Report of the Third Review of the National Environment Protection Council Acts (Commonwealth State and Territory) December 2012 National Environment Protection Council Response to the Report of the Third Review of the National Protection Council Acts
Tabled paper 599
Tabled Papers for 12th Assembly 2012 - 2016; Tabled Papers; ParliamentNT
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31 National Environment Protection Council NEPC Acts Third Review 2012 making agreements to implement common programs. The existing policy and legislative framework does not provide a comprehensive, integrated, streamlined and accessible mechanism to address all these current and future needs. While it is possible to address each problem separately (either through action/legislation by individual states, territories or the Commonwealth or through mirror action/legislation), this approach is likely to be inefficient and will not provide the best outcomes for government and business. Particular consideration needs to be given to developing agreed standards. In some cases, these can only effectively be established at the national level due in part to other national frameworks, such as those set by the Commonwealth Mutual Recognition Act 1992 and implementing legislation in states and territories which apply to standards for saleable products and professional accreditation. For example, environmental standards for products may be an important tool in responding to diffuse source pollution but can only effectively be implemented nationally. An effective national framework for environmental requirements and standards should minimise the regulatory burden for business. By ensuring consistency between jurisdictions and minimising divergence, business and government costs can be minimised and the effectiveness of interventions potentially improved. While national consistency will usually deliver benefits, there can be circumstances where local conditions require different approaches. Therefore, there is a need to be judicious in the application of particular tools. While further work is required to scope this reform, there may be benefit in a tool (or tools) that: streamlines processes for making national standards clearly defines tools available to address different types of national challenges provides a product standards framework that enables a range of applications allows flexibility in the use of legislation in application of national standards enables appropriate delegation to facilitate prompt decision making. 3.5 PRODUCT STANDARDS There is currently no readily available tool to support development and application of national environmental product standards; however, there would be efficiencies in having a streamlined and strategic approach to address such issues at a national level. A comprehensive toolkit of environment protection measures is necessary to meet the broad objects of environment protection and maintenance of human amenityof which the ability to set product standards is a critical part as a tool to address diffuse sources of pollution and to ensure that Australians benefit from improvements in the environmental performance of products overseas, rather than being a market for products that are not able to be sold in other developed markets such as Europe and the United States.