Enviro bill dismay

30 Apr, 2003 10:00 PM
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A DECISION by State Government to send a controversial environmental protection bill to a standing committee has been greeted with dismay.

While opponents of the bill were pleased it would be examined by a committee they were shocked to hear public submissions would not be accepted.

PGA natural resource management director David Klemm said it was unusual for a standing committee not to invite public comment.

"It's clear the Government wants to get this bill through Parliament as soon as possible," he said.

Mr Klemm said the decision not to allow public submissions was unusual for a government supposedly for greater freedom of individuals and more transparency.

He said the 130 amendments in the Environmental Protection Amendment Bill 2002 weren't necessarily to make it more acceptable to farmers.

He said the fact the bill was being sent to a committee with so many amendments, many from Government itself, vindicated the PGA's view from the start that the bill had been badly drawn up and illogical in places.

"It is incomprehensible to the finest legal minds in the State," he said. The whole thing needs to be rewritten.

"Aspects of it are disastrous for the farming community."

Mr Klemm said retrospectivity of the bill to June 2002 was also unfair and section 112A (1) ruled out a right of defense under prosecution.

The section reads: "An individual is not excused from answering questions or producing a document when required to do so under Part 6 on the grounds that to do so might tend to incriminate the individual or make the individual liable to penalty."

The standing committee, which would report to parliament by May 16, included Peter Foss, Liberal, John Ford, Labor (chairman), Giz Watson, Greens, Kate Doust, Labor and Bill Stretch, Liberal.

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