O’Farrell Government’s war on the environment continues

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The O’Farrell Government will move the Office of Environment & Heritage out of the Premier’s Department this month, the Labor Opposition has revealed today. Shadow Minister for the Environment Luke Foley said that this confirms the O’Farrell Government’s utter disregard for environmental protection.

"In Opposition, Mr O’Farrell pretended to be all things to all people. He promised to protect our environment in his ‘Contract with NSW’. But his first act as Premier was to abolish the Department of Environment, Climate Change & Water.

“At the time, Mr O'Farrell claimed that this ‘elevated’ environmental issues because they ‘will be given immediate and direct attention by the Premier’ as the Office of Environment and Heritage would be in the Premier’s own department.

“The Premier has now signed a secretive ‘Administrative Arrangements Order’ moving the Office of Environment and Heritage out of the Department of Premier and Cabinet, effective 24 February.

“The O’Farrell Government has spent the past three years reversing the conservation gains of recent decades,” said Mr Foley.

In its relentless war on the environment, the O’Farrell Government has:

• Weakened Labor’s historic native vegetation and threatened species protections
• Passed legislation to allow hunting in national parks
• Allowed grazing in national parks and horse riding in wilderness areas
• Pushed through a moratorium on marine parks and moved to reduce sanctuary zones within existing marine parks
• Gutted the State’s climate change policies and programs

“Three years ago Labor warned that the abolition of the Department of the Environment would mean the environment would not have a strong voice inside government.

“This, unfortunately, has come to pass. The National Party has run riot, trashing environmental protections, while the Premier and his Environment Minister have stood idly by.

“The fox has truly been left in charge of the henhouse. A future Labor Government will restore an Environment Department, so that environmental protection is once again a priority for the State,” said Mr Foley.