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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43 National Environment Protection Council NEPC Acts Third Review 2012 Environment Protection Measure to be easily inserted into an existing regulatory framework is a benefit that is not realised in other national standard-setting processes. A potential consequence of the flexible approach to implementation is inconsistency between jurisdictions and potentially higher costs and complexity for businesses working in a national market. These inconsistencies can compromise the contribution a National Environment Protection Measure is able to make to the objects of the National Environment Protection Council Act. Both the McMichael Review and the Ramsay Review noted issues associated with National Environment Protection Measure implementation. The Ramsay Review noted that the timing and mode of implementation and enforcement of National Environment Protection Measure requirements remain key issues to the achievement of national consistency. Implementation issues were highlighted by stakeholders in the consultation on the reviews, and these observations remain relevant. Similarly this review has found that different approaches to implementation have been a potential key issue affecting the experience of business and the effectiveness of the measures in achieving the objects of the Act. An independent review of the National Environment Protection Measures (Implementation) Act 1998 by Baker and McKenzie found that the Act was not effective in implementing its objectives. The review outlined a number of possible options to address this, including repealing the Act and instead inserting a power in the National Environment Protection Council Acts to implement National Environment Protection Measures. While the National Environment Protection Council Act does not give the National Environment Protection Council a role in implementation, there are other existing mechanisms to allow greater collaboration between jurisdictions which would improve the consistency of National Environment Protection Measures. There is the potential for a cross-jurisdictional group (for example the heads of environment protection agencies) to work collaboratively to improve the consistency of implementation frameworks in each jurisdiction. The aim should be to promote consistency rather than to require consistency, unless that is necessary for effective action (such as the imposition of product standards or professional qualifications). There are three broad approaches to, or options for, implementation of National Environment Protection Measures: 1. Uniform approach (clear standards set nationally and the same legal framework applieseither Commonwealth legislation or mirror legislation). 2. Consistent approach agreed by ministers (same uniform approach, but implementation determined by jurisdictions). 3. Harmonised approach (similar jurisdictional objectives/direction, but implementation can vary. Jurisdictions still work together to promote consistency within the context of flexibility to meet local needs).
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