Department of the Environment

Archived media releases and speeches

The Hon Tony Burke MP

Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities

Campbell Newman - Environmental vandal

Media release
1 May 2012

Campbell Newman has only taken a fortnight to reverse his own rhetoric about environmental law reform, Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke said today.

Mr Newman has criticised the protections for koalas in Queensland announced recently calling them 'needless duplication' and 'mindless green tape'.

"Only a fortnight ago Mr Newman was offering to simplify processing by having Queensland enforce the national environmental standards. Now he wants to declare war on the same standards he was offering to enforce," Mr Burke said.

"The science is overwhelming that the Queensland koala has taken a massive hit over the last 20 years.

"Campbell Newman may be happy for Queensland to be a place where koalas only live in zoos, but I am not.

"Only a few weeks ago COAG agreed on a process to streamline environmental approvals. The agreement was about getting rid of red tape, not abandoning science and lowering standards.

"Campbell Newman was in agreement with the State Premiers and the Prime Minister that the State Governments had the capacity to deliver environmental assessments and approvals to the standards required by national environmental law.

"Given the intention to streamline the process remains unchanged, it's clear Mr Newman's problem is the standards themselves.

"You can't boast one day that you can take over the Commonwealth's role and then complain about those standards the next.

"For an about face like this in the first weeks of the job Campbell Newman must have some big plans for the bulldozer. Occasionally people question environmental protections which protect species no one has ever heard of. Mr Newman seems to have decided the koala is in the same category."