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Peak environment body calls on politicians

Peak environment body calls on politicians to require that Certified Environmental Practitioners sign off on all impact assessments

The Environment Institute of Australia and New Zealand has called on all parties contesting the central government election to adopt policies requiring that environmental impact assessments (EIAs) be signed off by certified professionals.

The EIANZ is the peak body representing environment professionals in Australia and New Zealand. It has almost 2000 members and over 600 Certified Environmental Practitioners, and today released a strong message to all politicians for the September election.

‘Requiring certified practitioners to sign off on EIAs will lift community confidence in the assessment of projects, especially contentious developments’, noted EIANZ’s New Zealand based Vice-President, Di Buchan. ‘It can also raise standards, and reduce risks for decision makers’ she said.

‘At present there’s no requirement for anyone signing off on EIAs to have a commitment to ethical practice, or to keeping their skills up to date. Thirty years after the environment profession was established, this should now change’ said Ms Buchan.

‘The vast majority of environmental practitioners, especially those who are members of professional bodies like EIANZ and those who have already become certified, undertake their work with great care and diligence’, said EIANZ’s Vice-President.

‘Imagine if doctors, lawyers, accountants and engineers weren’t required to be certified or registered. What if we had no commitment to ethical standards underpinning the signing off of prescriptions, commercial contracts, audited accounts, or bridge designs? Yet that’s what we have for environmental assessments! Is it surprising that the basis for these assessments is often challenged by the community? And that’s a problem for our elected officials. They would benefit from this change,’ Ms Buchan added.

Ms Buchan called for all political parties to back a requirement that environmental assessments, especially those for major projects, be signed off by a Certified Environmental Practitioner (CEnvP).

She added ‘I’m certain the community and our politicians would welcome EIAs being led by professionals with certified skills, using best science, and committed to a code of ethics and professional conduct. Everyone would benefit from this change. It would lift standards, and provide confidence in the outcomes of environmental impact assessments’.

EIANZ has also called for all parties to:

• Strengthen laws and policies that protect our environment

• Invest more in addressing the challenges of climate change

• Improve measures to protect New Zealand’s unique and threatened spaces and species

• Adopt clear standards for water quality and methods for monitoring that are based on sound science

ENDS


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