Labor has pledged to explore options to set up a federal environmental oversight body and reverse the current government’s attempts to transfer national approval powers on major projects to the states.
“ACF supports effective and efficient federal environmental laws and strong national oversight,” said ACF’s Campaigns Director, Paul Sinclair.
“This commitment to strong federal laws adds to Labor’s pledges to tackle out-of-control land clearing and expand national oversight to shale and tight gas fracking proposals.
“We also need stronger national protection for the habitats of endangered species, like Leadbeater’s Possum, and an end to exemptions for logging threatened species habitat.
“Australia’s network of Environmental Defenders Offices is a critical part of our democracy, providing a voice for communities and the environment in the courts, so Labor’s commitment to re-fund them is welcome.
“Australians need to be able to trust the national system of environment approvals.
“Establishing a well-resourced and independent authority to undertake assessments would free the process from political interference and vested corporate interests.
“Public commitments to protect the Great Barrier Reef and save threatened species are hollow while loopholes and lax laws are used to approve mega coal mines and wave through approvals to log threatened species habitat.
“During this election campaign Labor and the Greens have announced policies to strengthen Australia’s national environment laws.
“In contrast the Coalition remains committed to handing over national environmental approval powers to the states and territories – a move actively resisted by environment groups and the community.”