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New environment legislation would prevent damming of the Franklin: Labor and Brown either ignorant or wilfully misleading.

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Media Release

Senator Meg Lees

Australian Democrats

Parliamentary Leader


July 16, 1999



New environment legislation would prevent damming of the Franklin: Labor and Brown either ignorant or wilfully misleading


The new Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation bill negotiated by the Democrats and passed by the Federal Parliament recently would make it much easier to prevent the damming of the Franklin, according to Australian Democrats’ Leader, Senator Meg Lees.


Senator Lees is in Tasmania meeting with environment groups, welfare agencies and Tasmanian Democrats, talking about tax reform and the new environment legislation.


“The Franklin River is an icon for the environment movement right across Australia - indeed the world - and it’s important for people to hear the truth - as opposed to the deliberate misrepresentations of Senator Brown and the ALP,” said Senator Lees.


Legal advice from the Chief General Counsel released recently clearly showed that no government would be able to get away with damming the Franklin under the new scheme. In fact, under the new laws, Lake Pedder would never have been lost.


“Under the new legislation, the statutory Management Plan for the World Heritage area that includes the Franklin would have to be changed if any development was proposed. Then it would have to go to the Federal Minister for the Environment for approval. If the Minister let it through, it would then be disallowed in the Senate. This is a vast improvement on the status quo.


“As well, there is now the ability for environment groups to litigate - to bring an action before the courts themselves in defence of the environment. This includes taking out injunctions against potentially damaging activities.


Senator Lees said that the new Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation bill has vastly improved protective power compared to the World Heritage Properties Conservation Act, which did not demand an Environmental Impact Assessment, did not empower the Environment Minister to set conditions, had no offence provisions and offered no third party injunctive rights


“Nothing Bob Brown and the ALP say can alter the truth - and that is that the Commonwealth’s powers have been increased, not decreased, under this legislation,” said Senator Lees.


“I am very much looking forward to the first time environmentalists use their expanded powers provided by the new legislation,” concluded Senator Lees.


For comment: John Schumann 0419 867 876



rw  1999-07-19  12:16