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Beazley's plan for the environment: bureaucrats win, local community groups lose.

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Kim Beazley has finally confirmed Labor’s agenda for the environment - a massive shift in funding away from community groups and back to the bureaucracy in Canberra.

Under John Howard, more than 11,000 community groups all over Australia have benefited from grants from the $2.5 billion Natural Heritage Trust.

Kim Beazley’s statement reveals that Labor believes this grant based funding is "ineffective."

And his alternative?

Kim Beazley will rip money away from community groups and "return funding to core departmental funds."

He also plans to waste $4.5 million on setting up another level of bureaucracy - an Office of Sustainable Development - within the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet.

And that’s not counting the bill for yet another layer of bureaucrats under Labor’s promised Commissioner for the Environment.

The Australian public now has a clear choice on environmental issues; Kim Beazley’s approach to employ more public servants to write reports about environmental problems; or ●

John Howard’s approach of investing in community-based efforts to actually fix the problems. ●

Kim Beazley’s belated interest in land clearing completely lacks credibility.

Kim Beazley has not mentioned land clearing once in Parliament in the past five and a half years.

During that time Peter Beattie has allowed the clearing of around 2 million hectares of land in Queensland without a single word of protest from Kim Beazley.

The Howard Government has offered Queensland unprecedented financial assistance to help introduce sensible and sustainable land clearing limits. Mr Beattie has consistently refused to accept any responsibility.

When Kim Beazley floated a proposal to offer Commonwealth funding under a Labor government, Peter

Beattie welcomed the offer but said "We intend to stick to our policies."

The community groups across Australia whose funding is now at risk will condemn Kim Beazley’s outdated centralised approach to environmental issues. His statement offers nothing new in terms of leadership or vision.

John Howard has delivered record funding for the environment.

Under Labor, in the six years from 1990/91 to 1995/96, Australia spent $0.9 billion through the environment portfolio.

Under John Howard, in the since years since 1995/96, Australia has spent almost $2.8 billion - a threefold increase in environmental works.



Monday, October 15, 2001

Media Contact: Belinda Huppatz 08 82377920 or 0419 258364