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Wednesday, 17 June 2020
Page: 4771


Ms THWAITES (Jagajaga) (13:48): I rise to condemn this government's failure to look after our environment. Australia is facing an extinction crisis, which has been compounded by the recent national bushfires. More than one billion animals perished, 12 million hectares of land burned and lives, homes and livelihoods were lost. But the Morrison government has been slow on recovery and has failed to protect our iconic species. And now the Prime Minister is trying to use the cover of the COVID crisis to do away with environmental regulation. But we know it's not regulation that's the problem here; it's the government's public sector job cutting that has meant more than 40 per cent of projects are being decided late, putting both jobs and the environment at risk.

The government isn't even prepared to wait for the result of its own long-overdue review of the EPBC Act. We've been warned by scientists that the EPBC Act fails to take adequate account of the biggest threat we all face—climate change. This means some of our most important and iconic sites and species are at risk—sites like the Great Barrier Reef where climate change is the leading cause of decline.

We know this government has an issue with listening to and comprehending science. It's a flaw they seem to be able to overcome when it came to dealing with the pandemic. They must do the same when it comes to dealing with climate change and the environment. Otherwise they're putting at risk the places we all love. They're putting at risk jobs and they're putting at risk our lives.