Tough New Penalties To Protect Our Environment

Tough New Penalties To Protect Our Environment

Member for Port Macquarie, Leslie Williams has today welcomed the NSW Government’s announcement of a range of new measures that will strengthen the state’s environment watchdog, including a proposed ten-fold increase in penalties for companies that breach environment protection licenses.

Mrs Williams said the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) will now be armed with the toughest regulatory powers in Australia, in order to protect communities and the environment.

“This announcement is about giving the EPA the tools it needs to be an effective environment watchdog for our community,” Mrs Williams said.

“We’re rebalancing our laws and regulations back in favour of the community and the environment.

“Our message to business is – if you do the right thing, you’ll pay less.

“But, if you pollute or damage the environment it’s time to clean up your act or face higher penalties and license fees,” Mrs Williams said.

The proposed changes include:

· Increasing fines for the ten most serious environmental offences from $1500 to $15,000 for a corporation and from $750 up to $7,500 for an individual; and

· The introduction of risk-based licencing from 1 July 2015;

· Giving the Land and Environment Court alternative approaches to sentences, including the ability to set restorative justice actions that will benefit the environment and the victims of environmental incidents;

· Changes to the law that will close the liability loophole for operators looking to avoid penalties and prosecution; and

· Proposed changes to the state’s waste regulations to reduce the licensing thresholds for waste recycling and storage activities (currently 2,500 tonnes at any one time proposed down to 1,000 tonnes) to stop stockpiling.

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