WA Premier Roger Cook’s proposed changes to the EPA would slash environmental protections that the West Australian community has spent over 50 years fighting for, according to Broome based conservation group Environs Kimberley.
“These changes would slash environmental protection for iconic places like the Kimberley at a time when its recognised we are in a nature survival crisis and there has been no consultation with conservation groups,” said Environs Kimberley Director of Strategy Martin Pritchard.
The proposed changes include stacking the EPA Board with more industry representatives, getting private consultants to rush through decisions and the removal of the public’s right to appeal decisions on the environment.
“This is straight out of the fossil fuel industry’s playbook, they’ve been trying to weaken our environmental laws for decades. It’s an effective privatisation of what is supposed to be an independent advisor to government on WA’s globally significant environment,” Mr Pritchard said.
“The Premier’s assertion that reforms are needed due to ‘green tape strangling development’ are disingenuous. Delays have come about due to the lack of resources and staff in the EPA and the WA government should take responsibility for that.”
“We’re calling for public consultation on any proposed reforms and that a primary emphasis be put on protecting the environment not rushing damaging developments through.”
“We need a stronger EPA and environment laws. What is currently being proposed is exactly what Liberal Premier Colin Barnett wanted and we can’t believe the Labor Government is willing to gut our environmental laws to fast track damaging projects.”