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National Environment Protection Council Amendment Bill 2002

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2002

THE PARLIAMENT OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

 

 

 

 

 

NATIONAL ENVIRONMENT PROTECTION COUNCIL AMENDMENT BILL 2002

EXPLANATORY MEMORANDUM

(Circulated by authority of the Minister for the Environment and Heritage,

The Hon Dr David Kemp MP)

 

 

 

 

 

 



 

NATIONAL ENVIRONMENT PROTECTION COUNCIL AMENDMENT BILL 2002

OUTLINE

The purpose of this Bill is to make minor amendments to the National Environment Protection Council Act 1994 .

 

The effect of the amendments is to provide a simplified process for making minor variations to National Environment Protection Measures, to require five yearly reviews of the National Environment Protection Council Act 1994 , and to allow the NEPC Service Corporation to provide support and assistance to other ministerial councils.

 

The first two amendments give effect to the outcomes of a 2000 - 2001 review of the Commonwealth, and States and Territories National Environment Protection Council Acts.  The third amendment follows from the review of Ministerial Councils by the Council of Australian Governments in 2001 as a consequence of which the National Environment Protection Council and the Environment Protection and Heritage Council meet jointly.  This Bill enables the NEPC Service Corporation, which is a statutory body under the National Environment Protection Council Act 1994 , to extend its secretariat service to the joint council.

 

FINANCIAL IMPACT STATEMENT

The Bill will have no financial impact.



NATIONAL ENVIRONMENT PROTECTION COUNCIL AMENDMENT BILL 2002

 

NOTES ON CLAUSES

 
Clause 1 - Short title

1            This clause is a formal provision specifying the short title of the Bill.

 

Clause 2 - Commencement

2            Subclause 2(1) provides a table indicating when each provision of this Act commences.

3            The table provides that the commencement date for sections 1, 2 and 3 of the Act is the day on which the Act receives the Royal Assent and the commencement date for Schedule 1 of the Act is a single day to be fixed by Proclamation subject to subclause 2(3).

4            Subclause 2(2) provides that Column 3 of the table is for additional information that is not part of the Act but may be included in any published version of the Act.

5            Subclause 2(3) provides for an alternative commencement date for Schedule 1.  If Schedule 1 of the Act does not commence within twelve months of the Act receiving Royal Assent, then it will commence on the first day after the end of this period.  The deferral of commencement date is to enable the States and Territories to introduce corresponding amendments to their own mirror legislation to the National Environment Protection Council Act 1994 .  

 

Clause 3 - Schedules

6            This clause provides that each Act that is specified in a Schedule is amended or repealed as set out in that Schedule. 

 

Schedule 1 - Amendment of the National Environment Protection Council Act 1994

 

Item 1 - Subsection 6(1)

7            This item adds a definition of Ministerial Council that will ensure that, for the purposes of paragraph 13(h) and paragraph 36(aa), the Ministerial Councils which can be supported by the NEPC Service Corporation are limited to those which include environmental protection in their functions.

 

Item 2 - Subsection 6(1)

8            This item adds a definition of minor variation .

 

Item 3 - At the end of paragraph 13(g)

9            This item inserts a new paragraph 13(h) that enables the National Environment Protection Council (the Council) to direct the NEPC Service Corporation to provide assistance and support to Ministerial Councils in addition to the Council. 

 

Item 4 - At the end of section 20

10          Section 20 entitles the Council to vary or revoke national environment protection measures.  This item inserts a new subsection 20(5) that removes the application of subsections 20(2) - (4) to minor variations. 

 

Item 5 - After Division 2 of Part 3

11          This item inserts a new Division 2A that contains procedures the Council must follow when making a minor variation of national environment protection measures.  The procedure for varying a national environment protection measure is set out in sections 20 to 22.  New simplified and sequential procedures set out in Division 2A will apply to a minor variation. 

12          Subsection 22A(1) sets out the conditions under which the Council can determine whether a variation to a national environment protection measure is minor.  This subsection requires the variation to be supported by a unanimous resolution of the Council that must state that the variation will not significantly change the measure.  If the Council makes such a resolution the variation is taken to be minor.  Subsection 22A(2) then requires the Council to prepare a draft of the proposed variation and a statement that explains the reasons for the proposed variation, the nature and effect of the proposed variation, and the reasons why the Council is satisfied it is minor.

13          Section 22B provides for public consultation before a minor variation is made so that the public is aware that the Council is intending to vary a measure and have the opportunity to make submissions to the Council on the proposed variation or the explanatory statement relating to the proposed variation.

14          Section 22C provides that when making a minor variation the Council must have regard to any submissions it receives, the consistency of the measure with the principles of environmental policy set out in section 3 of the Intergovernmental Agreement on the Environment, any relevant international agreements to which Australia is a party and any regional differences in Australia.

Item 6 - After paragraph 36(a)

15          This item inserts a new paragraph 36(aa) that enables the Service Corporation to provide assistance and support to Ministerial Councils in addition to the Council.

 

Item 7 - At the end of paragraph 36(b)

16          This item inserts a reference to paragraph 36(aa) to enable the Service Corporation to do anything incidental or conducive to its provision of assistance to other Ministerial Councils.

 

Item 8 - At the end of section 64

17          This item inserts a new heading ‘ Subsequent 5 yearly reviews ’ and additional subsections 64(3) and (4) which provide for the Act to be reviewed at five yearly intervals after the first 5-year review and for the report of each further review to be tabled in Parliament.