New South Wales Consolidated Acts

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Objectives of the Authority

6 Objectives of the Authority

(1) The objectives of the Authority are:
(a) to protect, restore and enhance the quality of the environment in New South Wales, having regard to the need to maintain ecologically sustainable development, and
(b) to reduce the risks to human health and prevent the degradation of the environment, by means such as the following:
• promoting pollution prevention,
• adopting the principle of reducing to harmless levels the discharge into the air, water or land of substances likely to cause harm to the environment,
• minimising the creation of waste by the use of appropriate technology,
• regulating the transportation, collection, treatment, storage and disposal of waste,
• encouraging the reduction of the use of materials, encouraging the re-use and recycling of materials and encouraging material recovery,
• adopting minimum environmental standards prescribed by complementary Commonwealth and State legislation and advising the Government to prescribe more stringent standards where appropriate,
• setting mandatory targets for environmental improvement,
• promoting community involvement in decisions about environmental matters,
• ensuring the community has access to relevant information about hazardous substances arising from, or stored, used or sold by, any industry or public authority,
• conducting public education and awareness programs about environmental matters.
(2) For the purposes of subsection (1) (a), ecologically sustainable development requires the effective integration of economic and environmental considerations in decision-making processes. Ecologically sustainable development can be achieved through the implementation of the following principles and programs:
(a) the precautionary principle-namely, that if there are threats of serious or irreversible environmental damage, lack of full scientific certainty should not be used as a reason for postponing measures to prevent environmental degradation.
In the application of the precautionary principle, public and private decisions should be guided by:
(i) careful evaluation to avoid, wherever practicable, serious or irreversible damage to the environment, and
(ii) an assessment of the risk-weighted consequences of various options,
(b) inter-generational equity-namely, that the present generation should ensure that the health, diversity and productivity of the environment are maintained or enhanced for the benefit of future generations,
(c) conservation of biological diversity and ecological integrity-namely, that conservation of biological diversity and ecological integrity should be a fundamental consideration,
(d) improved valuation, pricing and incentive mechanisms-namely, that environmental factors should be included in the valuation of assets and services, such as:
(i) polluter pays-that is, those who generate pollution and waste should bear the cost of containment, avoidance or abatement,
(ii) the users of goods and services should pay prices based on the full life cycle of costs of providing goods and services, including the use of natural resources and assets and the ultimate disposal of any waste,
(iii) environmental goals, having been established, should be pursued in the most cost effective way, by establishing incentive structures, including market mechanisms, that enable those best placed to maximise benefits or minimise costs to develop their own solutions and responses to environmental problems.

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