Australian news, and some related international items

Queensland, not the National government could control uranium and environment decisions

exclamation-Qld uranium mines could become state issue, 19 Nov 13 THE Queensland government could be given power to assess the impact of uranium mines in the state under proposed federal changes to environmental approvals.

The revelation emerged on Monday as the environment department was grilled by opposition and Greens senators about the federal government’s plan to create a “one-stop-shop” for environmental approvals.

The Queensland and NSW governments have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Abbott government over the plan, which aims to deliver faster approvals and eliminate regulatory duplication.

Opposition to the policy has been fierce, with critics claiming it will erode crucial environmental protections by handing federal powers to the states.

Australian Greens senator Larissa Waters on Monday quizzed officials from the environment department about whether the Commonwealth would retain power over nuclear activity under the proposed changes.

She said Environment Minister Greg Hunt had previously indicated nuclear activity would be “quarantined” under the changes, and asked if this was still the case.

Newly appointed department secretary Gordon de Brouwer told a Senate estimates committee that nuclear activity was “approved by the Commonwealth minister, and assessed under this agreement by the state”.

“So this does give away the assessment of uranium mining to Queensland?” Senator Waters asked about the proposed agreements.

“Yes, it allows the state to undertake those assessments, subject to the agreement,” Mr de Brouwer replied……

November 19, 2013 - Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics, Queensland

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