By Gerry Bates and Kate Meares*
Councils have legal responsibilities for carrying out a wide range of environmental functions. Their capacity to effectively deliver on their environmental responsibilities depends heavily on their capacity to fund and resource appropriate personnel. The powers of authorised council officers to make, monitor and enforce decisions in relation to their roles as environmental managers depends upon the conferment of appropriate legislative powers. This article reviews the legal powers available to councils in New South Wales to fund their environmental management and compliance programs; and the practice of councils in the Hunter Region that strive to integrate the delivery of desired local services with recognised and accepted obligations for environmental management. Although most of the material for this article is drawn inevitably from New South Wales, the options available to, and practice of, Hunter councils should be relevant to councils in other jurisdictions.
The full article can be accessed here: “Options for funding: Environmental compliance programs in New South Wales” (2010) 16 LGLJ 32.
*Gerry Bates is an environmental law and policy consultant and adjunct professor at the University of Sydney. Kate Meares works for the Hunter & Central Coast Regional Environmental Management Strategy.