SPEECH: STATEMENTS BY MEMBERS - Environmental Conservation MONDAY, 26 MARCH 2018


Environmental Conservation
House of Representatives Canberra, Australia. 


I congratulate you on your new role, Deputy Speaker. Last week, the government completed what has been a four-year process in the largest removal of area under conservation that any government has been involved in anywhere. Some people have reported this as the largest reduction in marine conservation.

There is no government in the world that has taken as much area out of conservation—on land or sea—as this government has just done. Australia has gone from being a world leader in ocean protection to being the worst in the world when it comes to removing areas from conservation. The process began under the Abbott government, and it was completed last week under the Turnbull government.

The two arguments given as to why they wanted to make this change were that there had not been enough consultation and that Labor's plan had not been based on sound science. Yet their own hand-picked panel found that the science on which it was based was a sound basis and drew upon the best available information. And, when they consulted with people, they reported back that there was consultation fatigue because there had been so much consultation.

Be in no doubt: this is a direct attack from this government on the future health of the oceans around Australia. The health of the Coral Sea—the cradle to the Great Barrier Reef—and the resilience of our oceans are directly threatened by this government. 

Tony Burke