QUEENSLAND Premier Campbell Newman has every right to be concerned about unnecessary layers of regulation duplicating environmental and wildlife protections, Federal Member for Leichhardt Warren Entsch says.
Mr Entsch has slammed Green groups and Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke for their unjustified criticism of Queensland Premier Campbell Newman in relation to koala conservation.
“Campbell Newman has these Green groups jumping up and down and attacking him when they have no right to do that,” Mr Entsch said. “He’s been in government for five weeks, where is the criticism of Labor who held power for almost 20 years?”
While koalas are not found in Mr Entsch’s electorate in Queensland’s Far North, he is more than familiar with the impact that excessive green and red tape and layers of bureaucracy have had on economic enterprise and attempts for sustainable development in his region, with little or no positive outcomes for the environment.
Mr Entsch said the State’s existing environmental protections were comprehensive enough, already requiring developers and mining/resource companies to meet strict guidelines to ensure the protection of native species “as they should”.
“Wild Rivers legislation and Minister Burke’s clumsy effort to now invoke Federal authority in this area is only duplicating existing safeguards,” Mr Entsch said.
He added that the Commonwealth has been using the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act as a means of appeasing their “extreme Green puppet masters”.
“There are no better examples highlighting Labor’s blind compliance to extreme Green agendas – and I emphasise that this is less about conservation and more about Green philosophical agendas than with the proposed closure for fishing in the Coral Sea, the Wild Rivers legislation in Cape York and the current efforts to blanket World Heritage list the entire Cape York Peninsula,” he said.
“All of these destroy economic opportunities for indigenous and local landholders, and have been done on the assumption that local communities do not have the capacity to be part of a long-term environmental solution and cannot be recognised for their environmental contribution.
“The Premier has every right to raise concerns about the current levels of regulation and I support him absolutely in doing it. This is not a debate about wiping out koala populations, quite the contrary there is an absolute commitment from Campbell Newman and his government that koala populations will not only survive but thrive.
“But it’s about creating a balance between responsible conservation initiatives that deliver real outcomes and environmentally sensitive, sustainable development.”
Mr Entsch said that rather than listening to the “politically-motivated scaremongering” that was emerging on this issue, people should look at Campbell Newman’s record while he was Lord Mayor of Brisbane ad acknowledge his commitment to the environment, which included;
– the planting of 2 million trees in the greater Brisbane area in a four-year period
– the rolling out of rebates to fund 90,000 water tanks in the City of Brisbane
– the purchase of more than 1100 hectares of at-risk bushland to preserve
for the people of Brisbane
– the introduction of policy which sees Brisbane City Council now buy 100 per cent of its energy as green power
– the purchase of carbon offsets for the entire CityCat fleet, the bus fleet and the entire general vehicle fleet of Council, financially preparing council for the cost impost on its budget if there is a price of carbon in the economy
– the signing of 181,965 Green Heart homes and participation of 33,445 homes in the EzyGreen program, making a significant difference in helping people reduce their emissions, save energy and reduce energy costs.