- Parliamentary Business
- Senators & Members
- News & Events
- About Parliament
- Visit Parliament
NATIONAL ENVIRONMENT PROTECTION MEASURES (IMPLEMENTATION) BILL 1997
- Parl No.
- Question No.
Senator IAN CAMPBELL
- System Id
Table Of Contents
Previous Fragment Next Fragment
- Start of Business
- SHADOW MINISTRY
QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE
Department of Administrative Services
(Senator COOK, Senator HILL)
Antarctica: Illegal Fishing
(Senator KNOWLES, Senator HILL)
(Senator COONEY, Senator HILL)
(Senator EGGLESTON, Senator ALSTON)
(Senator GEORGE CAMPBELL, Senator HILL)
(Senator ALLISON, Senator ELLISON)
Gordonstone Coalmine: Vigilante Groups
(Senator HOGG, Senator ALSTON)
Parliament House: Energy Efficiency
(Senator BROWN, The PRESIDENT)
(Senator FAULKNER, Senator HERRON)
(Senator WOODLEY, Senator PARER)
Australian National Training Authority Agreement
(Senator CARR, Senator ELLISON)
Ms Cheryl Kernot: Policies
(Senator BOSWELL, Senator HILL)
Schools: Literacy Plans
(Senator CROWLEY, Senator ELLISON)
(Senator WATSON, Senator KEMP)
McDonald's Training Agreement
(Senator JACINTA COLLINS, Senator ELLISON)
Greenhouse Gases: Chinese Power Stations
(Senator PAYNE, Senator PARER)
- Department of Administrative Services
- ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE
NOTICES OF MOTION
- Native Title
- Racial Discrimination
- Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology
- Professor Douglas Whalan AM
- Kew Cottages: Victoria
- Human Rights
- Sport: Sponsorship
- Schools: Funding
- Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport References Committee
- Whale Meat
ORDER OF BUSINESS
- Government Business
- Constitutional Convention
Retirement Savings Accounts Regulations
Superannuation Industry Regulations
- Oakajee Port and Industrial Estate
- ACIL Economics
- Travel Allowances
- Community Affairs References Committee
- Importation of Cooked Chicken Meat
- Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee: Joint
- Ms Cheryl Kernot
- East Timor: Deaths of Australian Journalists
- Dr Mahathir Mohamad
- ARIA AWARDS
- NATIONAL ENVIRONMENT PROTECTION MEASURES (IMPLEMENTATION) BILL 1997
- BUDGET 1997-98
- CONSIDERATION OF LEGISLATION
- BUDGET 1997-98
- ORCA WHALES
- SOCIAL SECURITY AND VETERANS' AFFAIRS LEGISLATION AMENDMENT (MALE TOTAL AVERAGE WEEKLY EARNINGS BENCHMARK) BILL 1997
- VETERANS' AFFAIRS LEGISLATION AMENDMENT (BUDGET AND COMPENSATION MEASURES) BILL 1997
- ASSENT TO LAWS
- WORKPLACE RELATIONS AMENDMENT BILL 1997
- BILLS RETURNED FROM THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
- Industry Research and Development Board
- Veterans' Review Board
- Fisheries Research and Development Corporation
- National Health and Medical Research Council
- Australia New Zealand Food Authority
- Australian Fisheries Management Authority
- Land and Water Resources Research and Development Corporation
- Horticultural Research and Development Corporation
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner
- Superannuation Complaints Tribunal
- Department of Industry, Science and Tourism
- Insurance and Superannuation Commission
QUESTIONS ON NOTICE
International Instruments on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
(Senator Margetts, Senator Hill)
Progressive Conservative Party of Canada
(Senator Faulkner, Senator Hill)
Minister for Industry, Science and Tourism: Media Monitoring Services
(Senator Robert Ray, Senator Parer)
Minister for Defence: Media Monitoring Services
(Senator Robert Ray, Senator Newman)
Minister for Small Business and Consumer Affairs: Media Monitoring Services
(Senator Robert Ray, Senator Parer)
DFAT Portfolio Contracts with KPMG Peat Marwick
(Senator Robert Ray, Senator Hill)
DFAT Portfolio Contracts with KPMG Peat Marwick
(Senator Robert Ray, Senator Hill)
Department of Social Security: Surveillance Guidelines
(Senator Woodley, Senator Newman)
Minister for Trade: Programs and Grants
(Senator O'Brien, Senator Hill)
Climate Change Convention
(Senator Lees, Senator Hill)
Department of Environment, Sport and Territories: Salary Packaging
(Senator Chris Evans, Senator Hill)
Logging and Woodchipping
(Senator Murray, Senator Parer)
National Electricity Grid: Queensland Interconnection
(Senator Woodley, Senator Parer)
- International Instruments on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
Tuesday, 21 October 1997
Senator IAN CAMPBELL (Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasurer)(3.53 p.m.) —I table the explanatory memorandum and a correction to the explanatory memorandum and move:
That this bill be now read a second time.
I seek leave to have the second reading speech incorporated in Hansard.
