2 April 2019

Coalition downgrades Environment Department again

“The decision to downgrade the environment portfolio (again) and subsume it into a super-ministry with industry and development is par for the course from a government that has been at war with nature and environmental protection since it came to power in 2011,” Nature Conservation Council CEO Kate Smolski said.

“This shrinks the status of the Office of Environment and Heritage further and appears designed to reduce it to providing back-office functions enabling development.

“Protection of nature and the environment is so important it needs a separate department. It should not be subordinate to the development and industrial complex.

“Our unique wildlife and landscapes need a strong, independent advocate within government standing up to the relentless pressure of the mining and developer lobby.

“The only way we to ensure this is to establish a separate department distinct from planning, industry and energy.”

The Coalition during the O’Farrell government downgraded the environment department to the status of an “office” and has over the past eight years slashed staffing and subordinated its functions to other departments, notably a planning department.

The latest move follows the appointment of Matt Kean, the Coalition’s fifth environment minister in eight years.

“The environment ministry has been unstable and weak since the Coalition came to power in 2011, largely because it has lacked the support of the Premier in resisting pressure from the developer lobby and the National Party to wind back environmental protections,” Ms Smolski said.

“Sadly, that trend appears set to continue.”


Air pollutionForests and wildlifeMarine ConservationPlanning and DevelopmentClimate and energyNSW Parliament

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