Statement by Carmen Lawrence, Bob Debus, Joan Kirner and Rod Welford*
Labor has a proud history of protecting Australia’s most precious places. Thirty years ago Federal Labor protected the Franklin River. It has protected the Daintree, Kakadu and the Fraser Island World Heritage Areas.
Across the states, Labor has built a National Park system which is the envy of the world. The Blue Mountains in NSW, Lake Eyre in South Australia, Kulla (McIllwraith Range) on Cape York Peninsula in Queensland, the Otways and Errinundra in Victoria and Mt Lesueur in Western Australia.
This is our legacy and one we must defend. Australia’s National Parks are one of Labor’s greatest achievements.They are under threat like never before.
The Queensland, NSW and Victorian Governments plan to graze and log our National Parks. Queensland is winding back protection of rivers and bushland and business groups are advocating handing the Federal decision making powers, that protected the Franklin and the Daintree, back to the states.
Labor must take the current opportunity to strengthen the national environment laws.
We encourage the Federal Labor Government to protect the ALP’s proud history of environmental protections by:
- Including a “National Parks” trigger in the Federal environment laws
- Removing the possibility of Commonwealth decision powers to be delegated to the states and
- Reinstating rights to challenge the merits of ministerial decisions in the Federal environment laws.
*Carmen Lawrence is a former WA Premier and former ALP President, Bob Debus is a former NSW Environment Minister and former Federal Minister, Joan Kirner is a former Victorian Premier and former Victorian Conservation Minister and Rod Welford is a former Queensland Environment Minister and Attorney General.