The speech read as follows—
The National Environment Protection Measures (Implementation) Bill represents a further significant milestone in the development of environment protection in Australia. The bill represents a commitment of the Commonwealth and the States and Territories to work cooperatively to develop and implement national environment protection measures, a commitment which was agreed to by the Council of Australian Governments in the Intergovernmental Agreement on the Environment in May 1992.
It bears repeating that the objectives of the measures are to ensure that people, wherever they live in Australia, enjoy the benefit of equivalent protection from air, water, soil pollution and noise and secondly, to ensure that decisions by business are not distorted and markets are not fragmented by variations between jurisdictions in relation to the adoption or implementation of major environment protection measures.
The bill is the second part of a package of complementary State and Commonwealth legislation. It follows the National Environment Protection Council Act 1994 which established the National Environment Protection Council and allowed for the development and application of national environment protection measures. National environment protection measures, which may be a combination of goals, guidelines, standards or protocols, will apply as valid law in each participating jurisdiction.
The first face-to-face meeting of the Council occurred on 21 June 1996, after the States and Territories had passed mirror legislation to put in place commitments to implement national environment protection measures.
The National Environment Protection Council Act 1994 determined that measures may be made in relation to:
(a) ambient air quality
(b) ambient marine, estuarine and fresh water quality;
(c) noise, where differences in environmental requirements relating to noise would have an adverse effect on national markets for goods and services;
(d) general guidelines for the assessment of site contamination;
(e) environmental impacts associated with hazardous wastes;
(f) the re-use and recycling of used materials;
(g) motor vehicles noise and emissions, also where differences in standards would affect national markets.
THE OPERATION OF THE BILL
The purpose of the National Environment Protection Measures (Implementation) Bill is to provide for the implementation of national environment protection measures in respect of activities by the Commonwealth and Commonwealth authorities.
The bill provides the means by which the Commonwealth and Commonwealth authorities are able to implement national environment protection measures. These means consist of:
. the application of provisions of State and Territory laws;
. the making of regulations;
. the use of an existing law of the Commonwealth which can deliver appropriate environmental outcomes; and
. the carrying out of an environmental audit and preparation of an environment management plan.
National environment protection measures relating to ambient air quality, the National Pollutant Inventory, transport of hazardous wastes across State and Territory borders, the assessment of contaminated sites and diesel emissions are presently being developed.
COOPERATION WITH STATES AND TERRITORIES IN ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT
The bill is breaking new ground and will establish stronger co-operation between the Commonwealth and the States and Territories in relation to environment protection initiatives. The bill is being implemented concurrently with an examination of the division of responsibilities for the environment in the present Review of Commonwealth and State Roles and Responsibilities for the Environment. Among other things, the Review is examining the Commonwealth's compliance with State and Territory environment and planning laws consistent with the principles of competitive neutrality as agreed by the Council of Australian Governments.
It is envisaged that the mechanism of application of State and Territory laws will be the first option considered for the implementation of a national environment protection measure with regard to Commonwealth activities and sites.
COMPLIANCE WITH THE MEASURES
The Commonwealth, and the States and Territories will have to comply with any national environment protection measure developed by the National Environment Protection Council. This strong commitment by all governments ensures national harmonisation of approaches which aim to protect the environment. The National Environment Protection Measures (Implementation) Bill is the mechanism through which the Commonwealth will fulfil this important commitment.
An exemption from implementing a particular measure at a certain Commonwealth place or with regard to a specific Commonwealth activity will ONLY be given on the ground of a matter of national interest. A matter of `national interest' is confined to:
(i) Australia's relations with another country or Australia's international obligations, national security, national defence or a national emergency; or
(ii) a matter relating to telecommunications or the management of aviation airspace and airports, including aircraft emissions, aircraft noise and on-ground airport management, but not including matters specified by 1.04 (2) of the Airports (Environment Protection) Regulations; or
(iii) any other matter agreed to between the Commonwealth, the States and the Territories.
Australia is part of an international aviation community and it is the Government's view that matters relating to aviation airspace management and airport management would benefit from being regulated under a single national regime. In providing an holistic regime for the effective environmental regulation for airspace and airports, the Commonwealth will be meeting the Objectives of NEPMs provided by the IGAE.
The bill provides for the implementation of NEPMs by another law of the Commonwealth if the Environment Minister is satisfied it will achieve appropriate environmental outcomes. One of the Objects of the Airport (Environmental Protection) Regulations, made under the Airports Act 1996, is to establish, in conjunction with NEPMs, a Commonwealth system of regulation for activities at airports that generate, or have the potential to generate, pollution or excessive noise. By operating in conjunction with NEPMs, it is my view that the Regulations will provide the appropriate environmental outcomes.
To ensure these outcomes are achieved, the Regulations prescribe the development of an environment strategy for each airport and the establishment of an enforcement regime.
