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Joint Media Release
Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Dr David Kemp
&
Mr Kon Vatskalis
Northern Territory Minister for the Environment

20 September 2002

New Agreement Streamlines NT Environment Protection


An agreement signed by the Commonwealth and the Northern Territory Government’s provides major benefits for development activities in the Northern Territory, streamlining the Territory’s environment protection.

The bilateral agreement is the third to be announced under the Commonwealth’s Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act) and allows for one environmental impact assessment process to be conducted on development projects.

The signing is a joint effort between the Federal Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Dr David Kemp and the Northern Territory Minister for the Environment, Mr Kon Vatskalis.

“By entering into this bilateral agreement we are continuing to strengthen intergovernmental relations to better protect the environment, whilst ensuring no unnecessary duplication occurs between the two governments,” the Ministers said.

“The agreement accredits the Northern Territory system for environmental assessment against national ‘best practice’ benchmarks,” Dr Kemp said.

“This signing under the EPBC Act demonstrates that States and Territories are recognising that bilateral agreements make good sense in streamlining processes, while still maintaining the necessary high standard of environmental protection.”

“The bilateral agreement means the Northern Territory would now be assessing projects that trigger the Commonwealth EPBC Act using the accredited Territory assessment processes,” Mr Vatskalis said.

“It ensures major developments, in which the Commonwealth and Territory have an interest, will have an efficient assessment process.

“This streamlined process will deliver certainty for areas such as the mining and industry sectors and be a boost for development in Northern Territory,” Mr Vatskalis said.

Through the bilateral agreement, the Commonwealth has accredited the Northern Territory assessment process for Environmental Impact Statements and Public Environment Reports under the Northern Territory Environment Assessment Act. The inquires process under the Northern Territory Inquires Act is also accredited.

Bilateral agreements under the EPBC Act have also been signed with Tasmania and Western Australia and Dr Kemp expects bilateral agreements with other States and Territories will be settled shortly.

Media contacts:
Catherine Job Dr Kemp's office (02) 6277 7640 or 0408 648 400
Nikola Lekias Mr Vatskalis office (08) 8901 4138

Commonwealth of Australia