It is my view that national parks are for families and nature. They are not farms, mine sites or logging coupes. However, because Labor understands that protecting our environment while ensuring that our economy can continue to develop is important, we have been working to deliver a simpler environmental protection system that has clearer standards and which ensures our nation has both a healthy environment and a strong economy.
Unfortunately, not everyone seems to share that view. Too often, we have seen Liberal National and State Governments treating them as though they are a resource to be exploited whether by introducing cattle grazing, logging, mining or, as is the case in NSW, to introduce legislation which would allow hunting. The community is right to be concerned that the precious places they have been enjoying are under threat, particularly when viewed in the light of these recent decisions.
I share these concerns and I’ll be working with the Minister for the Environment, Tony Burke, to make sure we take whatever steps we can to curb the enthusiasm of some state governments for making decisions which endanger the future of our national parks.
As I see it, there are two futures on offer in September; a Labor Government committed to working towards the protection of our natural heritage or a Liberal Coalition with a predisposition for emulating the policy path of their State counterparts.