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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1 National Environment Protection Council NEPC Acts Third Review 2012 EXECUTIVE SUMMARY This report presents the findings of the third review of the National Environment Protection Council Acts (Commonwealth, state and territory). Section 64 of the Commonwealth Act requires that the National Environment Protection Council cause a review to be undertaken every five years and tabled in parliament. This review of the National Environment Protection Council Acts addresses the: 1. Effectiveness of the Acts in achieving their objectives. 2. Operation of the Acts and the framework of National Environment Protection Measures they establish. 3. Effectiveness of National Environment Protection Measures as a framework for achieving nationally consistent guidance and standards, including possible alternative approaches based on best practice models. The review also considered the efficiency of the council and secretariat operations. When formally initiating the review of the National Environment Protection Council Acts, the National Environment Protection Council also made the decision to expedite removal of the National Environment Protection Council Service Corporation. This followed extensive review of the operation of and budget for the corporation before and following its move from Adelaide to the Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities offices in Canberra. The review found that effective mechanisms for establishing consistent national standards and requirements are important elements in ensuring environment protection and minimising costs to business. The National Environment Protection Measures framework provides a unique mechanism with clearly defined processes that enable a collaborative approach to establishing consistent national standards and requirements with flexibility in implementation to integrate with existing jurisdictional systems and to meet local requirements. There are significant benefits associated with the statutory basis for standards and requirements established through National Environment Protection Measures. Review of the National Environment Protection Council Acts has also provided an opportunity to consider whether government has the range of tools necessary to meet future environmental challenges. Increasingly, government has moved to develop specific legislation to address environmental issues, such as the Water Efficiency Labelling Scheme. It may be more efficientand increasingly more useful and understandable to stakeholdersto develop and use framework legislation to address environmental issues. The National Environment Protection Council Acts and the Commonwealth Product Stewardship Act 2011 are examples of this. In considering the tools needed to meet future environmental challenges a framework approach could be adopted, where new tools or approaches are necessary, by amending the National Environment Protection Council Act, developing new framework legislation, or amending other legislation to provide for broader application. If the Standing Council on Environment and Water determines