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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32 National Environment Protection Council NEPC Acts Third Review 2012 To date product standards setting has been via unique legislation tailored to particular outcomes, such as water conservation via water efficiency labeling legislation. While this approach has lead to useful outcomes, it risks development of environmental/product standards that are inconsistent in approach and that may not be mindful of the broader context of harmonised regulation or seamless business operating environments. There is no satisfactory approach to establishment of national product standards. Currently the only type of National Environment Protection Measure that might be applied relates to establishment of national environment protection guidelines. Given that national uniformity is crucial to any standards approach, a guidelines approach is not appropriate. Additionally National Environment Protection Measure implementation, enforcement, and reporting are the responsibility of each jurisdiction. This process is underpinned by mirror legislation in each jurisdiction. However, the current mirror legislation approach as adopted for the National Environment Protection Council Act may not provide sufficient consistency for a product standards approach because variations in implementation from jurisdiction to jurisdiction may lessen the standards applyingthat is, if one jurisdiction does not effectively implement the standards, then the standard is not effective nationally. The main options for implementing a product standards scheme are: 1. A National Environment Protection Measure and reliance on enhanced harmonisation of implementation. 2. Commonwealth legislation only (noting that this option may not provide a comprehensive regulatory scheme). 3. Commonwealth legislation supported by a referral of powers by the states. 4. A cooperative legislation scheme through: an applied laws scheme a mirror legislation scheme (similar to the application of the National Environment Protection Council Act) a combination of both. Other than further amendments to the National Environment Protection Council Act (potentially by expanding the objects, including allowing for the setting of environmental standards for products and firming up commitment to joint implementation), any of the last three options above would entail either new legislation or expanding existing Commonwealth legislation, such as product stewardship legislation.
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