Federal Register of Legislation - Australian Government

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Act No. 91 of 1999 as amended, taking into account amendments up to Act No. 125 of 2008
An Act relating to the protection of the environment and the conservation of biodiversity, and for related purposes
Administered by: Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts
Registered 08 Dec 2008
Start Date 26 Nov 2008
End Date 24 Nov 2009

Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999

Act No. 91 of 1999 as amended

This compilation was prepared on 3 December 2008
taking into account amendments up to Act No. 125 of 2008

Volume 1 includes:       Table of Contents
                                    Sections 1 – 266

The text of any of those amendments not in force
on that date is appended in the Notes section

The operation of amendments that have been incorporated may be
affected by application provisions that are set out in the Notes section

Volume 2 includes:       Table of Contents
                                    Sections 266B – 528
                                    Schedule 1
                                    Note 1
                                    Table of Acts
                                    Act Notes
                                    Table of Amendments
                                    Notes 2 – 4
                                    Table A

Prepared by the Office of Legislative Drafting and Publishing,
Attorney‑General’s Department,
Canberra

 

 

 


Contents

Chapter 1—Preliminary                                                                                                       1

Part 1—Preliminary                                                                                                               1

1............ Short title [see Note 1]....................................................................... 1

2............ Commencement [see Note 1].............................................................. 1

3............ Objects of Act.................................................................................... 1

3A......... Principles of ecologically sustainable development............................ 3

4............ Act to bind Crown.............................................................................. 3

5............ Application of Act............................................................................. 4

6............ Extended application of Act to match extended management of fisheries under the Fisheries Management Act 1991............................................................................................................ 6

7............ Application of the Criminal Code...................................................... 7

8............ Native title rights not affected............................................................ 7

9............ Relationship with other Acts............................................................. 8

10.......... Relationship with State law................................................................ 8

Chapter 2—Protecting the environment                                                                    9

Part 2—Simplified outline of this Chapter                                                                9

11.......... Simplified outline of this Chapter...................................................... 9

Part 3—Requirements for environmental approvals                                        10

Division 1—Requirements relating to matters of national environmental significance                10

Subdivision A—World Heritage                                                                             10

12.......... Requirement for approval of activities with a significant impact on a declared World Heritage property             10

13.......... What is a declared World Heritage property?.................................. 11

14.......... Declaring a property to be a declared World Heritage property...... 11

15.......... Amending or revoking a declaration of a declared World Heritage property           13

15A....... Offences relating to declared World Heritage properties.................. 14

Subdivision AA—National Heritage                                                                      15

15B....... Requirement for approval of activities with a significant impact on a National Heritage place              15

15C....... Offences relating to National Heritage places................................... 17

Subdivision B—Wetlands of international importance                                      22

16.......... Requirement for approval of activities with a significant impact on a declared Ramsar wetland            22

17.......... What is a declared Ramsar wetland?................................................ 23

17A....... Making and revoking declarations of wetlands................................. 23

17B....... Offences relating to declared Ramsar wetlands................................ 25

Subdivision C—Listed threatened species and communities                            26

18.......... Actions with significant impact on listed threatened species or endangered community prohibited without approval.......................................................................................................... 26

18A....... Offences relating to threatened species etc....................................... 28

19.......... Certain actions relating to listed threatened species and listed threatened ecological communities not prohibited 29

Subdivision D—Listed migratory species                                                            30

20.......... Requirement for approval of activities with a significant impact on a listed migratory species             30

20A....... Offences relating to listed migratory species.................................... 31

20B....... Certain actions relating to listed migratory species not prohibited.. 32

Subdivision E—Protection of the environment from nuclear actions              32

21.......... Requirement for approval of nuclear actions.................................... 32

22.......... What is a nuclear action?.................................................................. 34

22A....... Offences relating to nuclear actions.................................................. 35

Subdivision F—Marine environment                                                                     37

23.......... Requirement for approval of activities involving the marine environment              37

24.......... What is a Commonwealth marine area?........................................... 39

24A....... Offences relating to marine areas...................................................... 40

Subdivision G—Additional matters of national environmental significance 44

25.......... Requirement for approval of prescribed actions.............................. 44

Subdivision H—Actions that are taken to be covered by this Division            46

25A....... Actions that are taken to be covered by this Division..................... 46

Subdivision HA—Limitation on liability for actions of third parties               47

25AA.... Limitation on liability for actions of third parties............................ 47

Subdivision I—Evidentiary certificates                                                                 48

25B....... Evidentiary certificates..................................................................... 48

25C....... Certificate to be given to person....................................................... 49

25D....... Evidentiary effect of certificate........................................................ 49

25E........ Variation of certificate...................................................................... 50

25F........ Revocation of certificate................................................................... 50

Division 2—Protection of the environment from proposals involving the Commonwealth        51

Subdivision A—Protection of environment from actions involving Commonwealth land  51

26.......... Requirement for approval of activities involving Commonwealth land.. 51

27.......... What is Commonwealth land?.......................................................... 52

