Burke slams Newman over koalas

Blainey Woodham

FEDERAL Environment Minister Tony Burke has hit out at the Queensland Premier's take on koala protection with a media release titled "environmental vandal".

Mr Burke said on Tuesday Campbell Newman had, in a fortnight, reversed "his own rhetoric about environmental law reform" by criticising new laws as "needless duplication" and "mindless green tape".

"Only a fortnight ago Mr Newman was offering to simplify processing by having Queensland enforce the national environmental standards. Now he wants to declare war on the same standards he was offering to enforce," he said.

"The science is overwhelming that the Queensland koala has taken a massive hit over the past 20 years.

"Campbell Newman may be happy for Queensland to be a place where koalas only live in zoos, but I am not.

"Only a few weeks ago COAG agreed on a process to streamline environmental approvals. The agreement was about getting rid of red tape, not abandoning science and lowering standards.

"Campbell Newman was in agreement with the state premiers and the Prime Minister that the state governments had the capacity to deliver environmental assessments and approvals to the standards required by national environmental law.

"For an about face like this in the first weeks of the job Campbell Newman must have some big plans for the bulldozer.

"Occasionally people question environmental protections which protect species no one has ever heard of. Mr Newman seems to have decided the koala is in the same category."

But the government has moved to reaffirm Mr Newman's commitment to the protection and sustainability of Queensland's koalas.

Environment and Heritage Protection Minister Andrew Powell said the government would honour its promise to commit $26.5 million to protecting the species.

"The Newman-led Government is committed to decisive action to halt the decline in koala numbers and has committed to a range of measures to ensure long-term protection of koalas and their habitat, without instruction from our Federal counterparts," he said.

"While we will continue to breathe life into the construction and resource industries, we appreciate that this cannot happen at the expense of this iconic species."

"In light of the fact we have clearly outlined a comprehensive strategy for protection and rehabilitation of Queensland's koalas, Mr Burke's announcement on Tuesday demonstrates another instance of the federal government trying to replicate laws that are already in place at a state level."

Topics:  campbell newman green tape koalas tony burke

Jury discharged in trial of man on sex assault charges

A jury has been discharged in the Lismore District Court trial.

47-year-old accused of offences during massages he gave to two women

Destructive supercell could be headed to our region

The North Coast Storm Chasers posted this image along with the warning.

North Coast Storm Chasers are predicting severe weather conditions

Fiery end to160kmh pursuit

Police generic

Police chase comes dramatic end in South Lismore

Local Partners

Hugh Laurie receives star on Hollywood Walk of Fame

Hugh Laurie on the Hollywood Walk of Fame

Hugh Laurie and his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame

Paul Capsis set to bring the music to Tropical Fruits

HIT: Paul Capsis accepts his award for Best Performance in an Australian Contemporary Concert at the 6th Annual Helpmann Awards in Sydney, Monday, July, 31, 2006.

With a show called Addicted to the Nightlife

Blake Lively hosts 40th party for Ryan Reynolds

Blake Lively throws husband Ryan Reynold's 40th birthday bash

What's on the big screen this week

Benedict Cumberbatch in a scene from the movie Doctor Strange.

MARVEL'S latest superhero Doctor Strange makes his debut.

Trump 'worked like hell' to pick up John Travolta's wife

John Travolta and Kelly Preston

Trump wrote comments in tribute to Travolta's son Jett

RECAP: The Bachelorette S2E11 - top three battle it out

The Bachelorette finalists, from left, Matty Johnson, Lee Elliott and Jake Ellis.

It's Matty, Lee or Jake. Who will Georgia choose?

Tough times in CBD: Woolies says goodbye Ipswich

Woolworths in the Ipswich Mall.Photo: Rob Williams / The Queensland Times

The last day of trading will be January 1

Look at me! Kath and Kim home up for sale

Kath and Kim from the iconic Aussie TV series.

'Crack open the Baileys and grab a box of BBQ Shapes'

Hinterland horse stud passed in for $8.25 million

UNREAL: This Maleny estate is incredible.

12-bedroom hinterland horse stud still available

Hit songwriter's Noosa mansion on market

SPECIAL PLACE: The Cintamani estate is going to tender, marketed by Tom Offermann Real Estate.

Is this Queensland's best property?

Kiwi siblings snap up Dotcom mansion for $32.5m

The new toy company owners of the Coatesville mansion want replace any controversy with positivity and fun. Photo / Barfoot and Thompson

The trio paid $32.5 million for the property in June

New $200 million development will create 580 jobs

Cassie And Josh with baby Alfie and daughter Andee. They have bought at new Lennox Head development Epiq.

Majority of new positions will be given to Northern Rivers locals