The Territory Labor Government has reached a significant step
in creating a contemporary environmental protection regime with the passing of
the Environment Protection Bill 2019 in Parliament on Thursday.
The Bill introduces a new and improved environmental impact assessment system, replacing the outdated and ineffective Environmental Assessment Act 1982.
The Environment Protection Act 2019 establishes clearer guidance on when a project must be referred for assessment for its impact on the environment, and sets out the criteria, principles and considerations by which a project must be assessed. Importantly, the Act provides for a range of opportunities for public participation and new requirements for all of the decisions and reasons for decisions will be published.
The Act also provides for new approaches to environmental protection, including environmental offsets and protected environmental areas.
This means that projects which may have a significant impact on the Territory’s environment will undergo rigorous environmental assessment, informing the decision to grant (or not) an environmental approval issued by the Minister for Environment and Natural Resources.
It also includes provisions to ensure proponents and approval holders comply with their obligations to minimise unauthorised harm to the environment. Another first and a significant step to strengthening the environment protection regime in the Territory.
For more information go to https://denr.nt.gov.au/environment-information/environmental-policy-reform/environment-protection-bill-2019
Quotes from the Minister for Environment and Natural Resources, Eva Lawler:
“Territorians want and deserve a Government they can trust, and these changes fulfil a key election promise of the Territory Labor Government.
“We are replacing outdated legislation and practice, ensuring we are strengthening governance and accountability for environmental decisions, supporting local jobs and providing greater certainty for the community and business.
“Our natural environment is one of our best assets and a huge part of what makes living in the Territory so special – protecting our environment creates jobs – good environmental policy is smart economic policy.
“We want our children, and future generations to have access to clean water, clean air and the great Territory lifestyle - this legislation ensures greater transparency, more certainty and delivers a system that is outcome and risk focused.
MEDIA CONTACT: Ellie Clancy 0436 646 689