Council of Australian Governments, November 1997
Compliance with state environment and planning laws
1. The States agree that all State statutory authorities, government business enterprises (GBEs), privatised organisations, departments and agencies will be subject to State environment and planning laws.
2. Subject to paragraph 4, the Commonwealth agrees that the following entities will be subject to State environment and planning laws:
- all Commonwealth GBEs, non-GBE companies, statutory authorities whose primary functions are commercial, and business units;
- all non-Commonwealth tenants and persons undertaking activities on Commonwealth land;
- those Commonwealth departments, agencies and statutory authorities which elect to become subject to State environment and planning laws; and
- those Commonwealth departments, agencies and statutory authorities which are required by the Commonwealth to comply, following investigation of the feasibility of making them subject to State environment and planning laws.
3. The Commonwealth will ensure that Commonwealth departments, agencies, and statutory authorities which are not covered by paragraphs 2 or 4, will operate and secure approvals in accordance with Commonwealth measures which are at least equivalent to the environment and planning laws of the State in which the Commonwealth activity or property is located. The parties agree that this would require Commonwealth departments, agencies, and statutory authorities to observe equivalent processes and procedures to those of the States. The Commonwealth will endeavour to adopt standards in managing its environmental responsibilities which reflect ‘best practice' arrangements.
4. The Commonwealth and the States agree that certain matters will be exempt from compliance with State environment and planning laws on national interest grounds. This exemption shall apply to:
- Specific matters relating to telecommunications, aviation airspace management including aircraft noise and engine emissions, and on-ground airport management.
- Matters agreed by the Commonwealth Minister responsible for an activity or place and the Commonwealth Environment Minister after consultation with the relevant State Minister or agency where the matter:
- would benefit from being regulated under a single national regime; and
- would be hindered significantly by differing State requirements;
- for which there are no practical alternatives.
- Matters relating to Australia's relations with other countries and international obligations, national security, national defence, and national emergencies.
- Matters agreed between the Commonwealth and the States.
5. Where exemptions are permitted pursuant to this Attachment, Commonwealth activities will, as far as possible, be undertaken in a way that seeks to achieve at least the equivalent requirements of State legislation. The relevant Commonwealth Minister(s), in consultation with the Commonwealth Environment Minister, will be responsible for determining the means of achieving those requirements.
6. The Commonwealth and the States agree that within two years of signing this agreement they will seek to legislate as necessary to implement this Attachment and will, as soon as practicable, amend any existing tenancy agreements necessary to give effect to this Attachment. Prior to such legislation being finalised, each State will consult with Local Government on the implications of the provisions of this Schedule for Local Government.