Territory Stories

Restoring trust: release of draft environment protection legislation community engagement report



Restoring trust: release of draft environment protection legislation community engagement report


Lawler, Eva Dina

Political affiliation

Australian Labor Party


Media Releases for 13th Assembly 2016 - 2020; Media Releases; ParliamentNT




Made available via the Publications (Legal Deposit) Act 2004 (NT).




Environmental management; Law; Community involvement; Consultation

Publisher name

Northern Territory Government

File type



Issued as a Media Release

Copyright owner

Northern Territory Government

Parent handle


Citation address


Related items

https://hdl.handle.net/10070/344936; https://hdl.handle.net/10070/344938

Page content

Response to submissions on draft environment protection legislation for the Northern Territory DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENT AND NATURAL RESOURCES February 2019 Page 15 of 18 offences, penalties and criminal proceedings civil proceedings issues associated with taking actions in an emergency. Offences, penalties and criminal proceedings Many of the submissions identified concerns with the proposed offences and penalties specified in the draft Bill, with many submissions identifying that the offences did not appear to provide for a tiered system that reflected the seriousness of the alleged offending or the impacts to the environment. It was noted that all offences contained a high standard of proof (recklessly engages in conduct) and that penalties were not specified which limited capacity for submitters to identify whether the penalty would provide an appropriate level of deterrence. Some submissions raised concerns about provisions relating to the reverse onus of proof in relation to occupier and owner liability as well as the criminal liability of executive officers of body corporates. Civil proceedings Some of the submissions expressed concerns about the time period for seeking injunctions and who is granted standing. The statute of limitations of three years for a civil action to be brought against an operator was perceived as excessive and inconsistent with statutes elsewhere in Australia and overseas. There was also concerns about the drafting of these provisions and the powers granted to the CEO to recover civil penalties by negotiation. Taking actions in an emergency. Submissions noted that CEO does not appear to have powers to take action in an emergency situation where an approval holder is complying with the approval but unexpected and unintended significant environmental harm is occurring which could undermine the purpose of the legislation and is contrary to good environmental outcomes. Another submission noted that there appeared to be errors in the drafting of these provisions which limited emergency authorisations to situations where the authorisation would have a positive environmental outcome. As noted in the submission, it is likely that the grant of an emergency authorisation will be contrary to environmental protection outcomes in some circumstances. Response Offences, penalties and criminal proceedings All relevant offence provisions contained in the Bill will be revised to provide for tiered offences and penalties that reflect the seriousness of the offending. They will range from reckless acts to strict liability offences. Provisions reversing the onus of proof are considered appropriate for offences relating to harm to the environment and are consistent with national and international approaches. Civil proceedings The Bill will be amended to reduce the time period for seeking an injunction to 90 days from the date of the alleged contravention of the Act.

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