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Big mines need scrutiny not tick and flick

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Senator Larissa Waters Senator for Queensland

Media release

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Big mines need scrutiny not tick and flick

The Australian Greens today urged the new Environment Minister to properly assess coal and coal seam gas projects rather than rushing them through under pressure from the big mining companies.

"We're talking about huge mining and gas projects that will cause irreparable damage to our Great Barrier Reef, valuable farming land and the world's climate," Senator Larissa Waters, Australian Greens environment spokesperson, said.

"It would be environmentally reckless to rush these assessments, especially with massive gaps in information, already limited independent scrutiny of proponents' claims, and Tony Abbott threatening to slash even more staff from the federal Environment Department.

"In the case of the Abbot Point coal port expansion, the dumping site for dredge spoil in the Great Barrier Reef is still unknown, so rushing a decision without that fundamental information would have massive implications for the Reef, and the tourism and fishing industries - and leave open a legal challenge.

"The already under-resourced federal Environment Department needs the time, adequate staffing levels and the support to do its job, not Ministerial and business pressure to fast-track scrutiny, and not the threat of Tony Abbott's public service cuts hanging over its head.

"Our environment laws should not be just a tick and flick for the big mining companies, and the Greens will continue to be a strong voice in federal Parliament to strengthen our environment laws and protect our Reef," Senator Waters said.

Contact - Monique Vandeleur 0419 626 725