Lock the Gate: Federal ALP environment policy falls short, tarnished by mining influence

Published: June 15, 2016

Lock the Gate Alliance says the Labor Party environment election policy released today falls far short of what is needed to protect land and water, is completely lacking in detail, and looks set to be tarnished by plans to include the mining industry in an ‘expert reference group’.

Lock the Gate Alliance spokesperson Carmel Flint said ‘This policy from the ALP is vastly inadequate to deal with the threat posed to Australia from widespread industrial mining – it is effectively a policy to ‘create a committee’ after the election.

“The policy makes virtually no commitments to anything, and fails dramatically to deliver on a much-needed national national watchdog in the form of a Federal Environment Protection Authority.

“We’re thoroughly opposed to the proposal to put the mining industry on the ‘expert reference group’ to develop a policy post-election, because it has a history of corrosive and self-interested influence in Australian politics, economy and society.

“Including the mining industry in the development of environment laws is liking putting the fox in charge of the hen-house. It can only lead to a compromised outcome that puts vested interests above community interests.

“Without national legislation and a national agency that can hold the mining and gas industries to account, people suffer, rivers become polluted and the air becomes dangerous to breathe. Our fear is that involving the mining industry in developing these new laws is dangerous and self-defeating.

“The ALP needs to go back to the drawing board with this policy, and include some real substance, such as an independent and fearless national watchdog to ensure consistent and safe pollution standards are applied across the country.

“The community is demanding far-reaching merits appeal rights, health impact assessment, and real measures to prevent damaging pollution and to exclude mining from nationally significant water resources.

“We stand ready to work with any party who is committed to genuine and far-reaching reform, but the weak, insubstantial policy released by the ALP today simply doesn’t deliver on widespread community concerns on these important issues,” she said.

Lock the Gate’s #Water4Life index of federal election policies to protect water and farmland from invasive mining is available here.

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