I am extremely concerned that this green paper will result in significant
reductions in environmental protections for the environmentally unique,
beautiful and sensitive north of Australia. The paper refers to removing barriers
to development, using one-stop-shops for environmental approvals, and
removing unnecessary ‘green tape’, which it says is "perceived to impose an
unwelcome burden on business, community organisations or individuals". The
green paper says "environmental assessment processes can cause delays and
involve a range of costs, including those relating to administration and
compliance". These comments indicate that the government believes
environmental protections are an inconvenience to business that should be
removed wherever possible, in order to minimise burden on business and
maximise profits. This will inevitably result in environmental degradation.
The paper also repeatedly mentions the need to build dams, which have well
documented and scientifically proven environmental impacts that result in loss
of biodiversity and potential extinction of species. I believe there should be much
less emphasis on the need to build dams due to their unavoidable and serious
environmental consequences. Environmental impacts of dams include loss of
habitat, loss of environmental flows, barriers to aquatic organism movement,
trapping of important sediment flows, downstream erosion, release of water
which is too cold for aquatic ecosystems, and potential impact on groundwater
I am also concerned about the environmental impact of resource extraction and
potential over-extraction of river flows for resource and agriculture industries.
I believe in providing greater economic opportunity to Australia's North,
especially to underprivileged indigenous communities. This should be focused
on sustainable projects such as tourism opportunities, instead of exploitation
and degradation of unique, beautiful and sensitive ecosystems across northern