The Territory Labor Government has reached a significant stepin creating a contemporary environmental protection regime with the passing ofthe Environment Protection Bill 2019 in Parliament on Thursday.
The Bill introduces a new and improved environmental impactassessment system, replacing the outdated and ineffective EnvironmentalAssessment Act 1982.
The Environment Protection Act 2019 establishes clearerguidance on when a project must be referred for assessment for its impact onthe environment, and sets out the criteria, principles and considerations bywhich a project must be assessed. Importantly, the Act provides for a range ofopportunities for public participation and new requirements for all of thedecisions and reasons for decisions will be published.
The Act also provides for new approaches to environmentalprotection, including environmental offsets and protected environmental areas.
This means that projects which may have a significant impacton the Territorys environment will undergo rigorous environmental assessment,informing the decision to grant (or not) an environmental approval issued bythe Minister for Environment and Natural Resources.
Italso includes provisions to ensure proponents and approval holders comply withtheir obligations to minimise unauthorised harm to the environment. Another first and a significant step to strengtheningthe environment protection regime in the Territory.