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NSW Protection of the Environment Legislation

by 5m Editor
9 February 2012, at 7:32am

AUSTRALIA - Australian Pork Limited (APL) recently wrote a letter to the NSW Minister for the Environment Robyn Parker MP, the NSW Minister for Primary Industries Katrina Hodgkinson and the Chief Executive of the NSW EPA Lisa Corbyn to express displeasure over the lack of consultation and due process in drafting this legislation, and concern over the nature of some of the major changes introduced.

APL in conjunction with the Australian Lot Feeders Association is meeting with Minister Parker to raise their concerns today, 9 February.

APL is seeking reform of the Amendment Act such that its requirements reflect the degree of environmental risk posed by respective industry sectors captured by the legislation.

APL has made a submission to the NSW EPA seeking amendments to the legislation.

The New South Wales government recently passed the NSW Protection of the Environment Legislation Amendment Act 2011, amending the NSW Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997.

The Amendment Act introduces several changes to the way pollution incidents are reported and managed. The changes apply to all holders of an environment protection licence (licensees) under the Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997 (POEO Act). Amongst other requirements, the Amendment Act imposes:

  • Changes to pollution incident notification requirements - Including a requirement to notify all relevant authorities immediately, with a doubling of penalties for non-compliance.

  • New duties to prepare and implement pollution incident response management plans - With a set format required by the regulations, and new associated offences for:
    • not preparing a plan;
    • not keeping the plan at the premises to which it relates;
    • not testing the plan in accordance with the regulations, and;
    • not implementing the plan in the case of an incident.

  • New requirements for the publishing of monitoring results - Including a requirement to publish monitoring data within 14 days of its collection, with new offences for not publishing the data, and for publishing false or misleading data.

  • Other changes providing the appropriate regulatory authority, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Director General of the Ministry of Health to impose unilateral obligations on producers - Including new notification obligations and directions for producers to pay the cost of an ill defined "analysis of the human health and environmental risks arising from a pollution incident" based on an undefined subjective judgement.

Details regarding the changes can be viewed on the NSW Environment Protection Authority website.

APL has made a submission to the NSW EPA seeking amendments to the legislation. The submission is available on the APL website.