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Government riding roughshod over civil society – Front Harsien ODZ

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Government riding roughshod over civil society - Front Harsien ODZFront Harsien ODZ has condemned, what it describes as “the absolutist way through which the Government is pushing through three new laws regulating planning and environmental protection without adequate consultation as required by the Aarhus convention of which Malta is a signatory.”

Front Harsien ODZ said that it considers the 24 hour notice given to NGOs to confirm their participation in a two hour discussion on the three laws as “an insult to civil society.”

The Front said that, “the Environment Bill is 76 pages long with 86 clauses, the new Planning Bill is 98 pages long with 105 clauses and the bill on the new environment and planning tribunal is 50 pages long with 55 clauses. It is impossible to expect civil society to be in a position of reading through these documents in a couple of days.”

Front Harsien ODZ insisted that the way the Government is rushing through its agenda without real and effective consultation is in breach of the Aarhus Convention which guarantees the right to participate in environmental decision-making.

The Front called on the Government to postpone the discussion on all three laws until after the Summer recess and to initiate a proper consultation process on the proposed laws which contain a number of controversial proposals “which merit a full public consultation exercise which should take over a period of months not a couple hours.”

Front Harsien ODZ concluded by saying that it will be participating in today’s meeting of parliament’s committee for planning and the environment to voice its concern on the “absolutist way the Government is weakening the country’s environmental legislation by introducing lax laws by stealth to the detriment of the common good.”

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