National Environment Protection Measures (NEPMs)
The implementation of NEPMs is the responsibility of each participating jurisdiction. Each Minister on the NEPC is required by the Naitonal Environment Protection Council Act (NEPC Act) to report to NEPC each year on the implementation of each NEPM in their jurisdiction.
For a copy of the current annual report, please go to www.scew.gov.au. Previous annual reports can be accessed on the annual reports page using the tab above.
For a copy of any individual NEPM, please go to ComLaw website at: http://www.comlaw.gov.au/Browse/Results/ByTitle/LegislativeInstruments/Current/Na/0
What are NEPMs?
NEPMs are broad framework-setting statutory instruments defined in the NEPC Act. They outline agreed national objectives for protecting or managing particular aspects of the environment.
NEPMs are similar to environmental protection policies. NEPMs may consist of any combination of goals, standards, protocols, and guidelines. Typically a NEPM may contain:
- a goal
- one or more standards
- one or more monitoring and reporting protocols, and
- may also contain guidelines.
For an explanation of the terms used above click here.
What do NEPMs relate to?
Section 14(1) of the NEPC Act prescribes that NEPMs may relate to any one or more of the following:
- ambient air quality
- ambient marine, estuarine and fresh water quality;
- the protection of amenity in relation to noise (but only if differences in markets for goods and services);
- general guidelines for the assessment of site contamination;
- environmental impacts associated with hazardous wastes;
- the re-use and recycling of used materials.
NEPMs may also relate to motor vehicle noise and emissions.
How is a NEPM developed?
The preparation of NEPMs require a number of steps to be followed. Section 16 of the NEPC Act requires the NEPC to give notice of its intention to prepare a draft of a proposed NEPM. This Notice appears in the Commonwealth of Australia Gazette and in newspapers that circulate within each State/Territory.
Prior to making a NEPM the NEPC prepares a draft of the NEPM and an impact statement. As set out in section 17 of the Act, the impact statement must include a number of issues including the desired environmental outcomes, the reason for the proposed NEPM and the environmental impact of not making the NEPM and an identification and assessment of the economic and social impact on the community (including industry) of making the proposed NEPM.
Can I have input into the process?
Both the draft NEPM and impact statement are made available for public consultation for at least two months. A notice is placed in the Commonwealth of Australia Gazette and in newspapers that circulate within each State/Territory inviting public submissions to the draft NEPM and impact statement. During the public consultation period, public meetings about the NEPM are held in most States/Territories. The draft NEPM and impact statement will be available for download from this web site throughout the public consultation period.
How is a NEPM made?
After the public consultation period finishes, the NEPM and impact statement and the summary of submissions received during public consultation are tabled at an NEPC meeting. In making NEPMs, the NEPC must have regard to the considerations detailed in section 15 of the NEPC Act, and include:
- consistency with the Intergovernmental Agreement on the Environment
- environmental, economic, and social impacts
- relevant international agreements, and
- regional environmental differences.
A two-thirds majority is required for the NEPC to make a NEPM. Once the NEPC has agreed to make a NEPM, a notice is published in the Commonwealth of Australia Gazette.
A NEPM will become law in each participating jurisdiction once it is made by the NEPC, unless it is disallowed by either House of the Commonwealth Parliament (see below).
What happens once a NEPM is made?
After the NEPC has made a NEPM, the NEPM, impact statement and summary of submissions document are laid before both Houses of the Commonwealth Parliament for up to 15 days. During this period, the NEPM can be disallowed.