Media Releases - 11 April 2019
Election 2019: Let’s change the laws of nature
This election, The Wilderness Society is asking Australians to vote for new environment laws and an independent National Environment Protection Agency.
Wilderness Society National Campaigns Director, Lyndon Schneiders says, “It is crystal clear that Australia’s environment laws are broken and urgently need an complete overhaul. This election, we need to change the laws of nature.
“Australia already has the worst record in the world for the extinction of mammals and is a global hotspot for deforestation with nearly two million hectares of forests and woodlands cleared in Queensland alone in the past five years.
“Our existing national environment laws mean industry can continue to log old growth forests and endangered species' habitat, and that oil companies are free to drill within the vast marine wilderness of the Great Australian Bight.
“The recent release of the interim report of senate inquiry into animal extinctions made disturbing reading of systematic policy failure and warned of a looming extinction crisis without urgent action.
“Despite this, at the start of this election campaign, Australians who care about the environment should have some cause for cautious optimism about the policy agendas of parties and candidates contesting this election.
“In the past week, an alliance of cross-benchers including Andrew Wilkie, Julia Banks and Dr Kerryn Phelps have called for new laws and a National EPA.
“The Greens have a strong policy released several weeks ago and are likely to play an important role in the next Senate will would need to pass new laws.
“In December 2018, Bill Shorten announced that Labor would create a new national environment act and an Independent EPA. With all public polling predicting the election of an ALP Government, this was a very important and significant commitment.
“However, as the likely future government, the bar needs to set higher for Labor who have yet to provide a detailed policy or costings in support of their promise. If Labor fails to put forward a credible pathway for change before the election, the task in government will be so much harder.
“The coalition’s record on the environment in government was diabolical and only the greatest optimist could expect a change of heart. Despite this, environmentally-minded Coalition voters should demand a change of approach and call for a complete overhaul of how the Liberal party treats the environment.
“The coalition has a dreadful record in government of failing to enforce the existing weak laws; of gutting the national environment department and trying to further weaken the existing laws; of failing to intervene when state governments go off the rails; and for attempting to wind back important protections such as World Heritage listing of tall forests in Tasmania and cutting the size of marine parks.
“Too often the government has used a small pool of grant funding meant to protect the environment for pork-barreling and to gloss over the lack of backbone by Environment Ministers Hunt, Frydenberg and Price to either stand up to the Nationals, state governments or big business.
“This election, The Wilderness Society will be delivering their largest election campaign in a generation in support of the policies required to give nature a chance.
“Hundreds of volunteers are already engaging voters in the marginal seats of Reid and Bonner; advertising campaigns are being rolled out in Boothby, Warringah, Flinders, Kooyong, Corangamite and Wentworth; and social media campaigns will be operating across the country.
“This election is a critical moment for the environment and a crucial opportunity to turn around 25 years of neglect and disinterest in real leadership for the environment by our national parliament,” he concluded.
For more information, please contact Tim Beshara on 0437 878 786.
Authorised by L Schneiders on behalf of The Wilderness Society Ltd, 132 Davey Street, Hobart Tasmania 7000.