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    Coat of ArmsMedia Release
    Minister for Sustainability, Climate Change and Innovation
    The Honourable Andrew McNamara

    New Year Heralds Tougher Environmental Penalties

    Minister for Sustainability, Climate Change and Innovation
    The Honourable Andrew McNamara

    Monday, December 22, 2008

    New Year Heralds Tougher Environmental Penalties

    The Bligh government has ensured better standards for air quality and noise in a suite of new environmental laws that come into effect in Queensland on New Year’s Day.

    Sustainability Minister Andrew McNamara said that new Environmental Protection Policies (EPPs) are part of a package of new legislation including amendments to the Environmental Protection Act 1994 and a new Environmental Protection Regulation 2008.

    “The new EPPs are not designed to trigger a review of all industries’ environmental licences, but will focus on ensuring future industries and businesses meet good environmental standards,” Mr McNamara said.

    “The new EPPs will help guide government agencies, such as the EPA and local government, who have a role to play in considering acceptable air quality and noise standards in the surrounding area.

    “These policies will allow more effective management and ongoing protection of Queensland’s environment through standards that reflect contemporary community values and expectations.

    “The new air quality standards (Air EPP) will help manage air quality from the impacts of industry and reflect national standards to help ensure a healthy environment for Queenslanders.

    “New noise standards (Noise EPP) will help protect residential and other sensitive areas such as schools and hospitals from unreasonable interference from intrusive noise.”

    Mr McNamara said that with increasing development and more people moving to Queensland, it is important that laws are in place to ensure that noise and air pollution from industry and businesses are well regulated.

    “Higher penalties for environmental nuisance will also take effect in Queensland when the Environmental Protection and Other Legislation Amendment Bill commences on January 1,” he said.

    “Examples of environmental nuisances are things like excessive noise and odours or minor water pollution.

    “The legislation will also allow local councils to have greater flexibility to meet their responsibilities in regulating environmental nuisance.”

    “On-the-spot fines for environmental nuisance offences will increase to $1000 for an individual and $2000 for a corporation, compared with previous penalties of $150 for environmental nuisance and between $300 and $600 for water pollution.

    “Polluters will now pay a harsher penalty for environmental vandalism.

    “If the matter goes to court, offenders can be fined up to $30,000 for individuals and $150,000 for corporations compared with $3,000 and $6,000 previously,” he said.

    From New Year’s Day local governments will deal with most complaints relating to either residential or commercial premises.

    “The Environmental Protection Agency will continue to be the watchdog where environmental nuisance is caused by an activity regulated by the EPA such as landfill, large industry or cattle feedlots.”

    Further information on the new policies is available by calling the Environmental Protection Agency on 1300 130 372.

    Media contact: Wendy Nye 3336 8004