Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 12 Hansard (28 October) . . Page.. 5244..
Debate (on motion by Mrs Dunne) adjourned to the next sitting.
Environment Protection Amendment Bill 2010
Mr Corbell, pursuant to notice, presented the bill, its explanatory statement and a Human Rights Act compatibility statement.
Title read by Clerk.
MR CORBELL (Molonglo—Attorney-General, Minister for the Environment, Climate Change and Water, Minister for Energy and Minister for Police and Emergency Services) (10.37): I move:
That this bill be agreed to in principle.
The Environment Protection Act 1997 is an important piece of legislation, providing the framework for the protection of the environment in the ACT. It regulates activities through a range of tools administered by the Environment Protection Authority. This bill seeks to maintain the safeguards incorporated within this legislation while, where appropriate, removing unnecessary regulatory burdens on industry and business.
One of the tools through which the Environment Protection Authority protects the environment is environmental authorisations. These are a form of licence to conduct an activity which has a significant potential to cause environmental harm. As such, an environmental authorisation sets out strict conditions, parameters and standards under which the activity may be conducted.
There are three classes of environmental authorisations which can be issued: standard, accredited and special environmental authorisations.
The most common is the standard environmental authorisation, which can be issued for an unlimited period or for a specified period of up to three years. An accredited authorisation can be issued to a person who is applying for an environmental improvement initiative as defined by the Environment Protection Act whilst a special authorisation is issued for up to three years for research and development including the trialling of experimental equipment.
It should be noted that since the commencement of the Environment Protection Act 1997, only standard environmental authorisations have been issued. Currently, there are 47 activities contained in schedule 1 of the act which require an environmental authorisation. These activities vary widely in both the nature of the activity and their potential effects on the environment.
For example, the extraction of material from a waterway has the potential to change the flow path of water within a waterway and increase sedimentation. This in turn can affect downstream ecology, change the waterway bed profile and increase erosion of waterway banks. Likewise, the noise generated from an outdoor concert that uses amplifying equipment can obviously affect those people living in the vicinity of the event.