Australian Greens Leader Bob Brown today condemned the government-business agenda to wreck environmental laws.
"There is no evidence that delays are jeopardising the viability of any projects. The boom is still booming. In fact, no major resource extraction projects have been refused under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act," Senator Brown said.
"The Gillard government is already allowing six mega coal ports inside the Great Barrier Reef and has recommended this world heritage area as a dumping ground for dredging spoil. Some 10,000 coal ships per year, or more than one an hour, are forecast to make their way through the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area by 2020, up 480% from 2011.
"Australia's environmental laws are weak and inadequately policed now. Now business is proposing whole areas be quarantined for their own purposes.
"Let's streamline environmental laws by making them tougher and more protective of the natural values of this nation, not protective of business interests seeking profits at the expense of the Australian people's natural wealth, wildlife and scenic beauty," Senator Brown said.
"At a time when more money should be invested in education, not less, there are reports that assessments are being delayed by a lack of suitably qualified environmental experts employed by governments. Let's rectify that immediately, providing the funds needed to support the tertiary education sector, the environment and Australia's economic transition."