Thursday, March 14, 2013

Last December, a strong community campaign made the Federal Government push pause on their plans to hand off their environmental responsibilities to state governments.
This plan would have put Barry O’Farrell in charge of protecting koalas, Campbell Newman in charge of protecting the Great Barrier Reef, and give Colin Barnett the final decision on the James Price Point gas hub.
The Greens were there alongside the community; talking to local environment protection groups about how to protect their local species and habitats, holding street and market stalls to let people know about the government’s plan, asking the Government tough questions in the Senate.  By signing our petition, you were an important part of this community campaign for strong national environmental protection.
This Thursday, we have a chance to make the hand off of powers to state governments history.
I have a Bill in the Senate which would change our environment laws to make the hand off of powers unlawful.  It comes on for debate this Thursday.
In the recent Senate inquiry into this Bill, over 90% of submissions supported the Bill.  The submissions from a variety of local groups, environmental law experts and concerned community members pointed to the poor track record of the states and the importance of having the Federal Environment Minister as a check-and-balance to prevent the destruction of nationally significant parts of our environment.  However, the Senators on the committee didn’t recommend the Bill be passed: sadly, politics trumped evidence-based policy.
If the government has truly ditched its idea to hand over national environmental protection to state governments, it needs to act now to stop an Abbott government being able to hand off its environmental powers to conservative state Premiers – like the Coalition confirmed again today that they would.
I’m asking you to do these two things today to help protect what’s too precious to lose:
1.            Share the petition with three friends.
2.            Call your Federal Labor or Coalition Senator and tell them you support the Bill to make the hand off of environmental powers to the states unlawful.
Yours sincerely,

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