As the pressure around the controversial environmental law reforms on the agenda at this week’s COAG meeting builds, lawyers, legal academics and legal organisations from around Australia have lodged an urgent letter with Prime Minister Gillard, calling on her to prevent the weakening of Australia’s environment laws.
If the planned law reform lobbied for by the Business Council of Australia goes ahead, it would see federal environment assessment and approval powers handed to state governments – a move lawyers say would set environmental protection in Australia back 40 years.
“This is an urgent intervention from lawyers around the country, calling on Prime Minister Gillard not to abandon federal responsibilities to our iconic wildlife and wild places,” said Environment Defenders Office (Vic) CEO and lawyer, Brendan Sydes..
“We are facing an extinction crisis, and now more than ever, we need the Commonwealth to uphold its responsibility to protect our environment, rather than allowing the states open slather on environmentally damaging development.”
The letter is signed by lecturers and academics from Australia’s eminent university law faculties, public interest and environmental law centres, and legal practitioners from around the country.