Environment groups slam NSW parliament 'reform'

Issue 

Environment groups slam NSW parliament 'reform'

SYDNEY — Environment groups have attacked a proposal to "reform" the NSW upper house put forward by NSW Labor treasurer Michael Egan.

Egan has proposed a deadlock provision which would allow the government to call a joint sitting of the Legislative Assembly and Legislative Council if the council twice rejects a lower house bill.

If the government has a large enough majority in the lower house, it could override the opposition of the upper house to pass legislation.

The state government intends to hold a referendum on its proposal at the September local government elections.

Noel Plumb, executive officer of the NSW National Parks Association, said, "The Egan deadlock proposal is not about simplifying the upper house ballot or improving policy-making mechanisms; it is simply a power grab by a smug new government".

Other groups attacking the proposal include the NSW Nature Conservation Council, the Friends of the Earth and the Total Environment Centre. The Total Environment Centre's Jeff Angel said environment groups will campaign vigorously against the proposal.