Senate hears Labor’s environmental integrity extinct after capitulation to mining & fossil fuel lobby

Australian Greens

Today’s Senate hearing into Australia’s Extinction Crisis has heard expert evidence that Labor’s broken promise to deliver strong environment law reform will fuel the extinction and climate crises. While fossil fuel lobby groups, mining corporations and polluters welcomed Labor’s broken promise, environmental experts, scientists and the community warned of continued ecological destruction.

Senator Sarah Hanson-Young is chair of the Senate Inquiry into Australia’s Extinction Crisis and Greens spokesperson for the Environment:

“Labor’s environmental integrity has gone from endangered to extinct as the Government dumps their promise to overhaul environmental laws before the next election.

“Today the Senate heard expert evidence that Labor’s environment policy won’t save koalas, won’t save the greater glider, won’t stop native forest logging, and won’t stop the expansion of the fossil fuel industry. In fact, the extinction crisis will continue to get worse.

“Labor’s capitulation to polluters will make the biodiversity and climate crises worse and the Greens will not rubber stamp an environmental sell-out.

“The fact that almost every polluter lobby group has cheered this sell-out, while environment groups and scientists have sounded the alarm, tells you what you need to know. It’s no longer secret: Labor has caved-in to the big polluters, miners & logging corporations and sold-out the environment.

“This is not environmental protection, it’s an environmental sell-out to polluters.

“This is a broken promise that throws our wildlife and native forests under the bulldozers, in lieu of fast-tracking approvals for climate wrecking coal and gas expansion.”

Background Senate Hearing Transcript:

Brendan Skyes ACF:

The minister yesterday was drawing the analogy with the police commissioner. And it’s true the EPA will enforce the law of police commissioners enforce the law. police commissioners don’t grant environmental approvals. That’s a completely different exercise and requires another level of independence altogether from sort of policing and prosecutorial functions, I would say. I mean, the tuna harbor example it’s finally getting to its sort of final throes I think demonstrates the risks and challenges if you have a system that’s open and discretionary in terms of the rules, but also just fraught with backroom influence and lobbying and so forth.

Dr. Jen Rayner, Climate council:

“The law is the fundamental problem the gaps in the law and the lack of coverage that it has for really key issues like climate, like native forests logging, like the amount of land clearing that it continues to license. anybody, any agency that is administering the current law will have the same problems that the current law has. That’s why it’s so urgent that we do ensure there is this further tranche of work that comes as quickly as possible to deal with the fundamental gaps in the law. Governance is one thing and gaping holes in the law

Senator Hanson-Young:

Is there anything in what the minister announced yesterday that will stop the further expansion of the fossil fuel industry?

Climate Council:

“If the EPA is administering the law as it stands, a law which has allowed 740 fossil fuel projects to be waved through to date? It’s hard to see how that would be the case.”

Hanson-Young: “So this doesn’t save koalas. This doesn’t save the greater glider. This doesn’t stop native forest logging, and doesn’t stop the expansion of the fossil fuel industry – so it’s just more coal and gas.It’s hardly an environmental reform is it?


“No, not without the rest of the package and that’s the key point we continue to make…”

/Public Release. View in full here.