NT passes new Environment Protection Bill

A new environmental impact assessment system will be implemented in the Northern Territory, following the passing of the state’s amended Environment Protection Bill 2019.

Environment Minister Eva Lawler said the bill provides new approaches to environmental protection including environmental offsets and protected environmental areas.

“We are replacing outdated legislation and practice, ensuring we are strengthening governance and accountability for environmental decisions, supporting local jobs and providing greater certainty for the community and business,” Ms Lawler said.

“Our natural environment is one of our best assets and a huge part of what makes living in the Territory so special, good environmental policy is smart economic policy.”

According to Ms Lawler, the Environment Protection Act 2019 establishes clearer guidance on when a project must be referred to assessment for its impact on the environment, and sets out the criteria, principles and considerations by which a project must be assessed.

“This means that projects which may have a significant impact on the Territory’s environment will undergo rigorous environmental assessment, informing the decision to grant (or not) an environmental approval,” Ms Lawler said.

“It also includes provisions to ensure proponents and approval holders comply with their obligations to minimise unauthorised harm to the environment. Another first and a significant step to strengthening the environment protection regime in the Territory.”

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NT to consider CDS review recommendations

The Northern Territory Government is considering recommendations after an independent review of the state’s container deposit scheme.

The review showed a 30 per cent increase in the number of containers recycled since the scheme commenced in 2012.

Additionally, 83 per cent of review participants considered the scheme successful.

According to Environment Minister Eva Lawler, the scheme generated more than $11 million for community groups, schools and Territorians in 2017-18.

“Protecting our environment creates jobs, and good environmental policy like the container deposit scheme is smart economic policy for the Territory,” Ms. Lawler said.

“We are making the Territory cleaner, increasing our recycling and removing litter from landfill – since 2012 more than half a billion containers have been processed under the container deposit scheme.”

The review highlighted 21 recommendations to improve the scheme, with the state government supporting 17 in full, two in principle and leaving the remaining two subject to further consideration.

Ms. Lawler said recommendations fall into five broad categories, accessibility in regional and remote areas, broadening the scheme to include currently exempt containers such as wine bottles and milk cartons, reducing the regulatory burden on industry, targeted community awareness and improved data collection and regular auditing.

“An implementation plan has been developed which will see the recommendations rolled out in phases over the next two years, which includes consultation with industry and engagement with local government and community organisations through the process,” Ms Lawler said.

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