Environmental Regulatory Reform Latest News

Latest news

Consultation draft Environment Protection Bill and Regulations

4 October 2018

On the 4 October 2018 the Department of Environment and Natural Resources released the draft Environment Protection Bill and draft Regulations for public consultation.

The draft Bill and draft Regulations are available on the environmental regulatory reform consultation website. Also on the website is a suite of supporting documentation designed to assist you in understanding and considering the draft legislation. This draft legislation addresses the environmental impact assessment and approval framework; a separate legislative process will address the reforms to waste, pollution, land clearing and the environmental impacts of mining.

Submissions on the draft Bill and draft Regulations are open to 3 December 2018.

Consultation on the establish Northern Territory Environmental Values and Objectives

27 September 2018

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (the Department) has engaged an independent consultant to assist with consultation on the establishment of the Northern Territory Environmental Values and Objectives. The Northern Territory Environmental Values and Objectives are a key component of the reform process designed to support decision making in the environmental impact assessment and approval process.

The environmental values and objectives will be developed in collaboration with key stakeholders to ensure they stakeholders have an opportunity for direct input into the process and that their range of needs and concerns are considered. Key Stakeholder consultation will be conducted between September – November 2018.
For more information on the establishment of the Northern Territory Environmental Values and Objectives please view the Consultation paper.

Review and appeals decision made

27 September 2018

The Northern Territory Government has considered a range of views on review provisions and mechanisms for inclusion into the new environment protection legislation. Government is committed to the implementation of the recommendations from the Scientific Inquiry into Hydraulic Fracturing in the Northern Territory (the Scientific Inquiry) which include open standing for judicial reviews, and broad standing for merits reviews.

The environment protection legislation will be broadly consistent with the approach recommended by the Scientific Inquiry.

Judicial review with open standing will be available for the following:

  • Decisions made by the NT EPA in relation to environmental impact assessment;
  • Approval decisions made by the Minister for Environment and Natural Resources; and
  • Licence or permit decisions made by the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) or their delegate.

Merits review to the NTCAT will be available for decisions made by the Minister and for licence or permit decisions made by the CEO of the DENR or their delegate.  Standing for merits review will be available for:

  • Proponents;
  • Persons who are directly or indirectly affected by the decision;
  • Members of an organised environmental, community or industry group;
  • Aboriginal Land Councils;
  • Registered Native Title Prescribed Body Corporate and registered claimants under the Native Title Act;
  • Local government bodies; and
  • Persons who have made genuine and valid objection during any assessment or approval process.
Stage 2 scope defined

20 August 2018

The environmental regulatory reform program continues to progress with Government recently identifying the broad parameters for the next stage of the reform program. Key elements to be included in the next stage of environmental reforms are:

  • the management of pollution, waste and litter
  • the management of environmental impacts of mining
  • the management of native vegetation clearing.

Matters which will not be addressed through this stage of the reform program include the Container Deposit Scheme, the Plastic Bag Ban, and matters related to ship-sourced pollution managed under the Marine Pollution Act. These matters will continue to be managed under separate legislation. Reform and review processes relating to these issues will be undertaken separately to current environmental reform program.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources will be undertaking targeted stakeholder consultation on how Government can design a framework to implement these decisions.

Drafting of environmental legislation

27 June 2018

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (the Department) has made substantial progress on the environmental regulatory reform program with the NT Government approving the commencement of drafting of the new environment protection Act.

To ensure this important legislation is introduced into Parliament in a timely manner, a highly experienced drafter will draft the new legislation. Stakeholder consultation will take place in late 2018 with the aim of introducing the draft legislation into Parliament in 2019.

In addition, the NT Government will also amend the Northern Territory Environment Protection Authority Act (NT EPA Act). The amendments will improve governance of the Northern Territory Environment Protection Authority (NT EPA) and modernise the NT EPA Act. It is anticipated the amended legislation will be introduced into Parliament in August 2018.

Stage 1 progress

22 December 2017

Stage 1 of the environmental regulatory reform program has made considerable progress with Government making decisions about particular aspects of the new environmental protection Act.
Government has agreed to:

  • the definition of environment
  • a conceptual assessment framework
  • specific elements of the new assessment and approval process

For further information on Government’s recent decisions please view fact sheet and a diagram of the conceptual assessment framework diagram.

Roles and responsibilities under the new environment protection legislation

30 November 2017

The NT Government recently considered the future role of the NT EPA in the Territory’s proposed new environmental management framework. The Government has determined that the NT EPA can best contribute to the protection and management of the environment by a strategic assessment, assurance and advisory role. The NT EPA will therefore:

  • undertake the environmental impact assessment process and provide strategic advice to Government on the impacts of projects;
  • monitor and review the environmental management system and provide advice about the operation of the environmental management system and information on how to improve the system to deliver improved environmental outcomes; and
  • continue to provide advice on other environmental matters of strategic importance to the Territory.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources will be tasked with undertaking day to day environmental management activities such as licensing and ensuring compliance with the new environmental protection legislation. This will include undertaking compliance and enforcement activities associated with the new environmental approval to be issued by the Minister following the environmental impact assessment process.

These changes will be implemented over time as the new environment protection legislation is developed.

There will be no changes to the NT EPA’s responsibilities in the short term.

Environmental Regulatory Reform Feedback Summary Paper released

19 September 2017

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources released the Environmental Regulatory Reform Feedback summary paper (3.6 mb). This paper provides an overview and summary of the feedback received in response to the Environmental Regulatory Reform Discussion Paper released in May 2017.

Discussion Paper stakeholder submissions released

28 June 2017

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources received 28 submissions in response to the Environmental Regulatory Reform Discussion Paper. View Submissions

Environmental Regulatory Reform Discussion Paper released

3 May 2017

To progress Stage 1 of the environmental reforms program the Department of Environment and Natural Resources have released the Environmental Regulatory Reform Discussion Paper. This paper is intended to provide a snapshot of the reform process for environmental impact assessment and project approvals. We acknowledge all of the work that has previously been undertaken by individuals and organisations in preparing submissions for Government. We have prepared this paper to build on that work and seek feedback on our direction. It identifies our understanding of your views about the existing assessment and approval system and how we intend to address issues you have previously raised and recommendations you have made. It also identifies those issues that we need more information about to help us develop new legislation. It identifies topics which have not been addressed in previous submissions and those for which there is not a clear path forward. Figure 2 in the discussion paper was updated on 26 May 2017.

Last updated: 23 October 2018