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Howard's environmental record nothing to brag about

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Media Statement

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Hon Dr Carmen Lawrence MP

Shadow Minister for the Environment; the Arts; and assisting the Leader of the Opposition on the Status of Women; Member for Fremantle

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CL17/97 2 March 1997


Shadow Environment Minister, Dr Carmen Lawrence, today said the Howard Government would need a complete philosophical reversal if it was to live up to the Prime Minister's commitment given yesterday to implement 'a programme of environment commitment and environment reform'.

"The environment has suffered significant set backs in the Howard Government's first year in office and more was needed than Prime Ministerial rhetoric to correct the Government's disgraceful record," Dr Lawrence said.

Responding to the Prime Minister's comment at the Liberal Party NSW State Council meeting that 'it will be one of my proudest boasts as Prime Minister of this country i fI can go to the next election pointing to a programme of environment commitment and environment reform because that was an area in earlier years where the Liberal and National Parties

lagged,' Dr Lawrence said the Howard Government had been shamelessly pro-development.

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"Whenever a contentious issues is before this Government the environment comes off

second best. The Government does not have a balanced approach and the Prime Minister is deceiving the Australian people if he continues to boast about an environment record that does not exist," Dr Lawrence said.

Dr Lawrence challenged the Prime Minister to live up to his environment rhetoric and reverse the decision to allow the largest volume of woodchips in Australia's history to be exported; develop a strong progressive greenhouse policy; prohibit the expansion of uranium mining in the Kakadu World Heritage area; vastly expand the Green Corps and protect the world heritage values of the Hinchinbrook channel from Keith William's resort development.

"The billion dollars for the environment promised from the Telstra sell off is no longer additional money, but a top up to fill the massive hole left in the environment forward estimates after last year's budget cuts. This was confirmed last week by Environment Minister, Senator Hill, in a Senate Estimate hearing. The Natural Heritage Tnist has become a slush fund aimed at political not environmental objectives," she said.

"Without a philosophical reversal the Howard Government will continue the Liberal and National Parties tradition of passing on a degraded and polluted environment to the next generation", Dr Lawrence said.

Contact : Caroline Tumour 0419 963 486

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