ALP backs federal EPA
The ALP has promised to set up a national environmental protection authority if it wins the upcoming election.
The Opposition unveiled a range of plans to return conservation controls to federal hands.
Labor’s policy statement says the Commonwealth must take hold of environmental assessment powers to “repair the enormous damage that's been done to Australia's environmental protection framework”, by the Coalition Government.
It slammed the Federal Government’s agreements for environmental assessments with state and territory governments, which the LNP has been plugging as a “one-stop shop” arrangement.
“[The] Abbott-Turnbull government has shown over the last three years in office that it has no regard for our precious environment or those who stand up to protect it,” the policy statement said.
ALP environment spokesperson Mark Butler said Labor would take control of environmental approvals at “no impost on the Commonwealth budget”.
“Over the past three years we've seen a government trying to hand over long-standing environmental protection powers that the Commonwealth has had really for more than 40 years, under governments of both persuasions, to state governments,” Mr Butler said.
“We will reaffirm the role of the national government to protect matters of national environmental significance and we'll reverse those attempts to hand those powers back to the states.”
Mr Butler said Labor wanted to “explore options for an independent authority to exercise the Commonwealth's environmental protection powers”.
“We are though very committed to the idea of introducing greater transparency, independence and public confidence in the system.”
Labor has also pledged to re-establish the Environmental Defenders Offices.