Independent review of environmental regulator’s powers and penalties
An independent review of the Queensland Government’s powers and penalties where it particularly relates to nuisance under the Environmental Protection Act 1994 has commenced.
The review will examine, particularly targeting nuisance provisions:
- the adequacy of existing legislative powers
- the suitability of the regulator’s present statutory tools
- the adequacy of existing powers and tools in preventing and/or minimising environmental harm
- investigative powers
- the effectiveness and adequacy of existing penalties.
The review is being conducted by retired Judge Richard Jones and is expected to be complete by mid to late 2022.
Mr Jones served as a judge of Queensland’s District Court and Planning and Environment Court for more than 10 years before retiring from the bench in October 2021. He also served as a member of the Land Court of Queensland from 2005 to 2010 and has significant experience in environmental law.
The review aims to identify whether the tools available, particularly where they relate to nuisance, to the regulator are sufficiently contemporary to deal with the challenges of the future and make any recommendations for improvement for the regulation of Queensland’s environment.
In recent years, the environmental impacts from a number of industries have presented increasingly complex regulatory challenges for the regulator. This is often linked to growing communities with changing land uses over time, resulting in increased risks associated with pollution and waste management.
The review will aim to ensure that there are appropriate powers and penalties in place to deal with emerging issues and hold people to account for environmental harm.