Morrison government delays and denies environmental transparency

By Terri Butler MP

15 January 2021

Today’s reports that the Morrison Government has been increasingly blocking and delaying Freedom of Information requests about environmental decision-making further demonstrate the Government’s hatred of scrutiny.

Of the decisions examined, FOI refusals relating to the environment have skyrocketed by almost 50 per cent in the past five years.
 
The number of requests where documents are released in full has almost halved.
 
This is yet another attack on Australia’s Right to Know.
 
Funding cuts, delays and mismanagement within the environment portfolio make scrutiny more important than ever.
 
But at the same time as secrecy has been increasing, the Morrison Government has:

  • slashed 40 per cent from environment department funding;
  • presided over an explosion of 510 per cent in job and investment delays through environmental decision blow-outs;
  • delivered a staggering 95 per cent of environmental approval decisions late and outside statutory timeframes in 2018-19;
  • made environmental decisions that contained errors or were non-compliant in 79 per cent of approvals;
  • presided over Australia’s escalating environmental crisis, with NSW koala populations at risk of extinction and Australia’s threatened species in decline.

Is it any wonder that the Morrison Government wants to hide this appalling record behind a wall of secrecy?
 
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 and a dud NBN.
 
FRIDAY, 15 JANUARY 2021