27A....... Offences relating to Commonwealth land......................................... 52

Subdivision AA—Protection of Commonwealth Heritage places outside the Australian jurisdiction            54

27B....... Requirement for approval of actions with significant impact on Commonwealth Heritage places overseas          54

27C....... Offences relating to Commonwealth Heritage places overseas........ 55

Subdivision B—Protection of the environment from Commonwealth actions 57

28.......... Requirement for approval of activities of Commonwealth agencies significantly affecting the environment         57

Subdivision C—Actions that are taken to be covered by this Division            58

28AA.... Actions that are taken to be covered by this Division..................... 58

Subdivision D—Limitation on liability for actions of third parties                  59

28AB.... Limitation on liability for actions of third parties............................ 59

Part 4—Cases in which environmental approvals are not needed            60

Division 1—Actions covered by bilateral agreements                             60

29.......... Actions declared by agreement not to need approval....................... 60

30.......... Extended operation in State and Northern Territory waters............ 61

31.......... Extended operation in non‑self‑governing Territories...................... 61

Division 2—Actions covered by Ministerial declarations and accredited management arrangements or accredited authorisation processes                                          63

Subdivision A—Effect of declarations                                                                   63

32.......... Actions declared by Minister not to need approval......................... 63

Subdivision B—Making declarations                                                                    64

33.......... Making declaration that actions do not need approval under Part 9 64

34.......... What is matter protected by a provision of Part 3?.......................... 68

Subdivision C—Prerequisites for making declarations                                    70

34A....... Minister may only make declaration if prescribed criteria are met.. 70

34B....... Declarations relating to declared World Heritage properties............ 70

34BA.... Declarations relating to National Heritage places............................. 71

34C....... Declarations relating to declared Ramsar wetlands........................... 71

34D....... Declarations relating to listed threatened species and ecological communities        72

34E........ Declarations relating to migratory species........................................ 73

34F........ Declarations relating to Commonwealth Heritage places................. 74

Subdivision D—Other rules about declarations                                                  74

35.......... Revoking declarations....................................................................... 74

36.......... Other rules about declarations.......................................................... 75

36A....... Minor amendments of accredited management arrangement or accredited authorisation process           75

Division 3—Actions covered by Ministerial declarations and bioregional plans             77

Subdivision A—Effect of declarations                                                                   77

37.......... Actions declared by Minister not to need approval......................... 77

Subdivision B—Making declarations                                                                    77

37A....... Making declarations that actions do not need approval under Part 9 77

Subdivision C—Prerequisites for making declarations                                    78

37B....... General considerations...................................................................... 78

37C....... Minister may make declaration only if prescribed criteria are met.. 78

37D....... Declarations relating to declared World Heritage properties............ 78

37E........ Declarations relating to National Heritage places............................. 79

37F........ Declarations relating to declared Ramsar wetlands........................... 79

37G....... Declarations relating to listed threatened species and ecological communities        79

37H....... Declarations relating to listed migratory species.............................. 80

37J........ No declarations relating to nuclear actions....................................... 80

Subdivision D—Other rules about declarations                                                  81

37K....... Revoking declarations....................................................................... 81

37L........ Other rules about declarations.......................................................... 81

Division 3A—Actions covered by conservation agreements               82

37M...... Actions declared by conservation agreement not to need approval. 82

Division 4—Forestry operations in certain regions                                   83

Subdivision A—Regions covered by regional forest agreements                    83

38.......... Part 3 not to apply to certain RFA forestry operations.................. 83

Subdivision B—Regions subject to a process of negotiating a regional forest agreement               83

39.......... Object of this Subdivision................................................................ 83

40.......... Forestry operations in regions not yet covered by regional forest agreements       83

41.......... What is an RFA region?.................................................................... 85

Subdivision C—Limits on application                                                                   86

42.......... This Division does not apply to some forestry operations............. 86

Division 5—Actions in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park               87

43.......... Actions taken in accordance with permission.................................. 87

Division 6Actions with prior authorisation                                                 88

43A....... Actions with prior authorisation...................................................... 88

43B....... Actions which are lawful continuations of use of land etc............... 89

Chapter 3—Bilateral agreements                                                                                90

Part 5—Bilateral agreements                                                                                        90

Division 1—Object of Part                                                                                       90

44.......... Object of this Part............................................................................ 90

Division 2—Making bilateral agreements                                                      91

Subdivision A—Power to make bilateral agreements                                        91

45.......... Minister may make agreement.......................................................... 91

46.......... Agreement may declare actions do not need approval under Part 9. 92

47.......... Agreement may declare classes of actions do not need assessment. 96

48.......... Other provisions of bilateral agreements.......................................... 97

48A....... Mandatory provisions...................................................................... 98

49.......... Express provision needed to affect Commonwealth areas or actions 100

Subdivision B—Prerequisites for making bilateral agreements                  100

49A....... Consultation on draft agreement..................................................... 100

50.......... Minister may only enter into agreement if prescribed criteria are met 101

51.......... Agreements relating to declared World Heritage properties........... 101

