Statement made on 17 May 2012 by Senator Elizabeth Hubley
Hon. Elizabeth Hubley:
Honourable senators, my question is for the Leader of the Government in the Senate. The National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy, an arm's-length federal advisory panel, recently learned that its budget has been cut and that it will be shut down. For the past 24 years, the NRTEE has provided independent research and analysis on a range of important environmental and economic issues. Their most recent and now final report, released a day before the budget was tabled, was on the life cycle approach to production and was completed in response to a specific request from Environment Minister Peter Kent. Initially when the government was questioned in the other place about the elimination of the NRTEE, the response from Minister Kent was that the round table was no longer necessary. This was an interesting response, considering that the agency had just completed a report specifically requested by the minister.
Even more interesting was that we learned earlier this week from Minister Baird about the real reason the government has eliminated the NRTEE. According to him, the round table had its funding cut because it was producing reports that the government did not like. Is this true? Is this just another example of the government's preference for ideological rather than evidence-based decision making?
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