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Liberals urge action on national pollution standards



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FRED CHANEY MP MEDIA RELEASE Member for Pearce Shadow Minister for the Environment

LIBERALS URGE ACTION ON NATIONAL POLLUTION STANDARDS 43/91

State and Federal Liberal spokesmen for the environment today called for urgent action towards setting national benchmark anti­ pollution standards.

The Federal Shadow Minister for the Environment# Fred Chaney, said the spokesmen, meeting in Adelaide, had agreed that these standards had to be arrived at through a Federal-State co­ operative approach.

"There is an urgent need to rationalise the mish-mash of controls and standards that are unacceptable from both environmental and business and industry perspectives," he said.

"But in determining national standards we must avoid adding another layer to the already over-layered decision-making and approval processes.

"The current Hawke Government proposal for a national Environment Protection Agency (EPA) runs the risk of falling into this trap.

"Today's meeting agreed that a new national EPA must operate along true federalist lines, as distinct from being a Commonwealth-dominated body.

"Its primary function should be the setting of minimum benchmark standards, particularly as regards air and water quality.

"States would still have the right to lay down stricter standards depending on local geographic and climatic conditions.

"The national standards set by the EPA would be decided by a majority vote of the Commonwealth-State Ministerial Council to which the Agency would be answerable. The standards would be subject to disallowance by either House of the Federal

Parliament.

"The structure, powers and functions of the new EPA should be established by complementary Commonwealth and State legislation. Preparation of such legislation should begin now and not be delayed pending further discussion of the proposed Inter­ Governmental Agreement on the environment at the November

Premiers' Conference."

Today's meeting was chaired by the Hon Tim Moore# NSW Minister for the Environment# and attended by Mr Chaney# Mr Mark Birrell (Victoria), Mr David Wotton (South Australia) and Mr David

Dunsworth (Queensland).

ADELAIDE 23 September 1991 Contact! Keith Kessell (08) 237 7130

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