A review of Australia’s national air pollution standards – the National Environmental Protection Measure (NEPM) – is underway. The NEPM is the only national regulatory framework for air pollution we have. It sets air quality standards to be adopted by states and territories and thus provides the regulatory basis to set what pollution levels in Australian communities are ‘acceptable’.
EJA’s goal is to ensure Environment Ministers of state and federal governments set international best practice standards that protect community health. We are working to ensure as many groups and communities as possible are aware of, and actively participate in the review.
Health Experts Roundtable
The standards we are advocating for are informed by the latest health research and analysis. Last week, EJA co-convened a health network roundtable with the Lung Health Research Centre at the University of Melbourne. The event included doctors, academics and health advocates discussing the health impacts of air pollution and the standards needed to protect the health of Australian communities and vulnerable groups like young children. One of the outcomes of this meeting has been the development of a health experts position statement on the NEPM review, which outlines Australian health evidence from the past decade and recommends the standards Australian governments should adopt through the NEPM. If you are a member of the health sector, we can share this position statement with you as a tool to support your advocacy.
The review is currently in the public consultation phase, which is open until Wednesday 7 August. You can make a submission (we’ll share the details of how to make an online submission and our submission guide soon). We want Australian governments and environment ministers to hear from as many people as possible about the health impacts of air pollution and how to control the health burden it creates.
EJA is hosting a series of public forums in July:
- Melbourne air pollution forum: Tuesday 2 July
- Brisbane air pollution forum: Wednesday 3 July
- Sydney air pollution forum: Thursday 18 July
- National air pollution webinar: Wednesday 24 July
The forums are an opportunity for community members, local campaign groups and ally organisations, to connect and plan for how we might influence the review outcome in favour of the strictest possible standards.
The National Environmental Protection Council, led by the Victorian EPA, is also hosting a series of information sessions about the review:
- Adelaide: Wed 3 July
- Perth: Thurs 11 July
- Newcastle: Tues 23 July
- Webinar: Tues 16 July
- Sessions in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne have already taken place
How can I get involved?
The key actions you can take include:
- Write a brief submission to the review, using our submission template which will go live next week!
- Participate in one of our air pollution forums or a NEPC information session in July.
- Write an email or letter to your Minister asking them to champion international best practice standards.
- Meet with your Environment Ministers to talk to them about strict pollution standards.
- Contact your Minister via Twitter and Facebook
- Mobilise others to write to Ministers and make submissions to the review.