Tanya Plibersek’s apparent approach to decision making in the Environment portfolio spells disaster for many of our productive and economy-driving industries.
Today’s decision to expand the Macquarie Island Marine Park, tripling the current size, is a decision that has been made without any regard for economic impacts.
Industry themselves designed a plan that would achieve conservation outcomes and maintain economic productivity, only to have been ignored. An organised campaign by environmental organisations creating cookie-cutter submissions which account for a large part of the 99% supporting the expansion, flooded out the concerns and pleas by a sustainable and science-based industry.
What’s more, the Minister was required by law to follow a specific process, as laid out in Sections 345 to 373 of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act 1999, before making this decision. But the Minister, four-and-a-half hours before public submissions had closed and having ignored the contact from industry, indicated that she had already made her mind up to expand the Marine Park. She even called it a “no brainer”, demonstrating that the consultation was a sham and confirming that a decision was made before she had received the public representations or advice from the Director of National Parks.
Imagine if such an approach had been taken for approval or otherwise of a coal or gas project.
The Environment Minister must demonstrate that she not only obeyed the law around her decision making duties and that she received advice prior to making her decision, but also that economic impacts were properly taken into account in this process.
The Coalition supports science based decisions around sea and land conservation, proudly having established this Marine Park in 1999 which has been heralded globally as one of the most sustainable and successful Marine Parks.