Greens fret for the Commissioner for the Environment

johnboy 21 August 2012

The Greens’ Shane Rattenbury is expressing concern about the ACT’s Commissioner for the Environment:

The ACT Greens say the recent downgrading of the Commissioner for the Environment’s job classification as yet another attempt by the Government to weaken the office’s important oversight role.

“The position has not only been downgraded while other senior executive positions in ACT Directorates are being upgraded but other Government actions are also undermining the Commissioner,” said Greens Environment Spokesperson Shane Rattenbury.

“The failure to release the 2009 review into the role, and the reluctance to table reports authored by the Commissioner – including on energy use in ACT Government directorates – are only two further examples of the Government undermining the role of the Commissioner.

“On top of this, we’ve seen a series of weak or non-existent responses to many of the Commissioner’s recommendations, including the 2010 Investigation into the Government’s tree management practices and the 2011 Canberra Nature Park Investigation.

“The Government’s behaviour to date suggests that it either feels threatened by the Commissioner’s oversight powers or it simply doesn’t care enough about environmental sustainability to take the office’s work seriously.

“The Government is slowly but surely chipping away at the Commissioner’s independence.

“Take, for example, the recent incorporation of the position into the Environment and Sustainable Development Directorate’s (ESDD) structure charts, or the fact that the ESDD’s CFO was sent to appear before Estimates hearings this year while the acting Commissioner was on leave.

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