Senate debates

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Questions without Notice

Environment: Koalas

2:46 pm

Photo of Stephen ConroyStephen Conroy (Victoria, Australian Labor Party, Deputy Leader of the Government in the Senate) Share this | Hansard source

These populations have been listed as a vulnerable species. This listing gives the koala an extra layer of protection. The koala is, as I have said, a national icon and national protection provides for consistent treatment of the koala under national environmental law and standards, rather than the previous state by state based approach. Any new developments likely to have a significant impact on koalas in Queensland, New South Wales and the ACT must be assessed and approved under national environmental law. As a result of listing, a national recovery plan is being developed for koalas within Queensland, New South Wales and the ACT. The recovery plan will be multijurisdictional and will present a stronger scientific basis for the protection of the species. The Australian government has been leading a national environmental law reform process through COAG. The COAG agreement is about streamlining the processes to give ministers answers on environmental decisions in a better time frame. It is about the state governments having to raise their standards to the Commonwealth standards. This Labor government has absolutely no intention of allowing any state to use the COAG process as a way of lowering environmental standards. (Time expired)


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