Annual Report 2010-2011 National Environment Protection Council
Tabled paper 1729
Tabled papers for 11th Assembly 2008 - 2012; Tabled papers; ParliamentNT
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E X E C U T IV E O FFIC E R S R E PO R T National Environmental Protection Council annual report 2 0 1 0 2 0 1 1 3 The Council released a discussion paper as part of the ongoing review of the Ambient Air Quality NEPM. The paper was used as the basis for public consultation to gain stakeholder input on health and air quality information that may be used in determining the need to vary this NEPM. Council will consider the need for a variation in the new reporting year. A considerable body of work has been completed on the draft variation to the Assessment of Site Contamination NEPM, including stakeholder and public consultation to outline the key changes and to discuss any concerns arising. Issues were identified primarily relating to the assessment of asbestos and volatile substances. The draft varied Assessment of Site Contamination NEPM (including revised schedules) will be considered by the Council in the new reporting year. Council welcomed the announcement of the Australian Convict Sites World Heritage Property as the eighth World Heritage Property in Australia, recognising the importance of Australias convict experience at an international level. I would like to acknowledge the various project teams and working groups that progressed this varied body of work for consideration by ministers. Transition to new Council Following an independent review of Ministerial Councils by Dr Allan Hawke, COAG accepted the need to effect fundamental reform to the Ministerial Council system to focus Councils on national strategic priorities and find new ways for COAG and its Councils to identify and address issues of national significance. At its April 2010 meeting, COAG agreed in principle to reforms to rationalise the number of Councils overseeing key areas of ongoing importance to the Commonwealth and the states and territories. As part of this decision, it was announced that the EPHC would cease and a new Council, the Standing Council on Environment and Water, would be formed. In early 2011, Council provided advice to COAG on the role of the new Standing Council. It is anticipated that the Standing Council will incorporate the National Environment Protection Council. The new Council will also have a broader role delivering national reform on environmental regulation, water management, biodiversity and clean air. In preparation for the transition, Council recommended to COAG five areas of national priority action: Pursuing seamless environmental regulation and regulatory practice across jurisdictions Progressing national water reform, including through implementing the National Water Initiative, the outcomes of the forthcoming COAG review of the National Water Initiative, and other COAG commitments on water Implementing the National Waste Policy Implementing a national partnership approach to the conservation and management of land, waters, the marine environment and biodiversity at the landscape and ecosystem scale, and to building resilience in a changing climate Developing and implementing a National Plan for Clean Air to improve air quality and community health and wellbeing. Standing Committee focused a great deal of effort on completing and transitioning work that, while important, is not part of the ongoing COAG strategic reform agenda. Website The EPHC website continues to be a source of information for both government and industry on the range of projects and issues addressed by Council. Given the expected broader scope of the new Council, the website will be redeveloped during the next reporting year, to reflect the remit of the new Council and identified priorities. NEPC SERVICE CORPORATION PERFORMANCE Corporate governance The statutory office of NEPC Executive Officer (EO) has the responsibility of managing the NEPC Service Corporation. The EO provides advice to the NEPC Audit Committee and is accountable to the ministers through the Standing Committee (see the governance structure chart on page 2). The position of EO was substantively held by Dr Bruce Kennedy until his retirement on 4 November 2010, after 14 years of service. During the year, Ian Newbery acted as Executive Director while Dr Kennedy was on leave. Following Dr Kennedys retirement, I was appointed acting NEPC Executive Officer.