Creating Better Efficiency and Accountability within our Environment Act

NT Government

Today, the Territory Labor Government has passed the Environment Legislation Amendment Bill 2021.

The purpose of the Bill is to amend a range of environmental laws that will clarify administration, improve efficiency and ensure effective decisions can be made across a range of land, fire and environmental management regulatory matters.

This Bill is a continuation of our Environmental Reforms. It is focused on amendments that correct inconsistencies and omissions and supports efficient administration of regulatory decisions and enables more effective compliance and enforcement.

Key amendments to the Bill include:

Amendments to the Bushfires Management Act 2016 section which assist property owners and occupiers to take appropriate steps to ensure the property is bushfire ready.Greater safe guards to the Environmental Offences and Penalties Act 1996 to increase penalty infringement values to ensure that environmental offences are subject to appropriate penalties, while amendments to the Litter Act 1972 provide the ability for the Minister to delegate powers or functions under the Act to streamline its administration.Changes to the Pastoral Land Act 1992 which gives the Pastoral Land Board explicit powers to exempt certain clearing activities from the permitting requirements, such as clearing for fences and tracks that are necessary for the efficient operation of the pastoral enterprise. The Board’s new powers will also include the ability to amend, vary, suspend and revoke land clearing approvals, on its own initiative and at the request of the permit holder, in addition to issuing stop work orders and rehabilitation directions.

The amendments in this Bill were identified through the ongoing process of administering legislation as well as a comprehensive analysis conducted by the Department of Environment, Parks and Water Security to identify opportunities to streamline processes and deliver regulatory efficiencies in response to the First Report of the Commission.

Quotes from the Minister for Environment, Eva Lawler:

“This Bill improves efficiency and reinforces the Territory Labor Government’s push for sustainable economic development in the NT.

“The amendments will modernise and clarify land clearing requirements on pastoral land and ensure the clearing is undertaken in a sustainable manner, while being supported by comprehensive compliance and enforcement tools.

“They also maintain appropriate environmental protections, while improving and streamlining regulatory processes, increasing certainty and creating efficiencies for the Department, land managers and industry.”

Northern Territory Government

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