Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP | Greens Environment and Biodiversity spokesperson
During Budget Estimates, Environment Minister Roger Jaensch announced the Government would be separating the EPA from DPIPWE into what he claimed would be an independent state authority. The Greens and coastal communities have been waiting for more details.
Today, the Minister admitted the ‘new look EPA’ will bear a strong resemblance to the existing model, which is currently failing communities and the environment.
Worse still, Minister Jaensch confirmed the “even-more-independent EPA” will continue to be bound by a Ministerial Statement of Expectation.
Being bound by the Minister is not independence. ‘Structural’ independence of the EPA means nothing if high-level policy directions remain.
It is also concerning the Government appears intent on transferring some responsibilities from the EPA into DPIPWE. The Liberal Government has over years acted to exert inappropriate political influence over this department, which is headed by a former Liberal Government Chief of Staff with a history of providing political cover for ministers.
We are concerned the proposed changes may make the government’s administration of the Environmental Management and Pollution Control Act 1994 less independent, instead of more.
Did Mr Jaensch’s commitment to a legislated separation of government policy and ministerial influence over the EPA even last the Estimates’ week?
Coastal communities are furious about the Gutwein Government’s secret plans for expansion, and deeply concerned about JBS moving in to capitalise on our weakly-regulated industry. Community and consumer concerns won’t be alleviated by greenwashing from this Minister.
Tasmanians deserve far better than Minister Jaensch’s casual and fluid relationship with the truth. They deserve independent environmental regulation to protect our marine environment, and truth from Ministers of the Crown.