51A....... Agreements relating to National Heritage places............................ 101

52.......... Agreements relating to declared Ramsar wetlands.......................... 102

53.......... Agreements relating to listed threatened species and ecological communities         102

54.......... Agreements relating to migratory species....................................... 104

55.......... Agreements relating to nuclear actions........................................... 105

56.......... Agreements relating to prescribed actions...................................... 105

Subdivision C—Minor amendments of bilateral agreements                         105

56A....... Ministerial determination of minor amendments to bilateral agreements                105

Division 3—Suspending and ending the effect of bilateral agreements 107

Subdivision A—Suspension and cancellation of effect                                     107

57.......... Representations about suspension or cancellation......................... 107

58.......... Consultation before cancellation or suspension............................. 108

59.......... Suspension or cancellation.............................................................. 108

60.......... Emergency suspension of effect of bilateral agreement.................. 110

61.......... Cancellation during suspension...................................................... 111

62.......... Revocation of notice of suspension or cancellation........................ 111

63.......... Cancellation or suspension at request of other party..................... 112

64.......... Cancellation or suspension of bilateral agreement does not affect certain actions   113

Subdivision B—Expiry of bilateral agreements                                                 113

65.......... Expiry and review of bilateral agreements...................................... 113

65A....... Expiry of bilateral agreement does not affect certain actions......... 114

Chapter 4—Environmental assessments and approvals                              115

Part 6—Simplified outline of this Chapter                                                            115

66.......... Simplified outline of this Chapter.................................................. 115

Part 7—Deciding whether approval of actions is needed                             117

Division 1—Referral of proposals to take action                                       117

67.......... What is a controlled action?............................................................ 117

67A....... Prohibition on taking controlled action without approval.............. 117

68.......... Referral by person proposing to take action.................................. 117

68A....... Actions proposed to be taken under a contract etc........................ 118

69.......... State or Territory may refer proposal to Minister......................... 119

70.......... Minister may request referral of proposal..................................... 119

71.......... Commonwealth agency may refer proposal to Minister................ 120

72.......... Form and content of referrals......................................................... 121

73.......... Informing person proposing to take action of referral.................... 121

74.......... Inviting provision of information on referred proposal.................. 121

74A....... Minister may request referral of a larger action.............................. 123

74AA.... Offence of taking action before decision made in relation to referral etc.                124

Division 1A—Decision that action is clearly unacceptable                  126

74B....... Application of this Division........................................................... 126

74C....... Informing person proposing to take action that action is clearly unacceptable       126

74D....... Procedure if Minister is requested to reconsider referral................ 127

Division 2—Ministerial decision whether action needs approval    129

75.......... Does the proposed action need approval?..................................... 129

76.......... Minister may request more information for making decisions....... 131

77.......... Notice and reasons for decision...................................................... 132

77A....... Action to be taken in a particular manner....................................... 133

Division 3—Reconsideration of decisions                                                     135

78.......... Reconsideration of decision............................................................ 135

78A....... Request for reconsideration of decision by person other than State or Territory Minister    138

78B....... Minister must inform interested persons of request and invite comments             139

78C....... Minister must reconsider decision and give notice of outcome...... 140

79.......... Reconsideration of decision on request by a State or Territory..... 141

Part 8—Assessing impacts of controlled actions                                              143

Division 1—Simplified outline of this Part                                                     143

80.......... Simplified outline of this Part......................................................... 143

Division 2—Application of this Part                                                                  144

81.......... Application..................................................................................... 144

82.......... What are the relevant impacts of an action?................................... 144

83.......... This Part does not apply if action covered by bilateral agreement 145

84.......... This Part does not apply if action covered by declaration............. 146

Division 3—Decision on assessment approach                                          148

Subdivision A—Simplified outline of this Division                                           148

85.......... Simplified outline of this Division.................................................. 148

Subdivision B—Deciding on approach for assessment                                    148

87.......... Minister must decide on approach for assessment........................ 148

88.......... Timing of decision on assessment approach.................................. 150

89.......... Minister may request more information for making decision......... 151

90.......... Directing an inquiry after starting an assessment........................... 151

91.......... Notice of decision on assessment approach................................... 152

Division 3A—Assessment on referral information                                   154

92.......... Application of this Division........................................................... 154

93.......... Recommendation report................................................................. 154

Division 4—Assessment on preliminary documentation                       156

94.......... Application of this Division........................................................... 156

95.......... Direction to publish referral information and invitation to comment—no further information required                156

95A....... Direction to publish referral information and invitation to comment—further information required     157

95B....... Procedure after end of period for comment.................................... 158

95C....... Recommendation report................................................................. 159

Division 5—Public environment reports                                                        160

96.......... Application..................................................................................... 160

96A....... Minister must give designated proponent written guidelines for preparation of draft public environment report 160

96B....... Standard guidelines......................................................................... 161

97.......... Tailored guidelines.......................................................................... 161

98.......... Designated proponent must invite comment on draft public environment report  163

99.......... Finalising public environment report.............................................. 163

