The head of Australia’s largest environmental organisation Greenpeace has warned we’re at risk of returning to pre-Fitzgerald Inquiry levels of corruption.

David Ritter told a Media Club lunch that Queensland is effectively a one-party state.

Suzy Wood reports.


Greenpeace’s David Ritter warned he’d be “a bit blunt”.

And he lost no time in slamming the Newman Government, saying its huge majority was muzzling democratic debate.

David Ritter, Greenpeace Australia Pacific CEO: “Concentration of power in a few individuals, an absence of checks and balances and a development-at-any-cost mentality can create the preconditions that are necessary for corruption.”

David Ritter says any chance of proper governance has been lost through the massive job cuts in the public service.

Mr Ritter likened the LNP Government to a big kid at school with the potential to be a bully but says it’s too early to tell whether it will prove to be corrupt.

Mr Ritter also says that alarm bells should be ringing over the fact the LNP has said it’s in the coal business and doesn’t want planning approvals holding things up.

David Ritter, Greenpeace Australia Pacific CEO: “Neither of those things gives you much confidence that the LNP is going to look after the environment in any meaningful way, but we have to hope for the best.”

And he has called on the government to monitor the coal industry which he says represents a potentially terrible fate for the Great Barrier Reef.

Mr Ritter says the government should take heed of a UNESCO report warning that the Reef’s at risk of becoming a “World Heritage Site in Danger”.

David Ritter, Greenpeace Australia Pacific CEO: “Surely, if Colin Barnett’s government can protect Margaret River from coal, Campbell Newman’s government can protect the Great Barrier Reef from coal.”

Mr Ritter says it should not be a choice between economic sustainability and environmental viability. He says both can co-exist.

The Queensland Environment Minister, Andrew Powell, was not available for comment today.

Suzy Wood, QUT News.