Cassy O’Connor MP | Greens Leader
Labor and the Liberals have today united to drastically cut the time allocated in Budget Estimates to scrutinise the key government portfolios of Environment, Parks, Aboriginal Affairs and, critically, Climate Change.
Environment and Parks are separate portfolios that have been shunted together for Estimates, and then had the time for questions cut by Labor and the Liberals.
Last year, five hours were allocated in total to the portfolios of Environment and Parks, but this year there will be a paltry two. Labor tried to cut even that allocation to 1.5 hours.
In NAIDOC Week, the major parties have united to deliver a 30 minute scrutiny of the issues facing lutruwita/Tasmania’s First People. Aboriginal children in out of home care, trashing heritage in takayna, failure to return land or delivery a Treaty – which of these issues are going to be missed in questions to the Minister?
Climate Change – the portfolio the Premier has taken responsibility for, and the one that represents the greatest existential threat to humanity – has a mere 30 minutes allocated. That is not the leadership future generations of Tasmanians deserve.
While the Liberals haven’t seen a forest they didn’t want to log, a National Park they didn’t want to privatise, or Aboriginal Heritage they wouldn’t happily drive over, Labor - the so-called Opposition - are silent on these matters getting no time for effective scrutiny.
We hope, given their lack of interest, Labor will have the grace to let the Greens use the small amount of time in Estimates in these portfolios to scrutinise the government.
Nearly 2,000 people signed a petition to protect Tasmania’s National Parks from private developments, and thousands more have signed petitions to protect the island’s wildlife and ban thermal coal mining. In axing the Estimates schedule, Labor and the Liberals have thumbed their nose at these Tasmanians.
Today’s agreement by the Liberals and Labor says everything you need to know about these parties’ priorities.