100........ Recommendation report................................................................. 164

Division 6—Environmental impact statements                                          165

101........ Application..................................................................................... 165

101A..... Minister must give designated proponent written guidelines for preparation of draft environmental impact statement........................................................................................................ 165

101B..... Standard guidelines......................................................................... 166

102........ Tailored guidelines.......................................................................... 166

103........ Designated proponent must invite comment on draft environmental impact statement         168

104........ Finalising environmental impact statement.................................... 169

105........ Recommendation report................................................................. 169

Division 7—Inquiries                                                                                                170

Subdivision A—Preliminary                                                                                 170

106........ Simplified outline............................................................................ 170

Subdivision B—Establishment of inquiries                                                        170

107........ Appointing commissioners and setting terms of reference............. 170

108........ Publicising inquiry.......................................................................... 171

Subdivision C—Conduct of inquiries                                                                  172

109........ Procedure of inquiries..................................................................... 172

110........ Inquiry to be public........................................................................ 172

111........ Calling witnesses............................................................................ 173

112........ Dealing with witnesses................................................................... 173

113........ Dealing with documents given to commission................................ 175

114........ Inspections of land, buildings and places....................................... 175

115........ Entering premises by consent......................................................... 176

116........ Entering premises under warrant.................................................... 176

117........ Warrants by telephone or other electronic means.......................... 177

118........ Identity cards.................................................................................. 179

119........ Contempt........................................................................................ 179

120........ Protection of commissioners and witnesses................................... 180

Subdivision D—Inquiry reports                                                                            182

121........ Timing of report............................................................................. 182

122........ Publication of report....................................................................... 182

Subdivision E—Commissioners’ terms and conditions                                   182

123........ Basis of appointment..................................................................... 182

124........ Remuneration.................................................................................. 182

125........ Leave of absence............................................................................. 183

126........ Resignation..................................................................................... 183

127........ Termination of appointment.......................................................... 183

128........ Disclosure of interests.................................................................... 184

129........ Other terms and conditions............................................................ 184

Part 9—Approval of actions                                                                                          185

Division 1—Decisions on approval and conditions                                   185

Subdivision A—General                                                                                         185

130........ Timing of decision on approval...................................................... 185

131........ Inviting comments from other Ministers before decision............... 186

131AA.. Inviting comments before decision from person proposing to take action and designated proponent    187

131A..... Inviting public comment before decision........................................ 189

132........ Requesting further information for approval decision.................... 189

132A..... Requesting notice from appropriate State or Territory Minister about certain actions          190

133........ Grant of approval........................................................................... 191

134........ Conditions of approval................................................................... 193

135........ Certain approvals and conditions must not give preference........... 197

135A..... Publication of recommendation reports.......................................... 198

Subdivision B—Considerations for approvals and conditions                        199

136........ General considerations.................................................................... 199

137........ Requirements for decisions about World Heritage......................... 201

137A..... Requirements for decisions about National Heritage places........... 201

138........ Requirements for decisions about Ramsar wetlands...................... 201

139........ Requirements for decisions about threatened species and endangered communities               202

140........ Requirements for decisions about migratory species..................... 202

140A..... No approval for certain nuclear installations.................................. 203

Division 2—Requirement to comply with conditions                              204

142........ Compliance with conditions on approval....................................... 204

142A..... Offence of breaching conditions on approval................................. 204

142B..... Strict liability offence for breach of approval condition................. 205

Division 3—Variation of conditions and suspension and revocation of approvals           207

143........ Variation of conditions attached to approval................................. 207

144........ Suspension of approval.................................................................. 209

145........ Revocation of approval.................................................................. 210

145A..... Reinstating suspended or revoked approval................................... 212

Division 4—Transfer of approvals                                                                     214

145B..... Transfer with Minister’s consent................................................... 214

Division 5—Extension of period of effect of approval                             216

145C..... Application to Minister to extend period of effect of approval.... 216

145D..... Minister must decide whether or not to extend approval period... 216

145E...... Minister may request further information for making decision...... 217

Part 10—Strategic assessments                                                                                 218

Division 1—Strategic assessments generally                                              218

Subdivision A—Assessment of actions to be taken in accordance with policy, plan or program     218

146........ Minister may agree on strategic assessment................................... 218

Subdivision B—Approval of taking of actions in accordance with endorsed policy, plan or program             220

146A..... Definition........................................................................................ 220

146B..... Minister may approve taking of actions in accordance with endorsed policy, plan or program             220

146C..... Inviting comments from other Ministers before deciding whether or not to approve taking of actions in accordance with endorsed policy, plan or program.......................................... 221

146D..... Effect of approval of taking of actions in accordance with endorsed policy, plan or program               222

Subdivision C—Considerations for approving taking of actions in accordance with endorsed policy, plan or program                                                                                                       223

146E...... Minister must comply with this Subdivision................................. 223

146F...... General considerations.................................................................... 223

146G..... Approvals relating to declared World Heritage properties............. 224

146H..... Approvals relating to National Heritage places.............................. 224

