Principles of Environmental Protection:
Extract from the Victorian State Government's
Environmental Protection (Liveable Neighbourhoods) Bill 2000

Purpose and principles

1A. Purpose of Act
(1) The purpose of this Act is to create a legislative framework for the protection of the environment in Victoria having regard to the principles of environment protection.
(2) The principles of environment protection are set out in sections 1B to 1L.
(3) It is the intention of Parliament that in the administration of this Act regard should be given to the principles of environment protection.
1B. Principle of integration of economic, social and environmental considerations
(1) Sound environmental practices and procedures should be adopted as a basis for ecologically sustainable development for the benefit of all human beings and the environment.
(2) This requires the effective integration of economic, social and environmental considerations in decision making processes with the need to improve community well-being and the benefit of future generations.
(3) The measures adopted should be cost-effective and in proportion to the significance of the environmental problems being addressed.
1C. The precautionary principle
(1) 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.
(2) Decision making should be guided by--
(a) a careful evaluation to avoid serious or irreversible damage to the environment wherever practicable; and
(b) an assessment of the risk-weighted consequences of various options.
1D. Principle of intergenerational equity
The present generation should ensure that the health, diversity and productivity of the environment is maintained or enhanced for the benefit of future generations.
1E. Principle of conservation of biological diversity and ecological integrity
The conservation of biological diversity and ecological integrity should be a fundamental consideration in decision making.
1F. Principle of improved valuation, pricing and incentive mechanisms
(1) Environmental factors should be included in the valuation of assets and services.
(2) Persons who generate pollution and waste should bear the cost of containment, avoidance and abatement.
3) Users of goods and services should pay prices based on the full life cycle costs of providing the goods and services, including costs relating to the use of natural resources and the ultimate disposal of wastes.
(4) Established environmental goals should be pursued in the most cost effective way by establishing incentive structures, including market mechanisms, which enable persons best placed to maximise benefits or minimise costs to develop solutions and responses to environmental problems.
1G. Principle of shared responsibility
(1) Protection of the environment is a responsibility shared by all levels of Government and industry, business, communities and the people of Victoria.
(2) Producers of goods and services should produce competitively priced goods and services that satisfy human needs and improve quality of life while progressively reducing ecological degradation and resource intensity throughout the full life cycle of the goods and services to a level consistent with the sustainability of biodiversity and ecological systems.
1H. Principle of product stewardship
Producers and users of goods and services have a shared responsibility with Government to manage the environmental impacts throughout the life cycle of the goods and services, including the ultimate disposal of any wastes.
1I. Principle of wastes hierarchy
Wastes should be managed in accordance with the following order of preference--
(a) avoidance;
(b) re-use;
(c) re-cycling;
(d) recovery of energy;
(e) treatment;
(f) containment;
(g) disposal.
1J. Principle of integrated environmental management
If approaches to managing environmental impacts on one segment of the environment have potential impacts on another segment, the best practicable environmental outcome should be sought.
1K. Principle of enforcement
Enforcement of environmental requirements should be undertaken for the purpose of--
(a) better protecting the environment and its economic and social uses;
(b) ensuring that no commercial advantage is obtained by any person who fails to comply with environmental requirements;
(c) influencing the attitude and behaviour of persons whose actions may have adverse environmental impacts or who develop, invest in, purchase or use goods and services which may have adverse environmental impacts.
1L. Principle of accountability
(1) The aspirations of the people of Victoria for environmental quality should drive environmental improvement.
(2) Members of the public should therefore be given--
(a) access to reliable and relevant information in appropriate forms to facilitate a good understanding of environmental issues;
(b) opportunities to participate in policy and program development.".