New South Wales Consolidated Acts
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PROTECTION OF THE ENVIRONMENT ADMINISTRATION ACT 1991 - SECT 17
Environmental Counsel to Board
(1) An Environmental Counsel to the Board is to be engaged by the Authority.
(2) The Environmental Counsel is to be a practising barrister approved by the
Minister and engaged for a period determined by the Minister.
Environmental Counsel may advise the Board on any matter (whether or not in
connection with the institution of criminal or related proceedings) referred
to the Environmental Counsel.
(4) The Board may not determine that the
Authority institute proceedings for a serious environment protection offence
unless the Environmental Counsel has advised the Board that (on the evidence
disclosed in the brief to Counsel) there is evidence capable of establishing
the commission of the offence.
The Authority is to ensure that any such brief to the Environmental Counsel
contains all relevant evidence available to the Authority.
(5) Nothing in
this section prevents the Board from obtaining legal advice from any person.
In particular, the Board may, if there is any dispute about the advice of the
Environmental Counsel, obtain advice from the Attorney General and act on that
advice for the purposes of subsection (4).
(6) The determination of whether
the Authority should institute proceedings for
serious environment protection offences may not be delegated under this Act.
(7) Criminal or related proceedings may not be challenged on the ground that
they were instituted in contravention of this section.
(8) In this section,
"serious environment protection offence" means--
(a) a tier 1 offence (being
an offence created by Part 5.2 of the Protection of the Environment Operations
Act 1997 ), or
(b) a tier 2 offence (being any other offence created by that
Act) which is designated as a serious environment protection offence for the
purposes of this section by the prosecution guidelines developed by the Board
under this Division, or
(c) an offence under Division 1 of Part 2 of the
Pesticides Act 1999 , or
(d) an offence under section 60ZZA of the
Local Land Services Act 2013 , or under section 69SA of the Forestry Act
2012 , that was committed intentionally and that caused or was likely to cause
significant harm to the environment. For the purposes of this definition, an
offence created by section 144AA (2) or 144AB of the Protection of the
Environment Operations Act 1997 is taken to be a tier 1 offence under that
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