146J...... Approvals relating to declared Ramsar wetlands........................... 224

146K..... Approvals relating to listed threatened species and ecological communities           224

146L...... Approvals relating to listed migratory species............................... 225

146M.... No approvals relating to nuclear actions........................................ 225

Division 2—Assessment of Commonwealth‑managed fisheries       226

147........ Simplified outline of this Division.................................................. 226

148........ Assessment before management plan is determined....................... 226

149........ Assessment before determination that no plan required................ 227

150........ Assessment of all fisheries without plans must be started within 5 years              227

151........ Assessment of all Torres Strait fisheries to be started within 5 years 228

152........ Further assessment if impacts greater than previously assessed... 229

153........ Minister must make declaration if he or she endorses plan or policy 230

154........ This Division does not limit Division 1......................................... 230

Part 11—Miscellaneous rules about assessments and approvals          231

Division 1—Rules about timing                                                                          231

155........ This Chapter ceases to apply to lapsed proposals........................ 231

156........ General rules about time limits....................................................... 232

Division 1A—Variation of proposals to take actions                               233

156A..... Request to vary proposal to take an action.................................... 233

156B..... Minister must decide whether or not to accept a varied proposal. 234

156C..... Minister may request further information in relation to a varied proposal             234

156D..... Effect of Minister’s decision to accept or not accept a varied proposal 235

156E...... Notice of decision........................................................................... 235

Division 1B—Change of person proposing to take action                   237

156F...... Change of person proposing to take action.................................... 237

Division 2—Actions in area offshore from a State or the Northern Territory    239

157........ Actions treated as though they were in a State or the Northern Territory              239

Division 3—Exemptions                                                                                         240

158........ Exemptions from Part 3 and this Chapter...................................... 240

Division 3A—Approval process decisions not affected by listing events that happen after section 75 decision made                                                                                     241

158A..... Approval process decisions not affected by listing events that happen after section 75 decision made                241

Division 4—Application of Chapter to actions that are not controlled actions  243

Subdivision A—Minister’s advice on authorising actions                              243

159........ Simplified outline of this Subdivision............................................. 243

160........ Requirement to take account of Minister’s advice......................... 244

161........ Seeking the Minister’s advice......................................................... 246

161A..... Minister may decide that advice is not required............................. 247

161B..... Certain provisions of other Acts not to apply if Minister decides that advice is not required               247

162........ Assessment of the action................................................................ 248

163........ Providing advice.............................................................................. 248

164........ Reporting on response to advice.................................................... 249

Subdivision C—Assessment under agreement with State or Territory       249

166........ This Subdivision applies if Ministers agree it should.................... 249

167........ Making an agreement...................................................................... 250

168........ Content of an agreement................................................................. 251

169........ Application of a Division of Part 8................................................ 252

170........ Application of Subdivision A of Division 1 of Part 10.................. 253

Division 5—Publication of information relating to assessments       255

170A..... Publication of information relating to assessments........................ 255

170B..... Information critical to protecting matters of national environmental significance not to be disclosed    256

170BA.. Designated proponent may request Minister to permit commercial‑in‑confidence information not to be disclosed........................................................................................................ 256

Division 6—Withdrawal of referrals                                                                  259

170C..... Withdrawal of referral of proposal to take an action...................... 259

Chapter 5—Conservation of biodiversity and heritage                                 260

Part 11A—Interpretation                                                                                                260

170D..... References to business days are references to Canberra business days.. 260

Part 12—Identifying and monitoring biodiversity and making bioregional plans   261

Division 1—Identifying and monitoring biodiversity                               261

171........ Identifying and monitoring biodiversity......................................... 261

172........ Inventories of listed threatened species etc. on Commonwealth land 262

173........ Surveys of cetaceans, listed threatened species etc. in Commonwealth marine areas             262

174........ Inventories and surveys to be updated........................................... 263

Division 2—Bioregional plans                                                                             264

176........ Bioregional plans............................................................................ 264

177........ Obligations under this Act unaffected by lack of bioregional plans 265

Part 13—Species and communities                                                                           266

Division 1—Listed threatened species and ecological communities 266

Subdivision A—Listing                                                                                          266

178........ Listing of threatened species.......................................................... 266

179........ Categories of threatened species..................................................... 267

180........ Native species of marine fish.......................................................... 268

181........ Listing of threatened ecological communities................................. 268

182........ Critically endangered, endangered and vulnerable communities..... 269

183........ Listing of key threatening processes.............................................. 270

184........ Minister may amend lists............................................................... 270

186........ Amending list of threatened native species.................................... 270

187........ Amending list of ecological communities........................................ 272

188........ Amending list of key threatening processes................................... 273

189........ Minister must consider advice from Scientific Committee............. 274

189A..... Certain information may be kept confidential................................ 275

189B..... Disclosure of Scientific Committee’s assessments and advice....... 276

190........ Scientific Committee may provide advice about species or communities becoming threatened              277

192........ Rediscovery of threatened species that were extinct...................... 278

