20 February 2014

Environment Commissioner welcomes national reporting plans

Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment Dr Jan Wright has welcomed Government plans for regular national state of the environment reporting.

The Environmental Reporting Bill, announced by Minister for the Environment Amy Adams, proposes that the Secretary for the Environment and the Government Statistician prepare the reports with the Environment Commissioner providing independent review and commentary.

A 2011 discussion document had proposed the Environment Commissioner would produce a major report on the state of the environment every five years. However, Dr Wright said she is very comfortable with a review/commentary role, although she will need to study the detail in the Bill and provide her advice to the select committee.

"A review role provides for a level of independent scrutiny and is consistent with my existing functions in s16(1) of the Environment Act 1986", she said.

"While the earlier proposal was also consistent with my existing functions, I did have a concern that, even with extras resources, the magnitude of the task would compromise my ability to undertake investigations and provide advice to MPs."

"Regular reporting on the state of our environment at the national level has been discretionary. This legislation will remedy that."

A link to Environmental Reporting Questions and Answers can be found here.


ENDS