Prime Minister of Australia (Julia Gillard)
Dear Prime Minister,
The Commonwealth Government has a crucial role to play in protecting our environment and wildlife. Protecting our wild places and native animals is not 'green tape,' and I call on you to take a strong stand against the proposals in the COAG (Council of Australian Governments) agenda that would wind back the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act and fast-track the transfer of federal approval powers to state governments.
Our iconic wildlife and environment are under greater pressure and threat than ever before. We need to strengthen rather than weaken environmental protection laws.
On many occasions, including the notorious proposals to dam the Franklin River or to re-introduce cattle grazing into Alpine National Parks, the Federal Government has stepped in to prevent state governments from carrying out environmentally damaging projects, and to ensure the protection of our unique landscapes and wildlife.
The serious problems with creating bilateral management arrangements with the states are already demonstrated by the Regional Forest Agreement process, which has led to long term controversy and conflict in every forest region, and the continued loss of native wildlife and forests around the country. Handing even broader environmental assessment and approval powers to the states would see irreversible environmental damage and conflict.
Australia's environment is unique, precious and world class. For our wildlife and threatened wild places, please prevent the weakening of our environment laws at COAG, and ensure the Commonwealth's essential role in preserving the natural environment is maintained.