Government defends bureaucrats labelled ‘enviro-cops’ by mining companies
Summary: A QUEENSLAND minister has backed his bureaucrats after claims from business leaders they had been acting like environmental police.....
In its latest state of the sector report, the powerful mining industry also warned the Palaszczuk Government it was time to take its hands off the policy levers.
The report said heavy handed government regulation was the biggest concern of business.
The concerns have been heightened by the prosecution of Linc Energy by the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection over the alleged contamination of a vast area of land near Chinchilla.
The unnamed chief executive in the report said state regulations were “dreadful’’.
“In particular, the Environment Department is acting as policeman rather than collaboratively working with companies to identify and resolve potential issues,’’ the CEO said.
The Government has spent about $13 million on the Linc prosecution case and rehabilitation, and Environment Minister Steven Miles was unapologetic.
“Queenslanders expect the Environment Department to enforce our environmental laws. They do that independent of me, but if sometimes that means they act like environmental police then I support them,’’ he said.
Queensland Resources Council chief executive Ian Macfarlane said the challenge for Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk was to leave the policy levers alone and let the economy grow.
“No one wants to tell a generation of unemployed Queensland kids that for want of policy certainty we let opportunity slip through our fingers,’’ he said.
“Over the past decade the value of Queensland’s resources has tripled. That’s an extraordinary achievement that should see the industry feted as the backbone of the state’s economy.’’