Without affecting the functions that the Minister has apart from this section, the Minister is charged with the responsibility of promoting and co-ordinating environmental planning and assessment for the purpose of carrying out the objects of this Act and, in discharging that responsibility, shall have and may exercise the following functions:
(a) to carry out research into problems of environmental planning and assessment and disseminate information including the issue of memoranda, reports, bulletins, maps or plans relating to environmental planning and assessment,
(b) to advise councils upon all matters concerning the principles of environmental planning and assessment and the implementation thereof in environmental planning instruments,
(c) to promote the co-ordination of the provision of public utility and community services and facilities within the State,
(d) to promote planning of the distribution of population and economic activity within the State,
(e) to investigate the social aspects of economic activity and population distribution in relation to the distribution of utility services and facilities, and
(f) to monitor progress and performance in environmental planning and assessment, and to initiate the taking of remedial action where necessary.