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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91 National Environment Protection Council NEPC Acts Third Review 2012 ATTACHMENTG EUROPEAN UNION MODELS FOR ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION THE EUROPEAN UNION MODELDIRECTIVES The European Union is not dissimilar to Australia in that it too is a federation of member states. As such, there are similar issues with the consistent adoption of laws across member states in both jurisdictions. European Union directives establish overarching outcomes or goals in various policy areas that must be achieved. There is no prescription as to how the outcome must be achieved, with member states able to determine the best way to do so. There is wide discretion with regard to enforcement mechanisms, including sanctions for noncompliance. Directives, unlike National Environment Protection Measures, can be directed at either individual members or the collective. Directives are used to bring member state laws into alignment and are commonly used for the purpose of implementing single market standards across the European Union. FACTORS OF SUCCESS Directives are action focused and include an implementation date that must be complied with. Member states may implement required measures within their own legal system prior to this date, allowing for flexibility in implementation. Directives are supported by strong compliance measures that compel member states to act. The European Commission is responsible for ensuring directives are implemented appropriately and on time. Failure by member states to implement a directive effectively and by the implementation date is dealt with initially by the commission, which has powers to address non-compliance. The initial step for the commission is to seek voluntary compliance. Where necessary, the commission may refer the matter to the Court of Justice of the European Union and commence legal proceedings. If the court finds the member state has failed to implement a directive it may require that state to undertake necessary measures to comply with the directive. The court may also impose significant financial penalties on member states. In April 2012 the European Commission referred Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia to the European Union Court of Justice for failing to meet the December 2010 deadline to transpose the European Unions Waste Framework Directive into national law. The court was asked to impose penalty payments ranging between 15,220 per day (Bulgaria) and 67,314 per day (Poland). Approximately 20 per cent of cases where directives have not been implemented appropriately in the allocated time relate to the environment.