Polling released today shows 85 per cent of Australians agree the Federal Government should be able to block or make changes to major projects that could damage the environment.
The Federal Government could give up much of its power to do so under proposed changes to the national Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act, currently being pushed state governments.
“This is a clear message that Australians want our Federal Government to retain the right to stop potentially damaging developments, rather than giving this power up to state governments,” said WWF Conservation Director, Gilly Llewellyn, speaking on behalf of an alliance of more than 30 Australian environment groups.
“It’s obvious that Australians want our unique wildlife and places to have robust protection, that’s why changes to the EPBC Act will not be widely supported,” Dr. Llewellyn said.
Australian Conservation Foundation Director of Strategic Ideas Charles Berger, also representing the alliance, said state governments had a track record of putting short-term gain ahead of national interest when assessing development proposals.
“The poll results really aren’t surprising. Australians have seen time and time again why these decisions need to be made at the federal level. Without federal approval powers in the past, the Franklin River would be dammed, the Alpine National Park would be a cow farm and the Great Barrier Reef would be littered with oil rigs.
“The Federal Government needs to stand up to the big businesses and state governments driving this agenda and respect the wishes of everyday Australians, who want to see the places and wildlife they love protected from destruction,” Mr Berger said.
The Places You Love alliance also includes Humane Society International, Greenpeace, Birdlife Australia and state conservation councils. The poll was conducted online with 1,003 Australians aged 18 years and over, including people from every state and territory, by Lonergan Research between Thursday, September 27 and Tuesday October 2, 2012.
The Nature Conservation Council of NSW is a proud member of the Places You Love alliance.