O’Farrell to Freeze Action on Environment
Environmentalists should brace themselves for a period of inactivity in state politics, I warned the GreenCollar Think Tank last night. A couple of hundred members of the think tank a group promoting discussion on environmental and climate change issues, met in the Shelbourne Hotel in Sydney.
I reminded the group that since the election of the O’Farrell government the Department of Environment and Climate Change has been abolished as a stand-alone agency, and a moratorium has been placed on creation of more marine national parks. Protection of fish species has been abolished and hunting in state forests approved. In April the Premier handed responsibility for marine parks and catchment management to the Department of Primary Industry. The Environment Minster has refused to rule out lifting the bans on broad scale land clearing.
Yet I reminded them that in 1988 when the Greiner government took office, the National Party was given veto power over any land use policies outside Sydney. That was also a period of inactivity on environmental achievement,
“History is repeating itself. And climate change will be a crucial test.”
“I am proud that as Premier I was able to introduce the world’s first carbon trading scheme, the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Scheme. Moreover our controls on broadacre land clearing enabled Australia to reach its Kyoto targets.
“Our BASIX standards for new house building were the most advanced in Australia and among the most advanced in the world. They mandated that all new housing have built-in energy conservation.”
“One key test for O’Farrell’s government will be whether these measures remain intact. Sadly, controls on land clearing look the most likely to go.”