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Government confusion and disarray on environmental issues



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FR ED C H A N EY M P MEDIA RELEASE

Member for Pearce Shadow Minister for the Environment

GOVERNMENT CONFUSION AND DISARRAY ON ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES 37/91

"Disagreement this week between the Federal Government and conservation organisations flows from the failure of the Hawke Government's approach to the business of government in an holistic manner," the Federal Opposition spokesman for the Environment,

Fred Chaney said today.

Mr Chaney was speaking at an Environmental workshop held in Pinjarra organised by the Brand Division of the Liberal Party.

"The expected and necessarily fragmented special pleading by conservation, industry and ot^er groups in the community is not the cause of the problem," he said.

"The problem lies in the fact that the same fragmentation and special pleading is reflected within the organisation of the Hawke Government.

"instead of Cabinet imposing a coherent framework within which departments work, Ministers and their departmental fiefdome fight with a single issue approach which guarantees inconsistent decision making.

"in the case of the environment, short term political imperatives are usually the ultimate determinants.

"That is why there is no trust in the system.

"This failure of government, which is part of the widening pattern ot breakdown w i t n m tne hawjce Government, is reflected in many current problem areas in the Environment portfolio.

"The Resource Security proposal announced in the March economic statement has yet to see the light of day.

"Will Kelly or Griffiths win the struggle being waged by their bureaucrats. Will small projects get security?

"Apparently not, despite Griffiths' efforts.

"Will the five stage process include extensive environmental safeguards put forward by the timber industry be covered? If so will the legislation be workable? We might see answers in November if the Government's legislative program can be believed.

But, on the Government's record, we might not.

"The E.S.D. process runs the risk of producing multi-million dollar cost generalities.

COMMONWEALTH PARLIAMENTARY LIBRARY MICAH

FRED C H A N E Y MP

"Without clear environmental or economic objectives to guide the working groups any view is possible within the process* The Government is too frightened of offending both business and green organisations to disclose its bottom line objectives. As a result

it is offending everyone by its failure to show leadership. The risk is another costly failure.

"At Senate Estimates Committee hearings this week the Government's E.P.A. proposal was shown to be almost shapeless. All that is clear is that the Government has stepped back from its preĀ­ election assertion of Federal control. There will be something labelled an "E.P.A." but what it is, what it will do and how it will do it, is still largely a mystery.

"The present confusion pleases neither environmentalists nor business.

"The over-layed decision making process which again, is satisfying no one, is in need of reform.

"But the most fundamental reform required is an injection of clear objectives by governments State and Federal.

"Only this will ensure clear and consistent decision making.

"An holistic view would mean that protection of species, soil, air and water quality and frugal use of resources were built into every activity as a matter of course.

"It would also mean the urgent pursuit of job creating investment particularly in areas of natural advantage like resources, tourism and services.

"Conservationists have turned on the Government for fiddling while the environment burns.

"Sadly that is consistent with the Government's behaviour across the range of portfolios.

"The Hawke Government is fiddling as Australia burns and the unemployed are thrown on the fire."

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Perth 7th September, 1991

Contact: Keith Kessell (09) 385 9430