193........ Species posing a serious threat to human health............................ 278

194........ Lists must be publicly available..................................................... 278

Subdivision AA—The nomination and listing process                                     279

194A..... Simplified outline............................................................................ 279

194B..... Definitions...................................................................................... 280

194C..... Meaning of assessment period....................................................... 280

194D..... Minister may determine conservation themes for an assessment period                281

194E...... Minister to invite nominations for each assessment period........... 281

194F...... Minister to give nominations to Scientific Committee................... 282

194G..... Scientific Committee to prepare proposed priority assessment list 284

194H..... Matters to be included in proposed priority assessment list......... 285

194J...... Statement to be given to Minister with proposed priority assessment list            285

194K..... The finalised priority assessment list............................................. 286

194L...... Publication of finalised priority assessment list............................. 287

194M.... Scientific Committee to invite comments on items in finalised priority assessment list         287

194N..... Scientific Committee to assess items on finalised priority assessment list and give assessments to Minister       288

194P...... Time by which assessments to be provided to Minister............... 289

194Q..... Decision about inclusion of an item in the Subdivision A List....... 290

194R..... Scientific Committee may obtain advice......................................... 291

194S...... Co‑ordination with Australian Heritage Council—Committee undertaking assessment         291

194T..... Co‑ordination with Australian Heritage Council—Committee given assessment to Minister                293

Subdivision B—Permit system                                                                             293

195........ Subdivision does not apply to cetaceans........................................ 293

196........ Killing or injuring member of listed threatened species or community 294

196A..... Strict liability for killing or injuring member of listed threatened species or community        294

196B..... Taking etc. member of listed threatened species or community..... 295

196C..... Strict liability for taking etc. member of listed threatened species or community   295

196D..... Trading etc. member of listed threatened species or community taken in Commonwealth area             296

196E...... Strict liability for trading etc. member of listed threatened species or community taken in Commonwealth area  296

197........ Certain actions are not offences...................................................... 297

198........ Operation of sections 18 and 18A not affected.............................. 299

199........ Failing to notify taking of listed threatened species or listed ecological community               299

200........ Application for permits.................................................................. 301

201........ Minister may issue permits............................................................ 301

202........ Conditions of permits..................................................................... 302

203........ Contravening conditions of a permit.............................................. 303

204........ Authorities under permits.............................................................. 303

205........ Transfer of permits......................................................................... 304

206........ Suspension or cancellation of permits............................................ 304

206A..... Review of decisions about permits................................................. 304

207........ Fees................................................................................................. 304

Subdivision BA—Protecting critical habitat                                                     304

207A..... Register of critical habitat............................................................... 304

207B..... Offence of knowingly damaging critical habitat.............................. 305

207C..... Sale or lease of Commonwealth land containing critical habitat..... 306

Subdivision C—Miscellaneous                                                                             306

208A..... Minister may accredit plans, regimes or policies........................... 306

208........ Regulations..................................................................................... 307

Division 2—Migratory species                                                                            309

Subdivision A—Listing                                                                                          309

209........ Listed migratory species................................................................. 309

Subdivision B—Permit system                                                                             310

210........ Subdivision does not apply to members of listed threatened species or cetaceans 310

211........ Killing or injuring member of listed migratory species................... 310

211A..... Strict liability for killing or injuring member of listed migratory species 310

211B..... Taking etc. member of listed migratory species............................. 311

211C..... Strict liability for taking etc. member of listed migratory species.. 311

211D..... Trading etc. member of listed migratory species taken in Commonwealth area      312

211E...... Strict liability for trading etc. member of listed migratory species taken in Commonwealth area           312

212........ Certain actions are not offences...................................................... 313

213........ Operation of sections 20 and 20A not affected.............................. 315

214........ Failing to notify taking etc. of listed migratory species................. 315

215........ Application for permits.................................................................. 316

216........ Minister may issue permits............................................................ 317

217........ Conditions of permits..................................................................... 318

218........ Contravening conditions of a permit.............................................. 318

219........ Authorities under permits.............................................................. 318

220........ Transfer of permits......................................................................... 319

221........ Suspension or cancellation of permits............................................ 319

221A..... Review of decisions about permits................................................. 319

222........ Fees................................................................................................. 320

Subdivision C—Miscellaneous                                                                             320

222A..... Minister may accredit plans, regimes or policies........................... 320

223........ Regulations..................................................................................... 321

Division 3—Whales and other cetaceans                                                       322

Subdivision A—Application of Division                                                              322

224........ Application of Division.................................................................. 322

Subdivision B—Australian Whale Sanctuary and important cetacean habitat areas        323

225........ Australian Whale Sanctuary........................................................... 323

226........ Prescribed waters............................................................................ 323

227........ Coastal waters................................................................................ 324

228........ Minister may make declaration for coastal waters......................... 324

228A..... Important cetacean habitat areas.................................................... 324

Subdivision C—Offences                                                                                       325

229........ Killing or injuring a cetacean........................................................... 325

229A..... Strict liability for killing or injuring a cetacean............................... 325

