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Annual Report 2002-2003 National Environment Protection Council



Annual Report 2002-2003 National Environment Protection Council

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Tabled paper 1225


Tabled Papers for 9th Assembly 2001 - 2005; Tabled Papers; ParliamentNT






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The V ictorian G overnm ent recognises that the m anagem ent and pro tection o f the environm ent is an im portant part o f public health protection. Accordingly, the G overnm ent has strongly com m itted to ensuring that p lanning processes, including the consideration o f developm ent proposals, incorporate a full assessm ent o f public health issues and risks. This com m itm ent is reflec ted in the im plem entation activ ities in V ictoria during the assessm ent year. V ictoria has con tinued w ith a num ber o f processes to implement the Assessment o f Site Contamination NEPM. T hese activ ities include: as ind icated above, the SEPP (PM CL) was declared in June 2002. The SEPP (PM CL) specifically refers to elem ents o f the N EPM ongoing further refinem ent o f Environmental Auditors (C ontam inated Land) G uidelines for the Issue o f C ertificates and Statements. The guidelines form alise p revious advice to environm ental aud ito rs tha t in conducting aud its the ir should refer to the N EPM for advice including the sam pling and analysis o f contam inated sites, the assessm ent o f data and for health and ecological investigation levels. The content o f the guidelines is reviewed on a ongoing basis and, as new circum stances arise, revisions are planned and im plem ented. The publication o f these guidelines has been supported by a range o f sem inars and w orkshops aim ed to ensure stakeholders are aware o f the requirem ents. Such m eetings are particu larly im portan t in keeping stakeholders abreast o f recent developm ents EPA Victoria appoints environmental auditors through its A udit System , in accordance w ith P art IXD o f the Environment Protection Act 1970 The N EPM guidelines on the appointm ent o f environm ental aud ito rs provide general guidance relating to the competencies o f environmental auditors and related p rofessionals. EPA V ictoria revised its appointm ent gu idelines to address a range o f issues and ensure consistency w ith these aspects o f the NEPM . These new gu idelines w ere published in A ugust o f 2002 environm ental auditors are appointed in itia lly for a 1 2 -m onth period and then subject to a subsequent appointm ent process every two years thereafter. The firs t initial appoin tm ents o f aud ito rs follow ing the Im plem entation activities publish ing o f these guidelines occurred in February 2003. Subsequent appointm ents o f auditors have also been undertaken w ith reference to the guidelines. The N EPM policy fram ew ork iden tifies that there is an im portan t ro le for p lann ing au tho rities in ensuring that a site, w hich is po ten tially contam inated and is being considered for a change in land use, is suitable for its intended future use. Victoria has m echanism s w hich trigger audits in such circum stances and these have been further clarified in the SEPP (PMCL). Controls continue to be developed to ensure that conditions stipulated by environm ental auditors are m et and tha t con tam inated site information is readily available through the planning process (ie land titles). These actions are consistent with the NEPM and the Victorian Governm ents com m itm ent to incorporate environm ental issues into p lanning considerations. Work continues on providing fu rther guidance to assist planning authorities properly consider site contam ination in p lanning decisions. Im p le m e n ta t io n su m m a ry an d evalua tion V ictoria has a w ell-estab lished process for the m anagem ent o f con tam inated sites including the environm ental aud iting system . T herefore, successfu l im plem entation o f the N EPM requ ires only m inor changes to V ic to ria s ex isting fram ew ork. In the three and h a lf years that the N EPM has been in operation , substantial progress has been m ade in incorporating the N EPM into sta tu to ry instrum ents and guidelines, particu larly through the declaration o f the SEPP (PM CL) thereby g iving effect to elem ents o f the N EPM w ithin V ictoria. EPA Victoria has published guidelines for environmental auditors requ iring them to refe r to the N EPM and that it is to be used as a key reference document when making a judgem en t on site assessm ent. EPA V ictoria is also considering means by which to provide guidance on site assessm ent work falling outside the audit fram ew ork. V ictoria con tinues to be a leader in the area o f con tam inated land site assessm ent, including the environm ental audit system . Inclusion o f aspects o f the N EPM guidelines w ithin V ic to rias sta tu to ry fram ew ork has provided a m ore conso lida ted and com prehensive body o f guidance fo r the assessm ent o f contam inated sites. 232 N atio n a l E n v iro n m en t P ro te c tio n C o u n cil a n n u a l r e p o r t 2 0 0 2 - 2 0 0 3