This online engagement was hosted on YourSAy from 2 April to 27 April 2020. Below is a record of the engagement.
Current NRM regulations still required under the new Act have been replicated in the new draft regulations.
The opportunity has been taken to improve the operation of some existing regulations and create some new regulations to align with the landscape reform policy directions such as red tape reduction, streamlining and creating a simpler and more accessible system.
Some minor updates have also been made to ensure consistency with the new Act. For example, the requirements to provide notice in newspapers in regards to applications for permits or approvals have been replaced with more flexible public notification requirements.
Below are the key changes and improvements that are being made under the new draft regulations for the new Act.
Levy collection arrangements
Additional measures have been included in the draft regulations to further the Minister for Environment and Water’s commitment to create an efficient, cost effective and simplified process for councils to be reimbursed for the costs associated with levy collection or debt recovery. This includes new arrangements for councils to be reimbursed for unpaid land levies and costs associated with transitioning to the new landscape levy collection arrangements. Cost recovery arrangements for councils to claim costs for levy collection have also been streamlined.
Water licensing and planning arrangements
To improve water licensing and planning outcomes, new draft regulations provide:
- Greater flexibility in relation to separation (unbundling) of water rights, and
- Clarify the ability for appropriate water management arrangements to be adopted in water planning based on stakeholder feedback.
Pest plants and animal control measures
Increased flexibility is provided to improve responsiveness to the management or control of pest plants and animals including through provision for control measures to be declared by notice in the Gazette rather than only by regulations, and for exemptions to apply for movement or release of declared animals or plants in a broader range of circumstances where the control risk can be effectively managed.
To ensure transparency and accountability, in addition to matters required under the Act, board annual reports will need to include an assessment of the extent to which the board has succeeded in implementing its business plan, any water allocation plans, and policies, as well as meeting attendance by board members, any changes to board functions and delegations.
To reduce red tape and transaction costs associated with water licensing-related applications, clarifications have been made under the new draft regulations to allow no technical assessment fee to apply in instances where scientific assessments are not required.
In delivering a legislative framework that is more focussed on outcomes rather than prescriptive processes and to enable processes to evolve over time, certain existing provisions or processes are now set out in regulations rather than the Act. This includes offences that the Environment, Resources and Development Court has jurisdiction to hear, matters that may be considered in confidence at board meetings, and certain requirements for consultation and approval of plans and policies.