Here in the Illawarra we have a deep connection to the natural environment through the coastal landscape and the rich forests along the Illawarra Escarpment.
That is why I was disappointed that the Berejiklian Government has decided to scrap the Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH). NSW is now the only state in Australia without an environment department.
This announcement is bad news for our community and our precious environment.
I believe that this decision threatens the health of our rivers, oceans, animals, plants and people.
The change will mean that for the first time in many decades there will no longer be a dedicated state government agency looking after the state’s natural and built environment. Responsibilities previously undertaken by the OEH will be subsumed into a larger Department of Planning and Industry.
This move brings into question the ability of the Office of Environment to provide frank and fearless independent advice on the management of the environment in NSW.
Managing the environment in NSW is an enormous job and cannot be done responsibly from the back offices of the Department of Planning and Industry.
I remain committed to fighting for our natural environment and will be working to ensure our national parks, water and threatened species are protected from development.