Democrats Environment Policy Welcomed

October 30, 2001

National environment group, Friends of the Earth Australia (FoEA), has welcomed the launch of the Democrats environment policies.

"While the environment is clearly an issue for the electorate, it continues to be under represented in terms of debate coming from the two main parties. The commitments given today by the Democrats are a refreshing and significant contribution to the election debate" said Cam Walker, national liaison officer for FoE Australia.

"There is clearly a need to shift national environmental policy from a piecemeal to a systematic approach; and the Democrats have given indications that this is their intention in the policies which have been announced. This has been highlighted by their application of triple bottom line approaches to economic policy, and plans to develop forward thinking responses to the imperatives of environmental modernisation of industry and the ramifications of climate change".

FoEA welcomes key features of the policies including commitments to:

  • Respond proactively to the threats from invasive species;
  • Greatly improve water quality in river systems (including ensuring ecological flows and placing caps on water extraction);
  • End broad acre land clearing and woodchipping of native forests;
  • End Australia¹s involvement in all aspects of the nuclear industry;Enhance protection for the Great Barrier Reef and other marine environments.

It is vital that in the 21st century, governments apply ecological principles to all aspects of planning, infrastructure development and economic activity. Accordingly, the following Democrat proposals are to be commended:

  • A commitment to ratify the Kyoto Principle, and to move beyond this in terms of reducing greenhouse gas emissions;
  • Proposals to advance ?clean¹ industry;
  • A proposal for a Common Transport Fund, applying sustainability criteria to allocation of transport funds;
  • Active promotion of alternative and renewable technologies;
  • Plans to encourage local electricity generation;
  • Reform of the Building Code of Australia to encourage more sustainable development;
  • An increase in the renewable energy targets to 10% by 2010.

"This is a pragmatic but workable policy framework which would lead to tangible improvements in the health of Australia¹s natural environment while creating the groundwork for a shift to more sustainable systems of economic activity in the future."

For further information contact:

Cam Walker
National Liaison Officer
Mob: 0419 338 047