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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2012 Week 06 Hansard (Wednesday, 9 May 2012) . . Page.. 2269 ..

Question (omit paragraph (3)) agreed to.

Question (omit paragraph (4)) agreed to.

Question (omit paragraph (5)) negatived.

Question (insert new paragraphs (3), (4) and (5)) agreed to.

Motion, as amended, agreed to.

Commissioner for the Environment Amendment Bill 2012

Debate resumed from 15 February 2012, on motion by Mr Rattenbury:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

MR CORBELL (Molonglo—Attorney-General, Minister for Police and Emergency Services and Minister for the Environment and Sustainable Development) (5.00): The ACT Commissioner for the Environment is a statutory position that was first established in 1993 by the then Follett Labor government. This position was one of the first independent commissioners for the environment in the world and a first for Australia. In 2007 the current Labor government appointed a full-time commissioner to be known as the Commissioner for Sustainability and the Environment and announced that the commissioner’s role would be expanded to encompass sustainability and climate change issues. The government also recognised that legislative changes to the Commissioner for the Environment Act would be appropriate to reflect the expanded role.

The commissioner undertakes important functions and activities, including producing the state of the environment report, investigating complaints about the management of the environment by the territory or its authorities, conducting investigations as directed by the minister, initiating investigations into actions of an agency where those actions would have a substantial impact on the environment, producing a state of the environment report for the 17 councils in the Australian capital region and increasing awareness on sustainability and environmental issues.

The Commissioner for the Environment Act requires the commissioner to present a report on the state of our environment to the government every four years. I had the pleasure in releasing the latest report on 19 April this year, with the acting commissioner, Mr Neil. The report is a detailed and comprehensive analysis of the health of the ACT’s environment, land, water, air, biodiversity, climate, economy and people. The government is considering the report’s 22 recommendation and is already working to address many of the issues identified. I will be providing a detailed government response on each of the recommendations to the Assembly later this year.

Another important role of the commissioner is to undertake detailed investigations upon request by the minister that make recommendations for improving the environment and sustainability in the territory. For example, on 26 October last year

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