As the EPBC debate is expected to resume in Federal Parliament as early as tomorrow, a prominent medical group warns an attempt by the Scott Morrison Government to rush legislation to weaken Australia’s environmental protections, will have major health costs now and in the longer term.
Medical group Doctors for the Environment Australia fears that Environment Minister Sussan Ley’s legislation will hand responsibility for nature protection to the states and territories. This is planned even before the once-in-a decade review of Australia’s Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act is completed, undermining the protection of nature that Australians entrust to our governments.
DEA Spokesperson Dr Rosalie Schultz says, “Protecting nature is not only about protecting flora and fauna, it’s about protecting people.
“Our health is fundamentally dependent on the health of the natural world – for clean air, water and soils, food security, protection against infectious diseases such as COVID-19 and a stable climate. Nature is also the source of many of the medicines we rely on, and new treatments under investigation.
“National environmental powers and laws emerged from the strong community opposition to the damming of Tasmania’s majestic rivers in the 1970s.
“Australians still care immensely about the natural world, demonstrated by 30,000 people who made submissions to the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act review.
“National laws can overcome conflict of interest of state governments competing for large infrastructure projects for short term economic and political gain. Yet Minister Ley appears to want to delegate environmental powers to the states even whilst the act is under review.
“It’s imperative that the statutory review be allowed to conclude, so that the Morrison Government delivers national environmental laws that protect the wealth and health of nature, and a strong independent regulator to enforce these laws.”
Media contact: DEA Media and Communications Coordinator- 0410 703 074
DEA is an independent organisation of medical doctors protecting health through care of the environment http://dea.org.au
We are supported by a Scientific Advisory Committee of distinguished health experts: Prof Stephen Boyden AM, Prof Emeritus Chris Burrell AO, Prof Colin Butler, Prof Peter Doherty AC, Prof Michael Kidd AM, Prof David de Kretser AC, Prof Stephen Leeder AO, Prof Ian Lowe AO, Prof Robyn McDermott, Prof Lidia Morawska, Prof Peter Newman AO, Prof Emeritus Sir Gustav Nossal AC, Prof Hugh Possingham, Prof Lawrie Powell AC, Prof Fiona Stanley AC, Dr Rosemary Stanton OAM, Dr Norman Swan