Chair: Amanda Allan, NSW EPA
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The Legal Practice Cluster comprises legal practitioners and other agency officers with para-legal or legal coordination roles. The Cluster’s focus is on projects that will help build a repository of shared corporate knowledge on environmental legal issues, so as to facilitate better prosecutorial and legislative reform outcomes.
Jurisdictions have individually been working in this space for some time. If after a penalty is paid an offender still profits by noncompliance there is little incentive to comply. The removal of monetary benefit from offenders will ensure offenders are properly penalised, deter future noncompliance and level the playing field for compliant operators who are currently disadvantaged by investing in compliant operation while non-compliant competitors obtain an economic advantage over their competitors.
Since 2011 the Legal Practice Cluster has been the vehicle for collaboration and the evolution of a monetary benefit toolkit (MBTK) which supports the NEAT model (Non-compliance, economic assessment tool) that Vic EPA has developed. The purpose of the model is to provide an independent analytical tool to assist agencies to quantify the economic benefit that may accrue to a business from delayed or avoided compliance with environmental laws. The use of the model has obvious benefits in Court room sentencing and the Cluster is further examining additional ‘non-courtroom’ uses for the model.