Noise emissions from aircraft in flight or when landing, taking off or taxiing at an airport and engine emissions will continue to be regulated by the Air Navigation (Aircraft Noise) Regulations and the Air Navigation (Aircraft Engine Emissions) Regulations respectively which will continue to meet Australia's international obligations.
In the case where State or Territory law is not the mechanism for implementation of a particular national environment protection measure, there is an obligation on the part of Commonwealth authorities to implement the measure either through an existing Commonwealth law which will deliver the necessary environmental outcomes, through Commonwealth regulations or through development of an environment management plan.
Non-compliance with a national environment protection measure will be published in the Gazette, and the details of authorities not complying will also be publicly available through the annual report to Parliament on implementation of the measures.
RIGOROUS DEVELOPMENT OF THE MEASURES
In developing a national environment protection measure, regional environmental differences must be taken into account, as must the environmental, economic and social impacts of the measure. The Council must also take into account whether the measure is the most effective means of achieving the desired environmental outcome, and whether the measure can be simply and effectively administered.
National environment protection measures must also be consistent with the principles of ecologically sustainable development as outlined in the Intergovernmental Agreement on the Environment.
As stated earlier, the National Environment Protection Council is developing draft measures for the National Pollutant Inventory and ambient air quality. Both these measures aim to address issues of national significance. The Government made an election commitment to develop a National Pollutant Inventory and ambient air standards, and I have made programs which seek to make our cities sustainable a priority for my Portfolio. Development of a measure for ambient air quality recognises the intense community concerns about air pollution.
A number of studies have been undertaken to ensure that the current measures being developed, for the National Pollutant Inventory and ambient air quality, can stand up to rigorous scrutiny, both in relation to their scientific basis and administrative efficiency as well as their effectiveness in contributing to achieving the desired environmental outcome. For example, the Government's Air Pollution Inquiry is assisting the development of the Ambient Air Quality measure through the funding of important work on air quality standards.
An impact statement is required for each national environment protection measure by the National Environment Protection Council Act 1994. These impact statements will comprise comprehensive explanations of the measure and identify where possible economic, environmental or social costs or benefits are likely to arise.
NON-GOVERNMENT INVOLVEMENT IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF MEASURES
Public consultation is an important component of the process to develop measures. Draft measures will be published in the Commonwealth Gazette and submissions regarding the draft measure invited over a two month period.
Non-government advisory groups, with membership relevant to the various national environment protection measures, have been involved in the development of those measures. Membership of these groups has included representatives of groups as diverse as the Australian Institute of Petroleum, Minerals Council of Australia, ACTU, Greenpeace Australia and the Queensland Conservation Council.
Non-Government representatives have also participated in the technical advisory panels for national environment protection measures.
Further, the community will have an opportunity to examine each draft measure and to provide submissions during the consultation period following publication of the draft measure in the Commonwealth Gazette. It is very likely that changes will be made to the national environment protection measures after receiving important feedback from various sources during the public consultation phase.
The draft measure for the National Pollutant Inventory has been released for public consultation while the ambient air quality measure was released as a public discussion paper.
Passage of this bill will help spur on the development of these national environment protection measures.
HARMONISATION OF ENVIRONMENTAL OUTCOMES ACROSS AUSTRALIA
An outcome of the adoption of national environment protection measures will be greater certainty for business, and a greater capacity for industry to manage environmental issues which cross State borders.
While implementation strategies may vary somewhat across States and Territories, it is likely that information will be shared between jurisdictions in relation to implementation of measures and that, over time, the implementation strategies themselves will have a tendency to become uniform nationally.
The passage of the National Environmental Protection Measures (Implementation) Bill is a landmark event for environmental management in Australia. The legislation will provide the implementation vehicle for the development of national environment protection measures on, as I have mentioned previously, a range of issues including air and water pollution, contaminated sites assessment, the transport of hazardous wastes across borders, in some instances, motor vehicle emissions, and the re-use and recycling of used materials.
Cooperation between the Commonwealth and State and Territory governments in the development of measures represents a major benefit not only to the people of Australia and to the environment, but also to Australian industry.
There will be benefits to the environment through the close attention given to the specific environment issues and to identifying an effective environmental outcome in development of national environment protection measures. The Australian people will benefit through having access to equivalent protection from pollutants wherever they live in Australia, and industry will benefit from ensuring competitive neutrality in relation to their activities throughout Australia.
Even though the current agenda for the measures is relatively extensive, there may be calls in the future to extend the range of measures which can be dealt with under the National Environment Protection Council Act.
However, for the moment, we can look forward to the early development of an ambient air quality measure, the National Pollutant Inventory measure, a measure on the transport of hazardous wastes across State or Territory borders and one on guidelines for assessment of contaminated sites. The work required for the development of a measure is extensive and resources have been stretched in all jurisdictions to develop the first measures for ambient air quality and the National Pollutant Inventory, which I hope will be finalised and gazetted in February 1998 ready for the implementation phase.
I commend the National Environmental Protection Measures (Implementation) Bill to you as an important achievement in environmental management for Australia and for all Australians.
Debate (on motion by Senator Chris Evans) adjourned.