Coalition bulldozes environmental safeguards

Published on Friday, 05 July 2019 12:00

It is frankly disgraceful that a Minister whose responsibility is to protect Australia’s biodiversity makes a rushed last-minute decision that ignores expert advice and is likely to add to a growing list of critically endangered and extinct species.

Recent reports confirm the Morrison Government rejected department advice to rush through the approval of the Yeelirrie uranium mine proposal just days before the federal election.

In one of her last gaffes as Minister for the Environment, Melissa Price rushed through the approval of the Yeelirrie uranium mine, despite departmental advice clearly indicating that this could lead to the extinction of up to 12 native species and the destruction of the entire western population of a species of saltbush.

In further extraordinary events, the former Minister also weakened the conditions of approval recommended by the department which were aimed at reducing the risk of extinction of a groundwater species.

This was a Minister who was such a liability to the government that Scott Morrison has since been forced to move her out this important portfolio.

As Australia faces a growing rate of the extinction of our native flora and fauna, the Minister for the Environment should not be rushing to approve any projects in defiance of Departmental advice, especially when extinctions are likely to follow.

There was absolutely no basis for rushing such an important decision.

It is frankly disgraceful that a Minister whose responsibility is to protect Australia’s biodiversity makes a rushed last-minute decision that ignores expert advice and is likely to add to a growing list of critically endangered and extinct species.

In fact, the company that has proposed the Yeelirrie uranium project acknowledged in 2017 that in the current market there was no economic basis for the mine.

One can only conclude that Melissa Price was in a rush to approve the uranium mine in what she imagined were the dying minutes of the Morrison Government.

This complete disregard for process and Ministerial responsibility by the Morrison Government is a scary mirror image of the former WA Liberal Government, who, in the shadow of the 2017 state election gave environmental approval for the same project, against advice of the Western Australian Environmental Protection Agency.

This report confirms what we already knew, the former Minister showed a blatant disregard for her responsibility to protect the environment in approving this project.

 

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AUTHORISED BY JOSH WILSON
AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY CANBERRA
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