Environmental regulatory reform program
There is a recognised need for substantial reform of the Northern Territory’s environment protection framework. Reforms are long overdue and critical to achieving a robust regulatory system that the community will trust to ensure the Territory’s ecologically sustainable development, while encouraging industry investment and economic growth.
The NT Government has committed to a range of environmental reforms to address current issues with the environmental framework and to design and implement a best practice environmental management regulatory framework. To achieve this the Northern Territory Government (NT Government) has developed a two stage environmental reform program.
- Stage 1 will address reforms to the environmental impact assessment system and introduce an environmental approval to be issued by the Minister for Environment and Natural Resources. This stage will also address reforms to the Northern Territory Environment Protection Authority Act to improve the accountability of the Northern Territory Environment Protection Authority (NT EPA) and to further define its role in the environmental management system.
- Stage 2 will address NT Government’s commitments to transform the Waste Management and Pollution Control Act into a fully functioning environmental protection Act, and fold environmental provisions of the Mining Management Act into the new environmental protection Act. This stage will also consider and address duplication in the environmental management system.
Reform Program Principles
For updates on the Environmental Regulatory Reforms progress please visit the Environmental Regulatory Reform Latest news page.
There have been a number of reviews of the NT’s environmental impact assessment and approvals system in recent years.
The most significant of these are:
- The Environment Protection Authority’s Final Advice on Improving Environmental Assessment in the Northern Territory (2010)
- Review of the Northern Territory Environmental Assessment and Approval Processes (2015)
- NT EPA’s Roadmap for a Modern Environmental Regulatory Framework for the Northern Territory (2017)
At the national scale there have been a number of reviews looking at environmental regulation, including the Australian Productivity Commission’s Major Project Development Assessment Processes (2013).
In addition, Government and the NT EPA have received submissions from industry, non-government organisations and individuals on a range of other environmental related matters. These submissions often raised issues relating to the assessment or approvals system and the effectiveness of the Waste Management and Pollution Control Act. Examples include those submissions about:
- environmental impact assessment guidelines prepared by the NT EPA between 2013 and now
- advice prepared by the NT EPA including its Recommendations Concerning Preservation of the Threatened Biodiversity of the Howard Sand Plains Site of Conservation Significance (2015)
- the NT’s draft Balanced Environment Strategy
- the NT’s draft Petroleum (Environment) Regulations.
The NT Government has considered information from these sources, and others, to develop proposed reforms to the assessment and approvals system.
Last updated: 18 January 2019