229B..... Intentionally taking etc. a cetacean................................................. 326

229C..... Strict liability for taking etc. a cetacean.......................................... 327

229D..... Treating cetaceans........................................................................... 328

230........ Possession of cetaceans.................................................................. 329

231........ Certain actions are not offences...................................................... 330

232........ Action to be taken on killing etc. cetaceans.................................... 331

Subdivision E—Miscellaneous offences                                                              333

236........ Offences relating to foreign whaling vessels................................... 333

Subdivision F—Permit system                                                                              334

237........ Application for permits.................................................................. 334

238........ Minister may issue permits............................................................ 334

239........ Conditions of permits..................................................................... 336

240........ Contravening conditions of a permit.............................................. 336

241........ Authorities under permits.............................................................. 336

242........ Transfer of permits......................................................................... 337

243........ Suspension or cancellation of permits............................................ 337

243A..... Review of decisions about permits................................................. 337

244........ Fees................................................................................................. 337

Subdivision G—Miscellaneous                                                                             338

245........ Minister may accredit plans, regimes or policies........................... 338

246........ Vesting of whales in Commonwealth............................................. 339

247........ Regulations..................................................................................... 339

Division 4—Listed marine species                                                                   340

Subdivision A—Listing                                                                                          340

248........ Listed marine species...................................................................... 340

249........ Minister may amend list................................................................. 340

250........ Adding marine species to the list.................................................... 341

251........ Minister must consider advice from Scientific Committee............. 341

252........ Minister to make lists available to the public................................. 342

Subdivision B—Permit system                                                                             342

253........ Subdivision does not apply to members of certain species and cetaceans              342

254........ Killing or injuring member of listed marine species........................ 342

254A..... Strict liability for killing or injuring member of listed marine species 343

254B..... Taking etc. member of listed marine species.................................. 343

254C..... Strict liability for taking etc. member of listed marine species....... 344

254D..... Trading etc. member of listed marine species taken in Commonwealth area           344

254E...... Strict liability for trading etc. member of listed marine species taken in Commonwealth area                345

255........ Certain actions are not offences...................................................... 345

256........ Failing to notify taking etc. of listed marine wildlife...................... 347

257........ Application for permits.................................................................. 349

258........ Minister may issue permits............................................................ 349

259........ Conditions of permits..................................................................... 350

260........ Contravening conditions of a permit.............................................. 350

261........ Authorities under permits.............................................................. 351

262........ Transfer of permits......................................................................... 351

263........ Suspension or cancellation of permits............................................ 351

263A..... Review of decisions about permits................................................. 352

264........ Fees................................................................................................. 352

Subdivision C—Miscellaneous                                                                             352

265........ Minister may accredit plans, regimes or policies........................... 352

266........ Regulations..................................................................................... 353


An Act relating to the protection of the environment and the conservation of biodiversity, and for related purposes

Chapter 1Preliminary

Part 1Preliminary

  

1  Short title [see Note 1]

                   This Act may be cited as the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.

2  Commencement [see Note 1]

             (1)  Subject to subsection (2), this Act commences on a day to be fixed by Proclamation.

             (2)  If this Act does not commence under subsection (1) within the period of 12 months beginning on the day on which it receives the Royal Assent, it commences on the first day after the end of that period.

3  Objects of Act

             (1)  The objects of this Act are:

                     (a)  to provide for the protection of the environment, especially those aspects of the environment that are matters of national environmental significance; and

                     (b)  to promote ecologically sustainable development through the conservation and ecologically sustainable use of natural resources; and

                     (c)  to promote the conservation of biodiversity; and

                    (ca)  to provide for the protection and conservation of heritage; and

                     (d)  to promote a co‑operative approach to the protection and management of the environment involving governments, the community, land‑holders and indigenous peoples; and

                     (e)  to assist in the co‑operative implementation of Australia’s international environmental responsibilities; and

                      (f)  to recognise the role of indigenous people in the conservation and ecologically sustainable use of Australia’s biodiversity; and

                     (g)  to promote the use of indigenous peoples’ knowledge of biodiversity with the involvement of, and in co‑operation with, the owners of the knowledge.

             (2)  In order to achieve its objects, the Act:

                     (a)  recognises an appropriate role for the Commonwealth in relation to the environment by focussing Commonwealth involvement on matters of national environmental significance and on Commonwealth actions and Commonwealth areas; and

                     (b)  strengthens intergovernmental co‑operation, and minimises duplication, through bilateral agreements; and

                     (c)  provides for the intergovernmental accreditation of environmental assessment and approval processes; and

                     (d)  adopts an efficient and timely Commonwealth environmental assessment and approval process that will ensure activities that are likely to have significant impacts on the environment are properly assessed; and

                     (e)  enhances Australia’s capacity to ensure the conservation of its biodiversity by including provisions to:

                              (i)  protect native species (and in particular prevent the extinction, and promote the recovery, of threatened species) and ensure the conservation of migratory species; and

                             (ii)  establish an Australian Whale Sanctuary to ensure the conservation of whales and other cetaceans; and

