Under questioning from the Greens today, Australian Government has acknowledged it has the power to use the national environment laws to protect Wild Rivers from Campbell Newman and a future LNP Queensland Government, which has pledged to roll back the laws against the wishes of many Aboriginal communities.
“Tony Abbott and Campbell Newman are trying to wind back these laws which protect our most pristine and valuable river systems from the ravages of big mining,” Australian Greens environment spokesperson Senator Larissa Waters said.
“Mr Abbott and Mr Newman have cherry-picked which Aboriginal leaders to listen to and are refusing to meet with Traditional Owners in Western Queensland, all of whom support Wild Rivers laws.
“These Aboriginal communities are relying on Wild Rivers legislation to provide much-needed jobs for Indigenous rangers, as well as to keep their river systems healthy and unpolluted – it’s clear that Abbott’s posturing on this issue is less about Aboriginal rights and more about clearing the way for mining giants.
“The Australian Government should protect the natural and Indigenous heritage values of these river systems using our national environment laws, to give the Federal Environment Minister the responsibility of protecting these rivers when a Campbell Newman Government rips them up.
“The Greens are calling on the Australian Government to support the aspirations of Aboriginal communities on Wild Rivers, and uphold their party’s commitment to protect these diverse and pristine river systems for Aboriginal communities and for future generations of Australians.”