Lock the Gate Alliance says that today's revelations today that Martin Ferguson has been pushed by the energy industry to increase surveillance of environmental activists, is more evidence that the fossil fuel sector is really running Australia.
"Once again the federal government has demonstrated it exists for the convenience of the fossil fuel sectors. It is prepared to criminalise those constituents standing up for clean air, clean food and clean water because the almighty dollar is deemed more important than the health of well-being of Australian communities," said Jacinta Green, Vice President of Lock the Gate Alliance.
"It is simply no longer acceptable to look at an industry on an economic-only basis. A multiple bottom line calculation is needed which incorporates social, community, health and environmental well-being. These are the issues that environmental activists, conservation groups and increasingly, rural landholders, around Australia highlight with their actions.
"Lock the Gate Alliance wishes that investigations into the destructive and criminal activities of the energy industry were as well resourced and considered.
"Time and time again, it is only because of the efforts of concerned citizens that crimes against the environment, and therefore the health of people in local communities, are uncovered.
"Rather than spying on these committed individuals, the government should be paying them to ensure rigorous monitoring and compliance.
"Minister Ferguson's statement, as quoted in the Sydney Morning Herald, that ‘Governments at all levels are concerned to maintain energy security and economic activity', is one of the reasons why many Australians believe the government is failing them.
"Governments at all levels should be more concerned with the long term health and wellbeing of its citizens and the environments that support them, rather than the pockets of primarily internationally owned companies that export the majority of our resources offshore."