environment, the Morrison Government has focused on spending a billion dollars on marketing itself, sports rorts, dodgy land deals for Liberal donors, and a dud NBN.
THURSDAY, 28 JANUARY 2021