Debates Day 3 - Thursday 21 October 2010
Parliamentary Record 15
Debates for 11th Assembly 2008 - 2012; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 11th Assembly 2008 - 2012
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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
DEBATES - Thursday 21 October 2010 The purpose of this bill is to amend the Environmental Offences and Penalties Act to enhance the scope of the act. The Environmental Offences and Penalties Act came into effect in 1997. The act establishes a framework for environmental offence levels and a penalty regime for each level. The Environmental Offences and Penalties Act does not create offences. Various environmental offence levels in the act are referenced and picked up in specific environmental legislation such as the Waste Management and Pollution Control Act, the Mining Management Act and the Water Act. These statutes create actual offences. The Environmental Offences and Penalties Act creates a consistent set of penalties amongst the different environmental laws. This Assembly recently passed amendments to the Environmental Offences and Penalties Act to double penalties for environmental offences and, with a valuable contribution from the member for Brennan, infringement notices. I am pleased to report those amendments came into effect on 9 September 2010. The amendments I bring forward today aim to refine the scope of the Environmental Offences and Penalties Act so it continues to be used to establish a consistent penalty structure for offences in existing legislation, as well as an expanded range of future environmental legislation. Government is progressing a range of environmental regulatory reforms to be introduced into the Assembly over the coming months, for example, new laws for the management of native vegetation. These reforms will expand the regulation of the environment in the Northern Territory. It is appropriate that the Environmental Offences and Penalties Act be sufficiently flexible to enable its use in creating environmental offences at particular levels under new legislation. The regulatory system aimed at protecting the environment can involve offences which might, on the face of it, seem minor or indirectly related to environmental harm; however, without compliance with those offences, the overall system of environmental protection may be jeopardised. The amendments I am introducing today recognise the capacity of the parliament to designate offences as environmental offences, and to apply a consistent penalty structure to a broader range of offences than those where a narrow interpretation might otherwise suggest a limited relationship in protecting the environment. The amendments do not impact on the role of parliament in considering and passing environmental legislation that designates certain offences as environmental offences. Rather, the amendments provide parliament with greater flexibility in employing the penalty structure created by the Environmental Offences and Penalties Act. The amendments have been drafted so the change in scope of the Environmental Offences and Penalties Act does not impact on the designation of environmental offences under current legislation. Madam Deputy Speaker, I commend this bill to honourable members and table the explanatory statement to accompany the bill. Debate adjourned. TERRITORY PARKS AND WILDLIFE CONSERVATION LEGISLATION AMENDMENT BILL (Serial 117) Continued from 11 August 2010. Mr CHANDLER (Brennan): Madam Deputy Speaker, the Country Liberals support this legislation. The purpose of this bill is to introduce offences for interfering with or damaging a crocodile trap. My understanding is the offence only relates to crocodile traps owned by the Territory Parks and Wildlife Commission and is applied to all traps, whether in use or not. Interfere includes touching, standing on, entering, or moving a trap, and attracts a maximum penalty of 50 penalty units or, in dollar terms, $6550, or six months imprisonment. I also understand a conservation officer may issue an infringement notice for the offence which will attract a penalty of three penalty units, or $399. Why do we need this legislation? I can tell you why. Unfortunately, we have clowns and idiots in the Northern Territory who continually want to interfere with the crocodile traps set around the Top End. You only have to look at some of the NT News articles, particularly this one by Rebekah Cavanagh on 17 November 2009, Clowns Clamber onto Kakadu Crocodile Trap: Two tourists have been photographed tempting fate as they pretend to ride a crocodile trap like cowboys. NEWSBREAKER Brent Hobes took this photo of the clowns larking about atop the trap at Jim Jim Falls in Kakadu National Park earlier this month. The Victorian visitor said he was shocked to see the hooligans laughing and joking as 6500
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