A review of the State’s environment laws by retired Environment and Planning Court Judge, Richard Jones and former Senior Crown Prosecutor, Susan Hedge are planned to result in changes, specifically to tackle issues such as odour.
The review made 18 recommendations, all of which have been supported or supported in principle by the Government.
The review of the Environmental Protection Act 1994 was ordered after floods in Ipswich last year exacerbated odour issues from waste facilities.
The review recommended that greater emphasis should be placed on the concepts of human health, wellbeing, and safety, making it clear that certain emissions, such as odour, should be considered as material or serious environmental harm.
It also urged the creation of a new offence of contravening the existing general environmental duty, placing an emphasis on prevention by operators rather than reactively waiting for harm to occur to the environment.
Minister for the Environment, Leanne Linard said the Ipswich community had been very clear that after last year’s floods, companies should clean up their act.
“Every level of Government has an important role to play in protecting our environment, and this comprehensive review by Mr Jones (pictured) and Ms Hedge will help ensure State environmental odour laws are modernised and fit for purpose to meet the needs of the community,” Ms Linard said.
“We will now make the necessary changes to ensure timely and effective action can be taken where the community is negatively impacted by operations.”
She was confident the recommendations would give the Environmental Regulator the ability to take stronger and more effective action against individuals and companies who put the environment at risk.
The Independent Review of Powers and Penalties report and the Government’s response can be viewed at this PS News link.