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Byron Shire
March 3, 2021

Abbott wants to offload EPBC Act

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David Norris, Pottsville

Voters beware! Tony Abbott recently announced his development assessment ‘one stop shop’ policy aimed at weakening environmental protection.

He wants to hand over the administration of the Commonwealth Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act (EPBC) to the cash-strapped states and slash state environment protections as well.

He trusts that the states’ level of care and concern will not be compromised by their need to boost revenue.

The EPBC Act is the main piece of legislation available to limit the wholesale expansion of CSG mining in Australia, and plays an important role in deciding what happens to areas requiring environmental protection.

Surely the federal government, which has far less self-interest, would be the better arbitrator to ensure that the community and environment don’t come off second best.

On 8 July the Liberal National Party (LNP) released plans for a complete review of all state and federal environment protections to identify anything unworkable.

Lawyers and community groups use these laws as tools to shape development application outcomes to make them more people- and environment-friendly.

I believe Mr Abbott’s multinational big business buddies will find ‘unworkable’ anything that stands in the way of their profits, and that he wants to let them write their own rules.

The LNP’s proposed watered-down laws in NSW and Qld will make 80 per cent of all developments complying or code assessable, thereby excluding community consultation. Councils are being forced to sign up to one-size-fits-all local environment plans that make it easier for developers to get quick unchallenged approvals for their often inappropriate and environmentally destructive projects.

I believe that the Greens are the only party which will protect our northern rivers lifestyle, with strong representation to stand up to this ruthless anti-community agenda.


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