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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39 National Environment Protection Council NEPC Acts Third Review 2012 4.1 OBJECT OF THE NATIONAL ENVIRONMENT PROTECTION COUNCIL ACTS The previous reviews considered the cost-effectiveness of the National Environment Protection Measures model. Both reviews were broadly supportive of the National Environment Protection Measures framework as a tool available to the council alongside other regulatory approaches. The Ramsay Review concluded that: National Environment Protection Measures are a useful, streamlined, reasonably cost-effective mechanism to achieve nationally consistent environmental regulation ... However, the review finds that the potential usefulness of National Environment Protection Measures is compromised because the scope of the Act is becoming progressively outdated. (pp.1314) The current objectives of the National Environment Protection Council Acts are to ensure, by means of the establishment and operation of the National Environment Protection Council, that: 1. People enjoy the benefit of equivalent protection from air, water or soil pollution and from noise, wherever they live in Australia. 2. Decisions of the business community are not distorted, and markets are not fragmented, by variations between participating jurisdictions in relation to the adoption or implementation of major environment protection measures. This third review also considered whether the objects of the Acts remain current and consistent with the policy intention in establishing consistent national standards and requirements. The review noted that the objects of the Act are given effect through the establishment and operation of the National Environment Protection Council; however, the objects should directly relate to the purpose and desired outcomes of the Act. Also the language of the objects of the Act appears dated and is couched in the negative. The review noted that the Council of Australian Governments has required that the Standing Council on Environment and Water proceed to remove references in legislation to the National Environment Protection Council. 4.2 EFFECTIVENESS OF INDIVIDUAL NATIONAL ENVIRONMENT PROTECTION MEASURES To date the National Environment Protection Council has made National Environment Protection Measures relating to monitoring ambient air quality, general guidelines for the assessment of site contamination, managing environmental impacts associated with hazardous wastes, the re-use and recycling of used materials, and cooperative activity on reducing emissions from motor vehicles. While there have been other priority areasincluding ambient marine, estuarine and fresh water quality and the protection of amenity in relation to noisein which the National Environment Protection Council has not developed National Environment Protection Measures, many of these issues have been addressed through other regulatory or policy-based approaches. Each of the seven National Environment Protection Measures made to date is described in Attachment D.