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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 10 Hansard (30 August) . . Page.. 3844 ..

MR BERRY (continuing):

many other areas, although not as well respected as Simon Corbell is. After listening to your speech today, I did not expect to hear that level of angst, Michael.

MR SPEAKER: We have a lot of work ahead of us. The time for bouquets will be a little later in the evening.

MR SMYTH (Minister for Urban Services, Minister for Business, Tourism and the Arts and Minister for Police and Emergency Services) (8.36), in reply: I thank members for their support. It is clear that the government amendments will go through. I thank people for that. In the main, they are minor and follow the review of the act.

The significant change is to change the Environment Management Authority to the Environment Protection Authority. This is to make us consistent with other jurisdictions. "EPA" is a term that I think the majority of people understand. They clearly understand the purpose of an EPA.

The rest of the changes are minor or technical. They include clarification of definitions and the interpretation of sections and a requirement that environment improvement plans have regard to best practice. They clean up the act following our consultation with the public.

The bill will remove the word "territory" from the objectives. That clearly recognises that the environment does not stop at the territory's borders. We have to take responsibility for cross-border environmental impacts of such things as noise from motor sports.

A small change has been made to the time lines for an auditor to report in relation to contaminated land and contaminated sites. Again that will align ACT and New South Wales legislation.

Two other changes will lead to better operational and environmental outcomes from the administration of the act. The first is in relation to public notification requirements for certain environmental authorisations and agreements. We spend tens of thousands of dollars every year on public notification of minor authorisations and agreements, and no response at all is made to these public notifications. Nothing has ever been received. I would rather spend that money on the environment than on useless notification.

The bill also provides that for certain classes of environment protection agreements and environmental authorisations do not require public notification. These classes would cover only proposed minor activities with minimal or no impact on the environment. The minister must declare these classes by disallowable instrument, and thereby the Assembly retains oversight of the whole procedure.

Environment ACT is developing a database of all the current environmental authorisations and protection agreements. This database will be publicly accessible on its completion. It will provide a complete picture of the authorisations and agreements and will be open to scrutiny by the community.

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