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City voters back regional communities, highlighting risk for Labor in key marginals: polling

Labor faces a backlash over its decision to abandon a promised overhaul of Australia’s broken environmental laws in marginal seats where it is facing increasing pressure from the Greens, new polling suggests.

The polling, conducted by Ucomms in mid March on behalf of Lock the Gate, asked voters in the Labor held Melbourne seats of Cooper, Wills, Macnamara, Higgins, and the Labor held NSW seat of Richmond in north east NSW a series of questions about climate and the environment.

The results, available in full here, show that:

  • More than 75% of respondents in each seat support updating legislation to reflect the current state of the environment and latest scientific findings.

  • More than 70% believe communities should be able to challenge the validity of federal environmental approval decisions.

  • More than two-thirds believe the federal government should be able to reject developments if the climate impacts will harm Australian wildlife.

  • More than 84% believe that companies seeking environmental approvals should be prohibited from making political donations..

The polling was conducted a month before it was revealed the Albanese Government was backtracking on a promise to overhaul the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act this election term. The EPBC Act was put in place during the Howard Government and has remained essentially unchanged since.

Lock the Gate Alliance National Advocacy Coordinator Han Aulby said, "The Albanese Labor Government has abandoned its election promise to fix Australia's broken environment laws.

"Instead of dealing with Australia's climate and biodiversity crises the Albanese Government has folded to pressure from the WA mining industry and the Coalition,” Mx Aulby said.

"Polling shows that voters in key marginal seats in Melbourne and northern NSW want our environment laws kept up to date and support regional communities who want to challenge the validity of environment decisions on major projects, like coal and gas, in court.

“The Albanese Government might not hold many seats in the regional areas most affected by these issues, but ignoring these communities may hurt the government elsewhere in crucial electorates where it faces increasing pressure from the Greens. 

“Voters are worried about the undue power and influence that large corporations have compared to communities, with more than 84% of respondents in each electorate supporting a prohibition on donations from companies seeking environmental approvals.

"Voters also care deeply about Australia's environment and climate - more than two thirds think the government should be able to reject projects if the climate impact will harm Australian wildlife,” they said.


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