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Media Release
Senator the Hon Robert Hill
Leader of the Government in the Senate
Minister for the Environment and Heritage

15 February 2001

Labor's environment "policy" - still waiting....

Federal Environment Minister Robert Hill says Labor has signalled that it will back red-tape and bureaucracy instead of the efforts of thousands of environment volunteers if it wins office.

Senator Hill says Mr Beazley's so-called "leadership" statement on the environment is nothing more than an uncosted list of motherhood statements. .

"The sketchy details Mr Beazley unveiled today are the same old Labor - spend more money on bureaucracy at the expense of important on-ground work. .

"Labor is all talk, no action - and even their talk is nothing new. .

"Today's announcement about an environment commissioner was first floated at Labor's national conference in July last year and it's been on Labor's website ever since. If delivered it would add yet another layer of bureaucracy to the environment portfolio as Mr Beazley has already promised an Office of Sustainable Development. .

"Our government has invested funding in almost 10,000 community projects across Australia. Local communities and catchment regions are where the money should be spent - not on more offices in Canberra." .

Senator Hill says Mr Beazley has again failed the test of financial accountability. .

"What we've seen today is another Beazley wish-list with one key factor missing - there's no mention of how much it would cost and how Labor would pay for it.

"The Howard Government is spending twice as much on natural resource management than Labor did in its last year of office. .

"Will Labor spend more or less on the environment? Will Labor spend more or less on greenhouse? And where will the money come from?"

Senator Hill says Mr Beazley has wimped out on the key issue of landclearing.

"If Labor was truly committed to tackling Australia's environmental issues why does Mr Beazley continue to remain silent on Peter Beattie's appalling record on land clearing in Queensland?

"His silence on this issue in the lead-up to Saturday's Queensland election is proof that he has failed the leadership test.

"All we get from Labor is another uncosted promise to financially compensate States to reduce landclearing.

"Like his uncosted promises on health, education and aged care, no-one believes Mr Beazley will ever deliver on the environment."

Thursday, February 15
Contact: Belinda Huppatz 08 8237 7920 or 0419 258364

Commonwealth of Australia