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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 2 Hansard (4 March) . . Page.. 424..


Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill agreed to in principle.

Leave granted to dispense with the detail stage.

Bill agreed to.

National Environment Protection Council Amendment Bill 2002

Debate resumed from 14 November 2002, on motion by Mr Wood:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

MRS DUNNE (11.08): The Liberal opposition will be supporting the National Environment Protection Council Amendment Bill 2002.

The National Environment Protection Council Act was mirror legislation introduced in 1994 to develop national environment protection standards or, as they are called in the legislation, national environment protection measures, or NEPMs.

This bill results from a review of the principal Act in 2000-2001 and brings about a method of simplifying the process of making minor variations to national environment protection measures. It requires ongoing five-yearly reviews of the principal Act and allows the National Environment Protection Council Service Corporation to provide support and assistance to other ministerial councils in the environmental area. It is good public policy. This bill will be mirrored in all other jurisdictions and the Commonwealth. It will provide seamless and uniform legislation across all jurisdictions. We will be supporting the bill.

MS DUNDAS (11.09): The National Environment Protection Council was established following a special Premiers' conference in October 1990 under the Intergovernmental Agreement on the Environment, which came into effect on 1 May, 1992. This council has responsibility for making environment protection measures with the objective of ensuring that the people of Australia enjoy the benefit of equivalent protection from air, water, soil and noise pollution, wherever they live. The council also works to ensure that decisions by businesses are not distorted, and markets not fragmented by inconsistencies in environmental standards across jurisdictions.

The Democrats have been strong advocates for national environmental standards. The creation of the Environmental Protection (Biodiversity Conservation) Act was one such initiative intended to create uniform environmental standards which reflect our international obligations.

The advantages of a streamlined process for minor amendments to environmental standards are obvious. I have no difficulty supporting this aspect of the bill, and hence offer my support to this initiative.

MS TUCKER (11.10): The Greens also support this bill. It represents a streamlining of the provisions of the national environment protection arrangements and arises from a


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