Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 4 Hansard (25 June) . . Page.. 1101 ..
MR SMYTH (Minister for Urban Services): I present, pursuant to section 6 of the Subordinate Laws Act 1989, Subordinate Law No. 21 of 1998, being the Land (Planning and Environment) Regulations (Amendment) made under the Land (Planning and Environment) Act 1991 and notified in Gazette No. 24, dated 17 June 1998.
MR SMYTH (Minister for Urban Services) (5.27): Mr Speaker, for the information of members, I present an exposure draft of the Environment Protection (Amendment) legislation and I ask for leave to move a motion in relation to the exposure draft.
MR SMYTH: Mr Speaker, I move:
That the exposure draft of the Environment Protection (Amendment) legislation be referred to the Standing Committee on Urban Services for inquiry and report by 1 September 1998.
Mr Speaker, last year this Assembly enacted the Environment Protection Act 1997, the most comprehensive environmental reform ever put in place in the Territory. The exposure draft Environment Protection (Amendment) Bill 1998 is intended to continue the reform process begun by the Environment Protection Act. At present, there is no legislation in the Territory providing for the management of contaminated land and its remediation. This Bill provides for such management. The proposed amendments to the Environment Protection Act will enable the Territory to provide industry and the community with a certainty of process in managing contaminated land. The liability regime established by the Bill is consistent with the Government's policy, adopted by the Intergovernmental Agreement on the Environment signed by all Australian governments in 1992, that, whenever possible, the polluter should pay the full costs of his or her actions. This Bill will be on the table for three months to allow for public comment. After that time the Government will consider all comments made and introduce the Bill formally in due course, redrafted as necessary. Ultimately, passage of the Bill will allow for the development of a contaminated sites environment protection policy under the Environment Protection Act.
Mr Speaker, I now look at the Bill in a little bit more detail. The key objectives of the Environment Protection (Amendment) Bill are to provide a power in the Environment Management Authority to investigate potentially contaminated land, to establish a process for the assessment of and remediation of contaminated land and to ensure control of the future use of contaminated land; to provide a role for independent auditors for expert assessment of all work associated with a contaminated site, giving the community and