Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 2 Hansard (7 March) . . Page.. 377..
MR STANHOPE (continuing):
guidelines that would help all of us make this precious resource go further, without risking human health or imposing upon the environment.
In 2004, the council set in train a major review of the national environment protection measure relating to ambient air quality. This is Australia's most important tool in the management of air quality. Of particular attention were our existing ozone standards, current particulate monitoring programs and research into the links between children's health problems and air pollution. I am pleased to say that the ACT complied with the set standards for all kinds of air pollutants; though, as another Canberra winter looms, I suspect it will not be long before pollution from wood heaters, a perennial problem in some parts of the city, will be with us again.
Another major contributor to urban air pollution, this time in spring, summer and autumn, as well as in winter, is the family car. This year the council endorsed the introduction of Euro 4 and Euro 5 emission standards for new motor vehicles, a step towards better managing air quality, especially in our major urban centres.
Over the course of the year the council worked productively with the Environment Protection and Heritage Ministerial Council on a number of waste management issues. The national environment protection measure dealing with the movement of controlled waste was changed to streamline the interstate transport of hazardous wastes. Work began on the drafting of a new national packaging covenant and an associated used-packaging materials protection measure.
The council is working towards an extension of this kind of regulation to cover tyres, computers, mobile telephones and televisions. The council has been pleased to witness the recent substantial reduction in plastic bag distribution, a sign of a real and perceptible change in attitude among many millions of Australians, and has strongly encouraged retailers and shoppers to reduce the use of lightweight plastic shopping bags even further.
Over the course of the year the council began to review the national environment protection measure dealing with the assessment of site contamination, the chief tool used by those involved in the restoration of contaminated sites. Variations to this measure are expected. These will reflect recent advances in scientific know-how and will better allow us to restore contaminated ground to health.
The council also reviewed the national pollutant inventory measure, to gauge whether it is meetings its objectives, to debate whether greenhouse gases ought to be considered, and to come up with ideas for improving user access. The report flowing from the review is currently with council, and I anticipate some variations to the NEPM will result.
In other important work over the course of the year, the council launched the web-based national chemicals reference guide, which helps Australian governments manage chemicals in the environment. It was a productive year for the council. I am pleased that the ACT met all of its reporting requirements for this important and interesting annual report. I commend the National Environment Protection Council annual report 2004-05 to the Assembly.