Department of the Environment

Archived media releases and speeches

The Hon Tony Burke MP

Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities

An open letter to Premier Newman

Media release
23 August 2012

Dear Premier

I have read reports of your doorstop interview this morning which was conducted after I had made the decision to approve the Alpha Coal project.

In your interview you reportedly stated that there were number of projects which I was "sitting on" and I should "get out of the way" on any projects that are coming forward.

I have sought advice from my department to ask which projects are awaiting approval where the companies have completed their assessments and the next step falls to me.

They have advised me there are no such projects. Given you have told the people of Queensland that there are a number of projects which I am currently delaying, it would be appreciated if you could let me in on the secret.

Please either advise me which projects in your state are waiting my decision or alternatively provide some more honest information to the people of Queensland.

Let me be clear, if what you want is for me to give approvals without conducting checks, then I will stand in your way.

If you want the Government to let you trash the Great Barrier Reef, we will stand in your way.

If you want to clear fell every acre of koala habitat in south east Queensland, we will stand in your way.

This Government will continue to work with industry, we will continue to get good environmental outcomes and good employment outcomes for Queensland, but no matter how many times you ask, if you want to indulge in environmental corner cutting, shambolic process and environmental vandalism, we will have none of it.

Tony Burke