The legislative framework underpinning the NPI is the National Environment Protection (National Pollutant Inventory) Measure (NPI NEPM). This was Australia's first NEPM. NEPMs set out agreed national objectives for protecting or managing particular aspects of the environment.
Work and consultation on the NPI started substantially in 1995 and in 1996, the National Environment Protection Council (NEPC) implemented the NPI by developing the NPI NEPM. A project team was formed to draft theNEPM and impact statement.
A non-government organisation advisory group was also established to ensure industry, environment and community concerns were considered by the council. Membership included environment, industry and union groups.
An independent Technical Advisory Panel was formed to determine a methodology for evaluating substances to be included on the NPI reporting list and ways to develop the reporting list.
Public meetings and workshops were held around Australia. Based on comments from this consultation process, the NPI NEPM was revised and the NPI NEPM came into effect on 27 February, 1998.
Goals of the NPI NEPM
The national environment protection goals established by this measure are to:
- collect a broad base of information on emissions and transfers of substances on the reporting list, and
- disseminate the information collected to all sectors of the community in a useful, accessible and understandable form.
Data collection trials
Trials of the process for compiling and presenting NPI data were carried out in south-east Queensland and Kalgoorlie, Western Australia. The south-east Queensland trial was a joint initiative of the current Department of Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts (then Environment Australia) and the Queensland Environmental Protection Agency. The Kalgoorlie trial was an initiative of the then Environment Australia, the Western Australian Department of Environmental Protection and Western Mining Corporation.
Outcomes of the trials were essential elements in implementing the NPI on a national basis.