Senator the Hon. Simon Birmingham
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for the Environment
Government moves to cut red tape in Murray-Darling Basin
11 December 2013
The Government will remove unnecessary environmental red tape by disallowing two ecological community listings in the Murray-Darling Basin, Parliamentary Secretary for the Environment Senator Simon Birmingham announced today.
"These listings were made by the previous government the day prior to entering caretaker mode," Senator Birmingham said. "They immediately provoked extensive concerns across affected communities.
"As promised, the Coalition has undertaken careful consideration and extensive consultation in reviewing these listings.
"There are already more than 500 individual listings of wetlands, threatened species and migratory birds already in place under federal and state environmental laws, which provide direct protection within these two ecological communities.
"Importantly, the Murray-Darling Basin Plan, which the government is committed to implementing in full and on time, provides the primary basis for supporting recovery in the areas of these listings.
"Given the huge expanse of protection and action already in place to protect these areas of the Murray-Darling Basin we are not convinced that these listings provide additional environmental protection that is sufficient to warrant the additional red tape they may impose on communities, businesses and landholders.
"Our government was elected on a promise to remove unnecessary red tape and regulation and with this decision we are demonstrating that we are delivering on this promise."
The listing of the River Murray-Darling to Sea and Wetlands and Inner Floodplains of the Macquarie Marshes as critically threatened ecological communities under national environmental law were made by the previous government.
These listings were opposed by all affected state governments while community groups reacted with great concern, criticising the consultation processes of the previous government, the unnecessary duplication of protections and the additional red tape the listings would impose.
"The government is absolutely committed to providing effective environmental protection to the Murray-Darling Basin. We will do this through full implementation of the Basin Plan and full utilisation of extensive existing listings of wetlands, threatened species and migratory birds in these specific areas and throughout the Basin," said Senator Birmingham.
"We will also utilise the conservation advice from the Scientific Committee in the implementation of the Basin Plan, environmental watering decisions and other natural resource initiatives."