The move would ensure that Queensland premier Campbell Newman would have to adhere to federal environmental legislation in determinations about the future of the Great Barrier Reef, according to Greens Senator Larissa Waters.
“After more than two years of fighting against handing federal environmental approval powers to the states, since Labor first proposed the plan, we can finally breathe a sigh of relief,” she said.
“Tony Abbott’s one-stop shop would have left Campbell ‘we’re-in-the-coal business’ Newman in complete control over the Great Barrier Reef and we’re so glad to have been able to avert the environmental disaster that would have been.”
Waters said the Greens now had the numbers in the Senate to protect federal environment laws from what they perceive as Abbott’s “one-stop-shop”, which would have “wound back environment protection in Australia by more than 30 years”
“We’re also proud to have secured improvements to the terms of reference for the senate inquiry into Queensland, which has just passed the Senate with our support,” she said.
The Green’s amendments include extending the senate inquiry into Queensland so that it can look at coal seam gas approvals of the former Bligh government, which were allegedly issued subject to political and industry interference.
“We’re pleased that not only have we protected national environment protection … but to have also secured an investigation into the environmental attacks of the Newman Government and the dodgy coal seam gas approvals of the Bligh government,” Waters said.
Association of Mining and Exploration Companies CEO Simon Bennison said it is "extremely disappointing" that the Greens and the Palmer Untied Party are "reversing the inroads the Federal Coalition, and the previous Labor government, have made to reducing red tape and streamlining the approvals processes".
“The announcement of the deal struck between the Greens and the PUP to block the one-stop-shop is creating uncertainty and instability for business investment decisions," he said.
“The PUP has in the past supported the one-stop-shop for environmental approvals, which has had bipartisan support.
“AMEC has been a strong advocate for streamlining the approvals process through the delegation of Federal assessment and approval powers under the EPBC Act to accredited States and Territories through the bi-lateral agreements process.
“The Coalition’s one-stop-shop must go ahead. It will improve the efficiency of the approvals process, removing the significant duplications and costs, whilst also maintaining high environmental standards. This is critical for Australia’s international competitiveness."