RESTORING TRUST: GOVERNMENT TO AMEND DRAFT ENVIRONMENT PROTECTION BILL

The Territory Labor Government is restoring trust by better protecting our environment and will amend provisions in the proposed new environmental impact assessment and approval system, in response to concerns raised by industry.

Earlier this month the Government released the draft Environment Protection Bill and draft Regulations for eight weeks of public consultation.

The draft legislation was released for public comment before being introduced into Parliament to ensure the community was able to see the Bill in its entirety and provide comment. This Government promised to base environmental decisions on science and will continue to do this, unlike the previous CLP Government who ignored science and were careless with the management of the Territorys environment and natural resources.

The Territory Labor Government has listened to community and industry concerns raised about provisions that relate to how decisions by the NT EPA and Minister can be reviewed and who has standing to ask for review.

The consultation draft of the Bill currently canvases wide ranging standing, and both judicial and merits review in the environmental assessment process. Prior to the legislation being introduced in Parliament this will be changed to judicial review being allowed in the environmental assessment process. This will be permitted for those directly affected, and those who made a valid and genuine submission to the decision making process.

The new legislation will continue to have increased opportunities for public involvement as well as transparency and accountability structures being built into the final legislation.

The Government will look to introduce merits review in the new environment protection legislation for operational approvals made by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources to regulate wastes and pollution and the environmental impacts of mining and other industries. This will be subject to consultation with industry.

Territorians will be able to provide input to the draft Bill at https://denr.nt.gov.au/environment-information/environmental-regulatory-reform/consultation-on-new-e…

As noted by Acting Minister for Environment and Natural Resources, Lauren Moss:

“The Territorys natural environment is one of our best assets and a huge part of what makes living here so special. Protecting the environment creates jobs – good environmental policy is smart economic policy.

The amended legislation will protect our unique environment while also deliver the investment certainty needed to create local jobs.

We have been working closely with all sections of the community on the development of this important piece of legislation, because we want to ensure that it delivers for the Territory by providing a clear and streamlined process when it comes to environmental approvals for projects.

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