The NSW government’s move to break up the Environment Department and shift responsibility for key environmental decisions to Industry and Investment NSW puts the fox in charge of the henhouse, potentially compromising the protection of the state’s environment, according to the Nature Conservation Council of NSW.
“In coming years there are some significant environment policy decisions facing NSW, from the future of marine parks to regulation of the logging industry. Our community needs full confidence that these decisions will be taken free of undue influence from industry and with full management of corruption risks,” CEO Pepe Clarke said today.
“Sound environmental governance demands that the department responsible for promoting industry is not also in charge of its regulation. Under the former Labor government we already had a taste of what happens when the close relationship between an agency and the industry it promotes undermines effective environmental regulation.
“To date, Industry and Investment NSW has comprehensively failed to keep in check the massive expansion of the coal seam gas industry across NSW, with serious impacts on local communities, the environment, water supplies and prime agricultural land.
“A healthy, resilient environment is a key responsibility of government. We need assurance from Premier Barry O’Farrell that our natural world, marine habitats and cities and towns will get the appropriate attention and oversight they need for a sustainable future,” Mr Clarke said.