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Victorian Government has an attitude problem on the environment



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N E W. 3 • Fl E L E A S E

DPIE 93/13GR 29 January 1993

VICTORIAN GOVERNMENT HAS AN ATTITUDE PROBLEM ON THE ENVIRONMENT

The Federal Minister for Resources, Alan Griffiths, said today it was clear that the Victorian Government was determined to rip up the rule book on environmental approval processes.

Mr Griffiths was commenting on recent indications by Treasurer Stockdale that the Victorian Government was going to relax environmental laws.

"In fact this has already occurred" Mr Griffiths said.

"The Victorian Government's go-ahead to the proposed Crib Point oil tanker berth without a full environmental assessment is unacceptable on its merits and is guaranteed to bring approval processes into disrepute," the Minister said.

"The way the Kennett Government has ignored modern community expectations with respect to environmental assessments provides a clear indication of how a Coalition Government would operate at a national level, Mr Griffiths stated.

"Dr Hewson has said that if approval processes take longer than 12 months, Government will give the green light automatically, regardless of the environmental consequences. Simply put, the Opposition has a "bad attitude" when it comes to proper environmental safeguards.

"I believe industry may lose public support if planning processes fail to adequately consult in a timely way with communities most directly affected. In stark contrast to the Kennett Government, the Federal Government recognises the importance of environmental considerations in such an important project as this one."

As Minister for Resources and Minister for Tourism, I am of course mindful of the effect of a major oil spill on our environment, specifically impacting on residents and tourism in the Westernport area, including Victoria's premier tourist attraction, the penguins at Phillip Island.

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COMMONWEALTH PARLIAMENTARY LIBRARY MICAH

Parliament House Phone: (06) 277 7480

Canberra ACT 2600 Fax: (06) 273 4154

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It would be irresponsible to deny that there is a risk of an oil spill occurring whenever tankers or any other ships use Westernport Bay. The Commonwealth has recently passed legislation to make double hulls •mandatory, and I am liaising with my State colleagues on improved arrangements for handling oil spills. I am consulting with my colleagues, Senator Collins and Senator Cook, to

determine what other measures, if any, are available to the Commonwealth to ensure greater safety in oil tanker, operations, particularly in sensitive areas such as Westernport Bay.

"I believe that my record on development and jobs speaks for itself. I have been a strong supporter of fast track development procedures, but not at the expense of proper and transparent environmental processes, and not at the

expense of legitimate community concerns.

In the 1990s, the community expects that industry will respect the environment. The Kennett Government and the Federal Opposition are the only ones that don't understand that," Mr Griffiths concluded. "In short, they have an attitude problem when it comes to the environment."

Further information: Kristen Barry, Minister's office, (06) 2731460