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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47 National Environment Protection Council NEPC Acts Third Review 2012 prescriptive detail and references. This can obscure the purpose or intent of the measure. The nature and form of the National Environment Protection Measures, particularly the inclusion of detailed technical information, has contributed to the time taken to review and update them. This has also led to criticism about some technical information being out of date. Lack of dedicated resources and oversight of reviews has also contributed to this. Consideration could be given to simplifying National Environment Protection Measures to focus on goals, key performance indicators, standards and high-level protocols, and referencing detailed technical information in a manner that allows it to be more readily updated. For every National Environment Protection Measure the object to be achieved, the desired outcome sought, the key performance indicators, reporting requirements and review/evaluation mechanisms should be specified. Detailed processes or complex methodologies should be left to other instruments. However, it is important that in the move to streamline National Environment Protection Measures and improve/streamline approaches to varying National Environment Protection Measures the National Environment Protection Council is mindful of the potential for perverse outcomes. A risk-based approach to developing and varying National Environment Protection Measures should be adopted to optimise the balance between being sufficiently detailed to provide guidance to stakeholders and yet enabling rapid/cost-effective amendment to respond to changed circumstances and/or knowledge. 5.2 EFFICIENCY OF NATIONAL ENVIRONMENT PROTECTION MEASURES PROCESSES AND STREAMLINING CONSULTATION PROCESSES The Act prescribes in detail the consultation processes for development of a National Environment Protection Measure and the requirements for developing impact statements. Since the National Environment Protection Council Act came into force in 1994, legislative processes have evolved, and in particular the Council of Australian Governments has determined principles for consultation and the requirements for regulation impact statements. There are some inconsistencies between the National Environment Protection Council Act and the Council of Australian Governments requirements which have resulted in the need for repetitive processes (for example the need to prepare a regulation impact statement that meets the Council of Australian Governments requirements and also meets the requirements of the National Environment Protection Council Act). The Act prescribes consultation processes around making and varying National Environment Protection Measures. A specific example of the process focus of the Act is the requirement in section 16 to publish a notice of intention to prepare a draft measure, which specifies that it be in a newspaper for at least two days. This is unduly prescriptive and also out of step with the way many Australians now receive