                            (iii)  protect ecosystems by means that include the establishment and management of reserves, the recognition and protection of ecological communities and the promotion of off‑reserve conservation measures; and

                            (iv)  identify processes that threaten all levels of biodiversity and implement plans to address these processes; and

                      (f)  includes provisions to enhance the protection, conservation and presentation of world heritage properties and the conservation and wise use of Ramsar wetlands of international importance; and

                    (fa)  includes provisions to identify places for inclusion in the National Heritage List and Commonwealth Heritage List and to enhance the protection, conservation and presentation of those places; and

                     (g)  promotes a partnership approach to environmental protection and biodiversity conservation through:

                              (i)  bilateral agreements with States and Territories; and

                             (ii)  conservation agreements with land‑holders; and

                            (iii)  recognising and promoting indigenous peoples’ role in, and knowledge of, the conservation and ecologically sustainable use of biodiversity; and

                            (iv)  the involvement of the community in management planning.

3A  Principles of ecologically sustainable development

                   The following principles are principles of ecologically sustainable development:

                     (a)  decision‑making processes should effectively integrate both long‑term and short‑term economic, environmental, social and equitable considerations;

                     (b)  if there are threats of serious or irreversible environmental damage, lack of full scientific certainty should not be used as a reason for postponing measures to prevent environmental degradation;

                     (c)  the principle of inter‑generational equity—that the present generation should ensure that the health, diversity and productivity of the environment is maintained or enhanced for the benefit of future generations;

                     (d)  the conservation of biological diversity and ecological integrity should be a fundamental consideration in decision‑making;

                     (e)  improved valuation, pricing and incentive mechanisms should be promoted.

4  Act to bind Crown

                   This Act binds the Crown in each of its capacities.

5  Application of Act

Extension to external Territories

             (1)  This Act extends to each external Territory.

Limited extraterritorial application

             (2)  This Act applies to acts, omissions, matters and things in the Australian jurisdiction, and does not apply to acts, omissions, matters and things outside the Australian jurisdiction except so far as the contrary intention appears.

Application limited to Australians outside exclusive economic zone

             (3)  A provision of this Act that has effect in relation to a place that is outside the outer limits of the exclusive economic zone and is not on or in the continental shelf applies only in relation to:

                     (a)  Australian citizens; and

                     (b)  persons who:

                              (i)  are not Australian citizens; and

                             (ii)  hold permanent visas under the Migration Act 1958; and

                            (iii)  are domiciled in Australia or an external Territory; and

                     (c)  corporations incorporated in Australia or an external Territory; and

                     (d)  the Commonwealth; and

                     (e)  Commonwealth agencies; and

                      (f)  Australian aircraft; and

                     (g)  Australian vessels; and

                     (h)  members of crews of Australian aircraft and Australian vessels (including persons in charge of aircraft or vessels).

Application to everyone in Australia and exclusive economic zone

             (4)  A provision of this Act that has effect in relation to a place that is within the outer limits of the exclusive economic zone (whether the place is in the zone or in Australia or an external Territory) or that is on or in the continental shelf applies in relation to:

                     (a)  all persons (including persons who are not Australian citizens); and

                     (b)  all aircraft (including aircraft that are not Australian aircraft); and

                     (c)  all vessels (including vessels that are not Australian vessels).

Note:          A reference to Australia or to an external Territory generally includes a reference to the coastal sea of Australia or the Territory (as appropriate). See section 15B of the Acts Interpretation Act 1901.

Definitions

             (5)  In this Act:

Australian aircraft means:

                     (a)  an aircraft that is owned, possessed or controlled by:

                              (i)  the Commonwealth or a Commonwealth agency; or

                             (ii)  a State, a self‑governing Territory or an agency of a State or self‑governing Territory; or

                     (b)  an aircraft that is registered in Australia.

Australian jurisdiction means the land, waters, seabed and airspace in, under or above:

                     (a)  Australia; or

                     (b)  an external Territory; or

                     (c)  the exclusive economic zone; or

                     (d)  the continental shelf.

Note:          A reference to Australia or to an external Territory generally includes a reference to the coastal sea of Australia or the Territory (as appropriate). See section 15B of the Acts Interpretation Act 1901.

Australian vessel means:

                     (a)  a vessel that is owned, possessed or controlled by:

                              (i)  the Commonwealth or a Commonwealth agency; or

                             (ii)  a State, a self‑governing Territory or an agency of a State or self‑governing Territory; or

                     (b)  a vessel that is registered in Australia; or

                     (c)  a vessel that is flying the Australian flag.

6  Extended application of Act to match extended management of fisheries under the Fisheries Management Act 1991

             (1)  This section applies if:

                     (a)  under the Fisheries Management Act 1991, a plan of management in force under that Act applies to particular fishing activities in a particular area of water; and

                     (b)  the area of water is not within, or is not wholly within:

                              (i)  the Australian jurisdiction; or

                             (ii)  a Commonwealth area; or

                            (iii)  a Commonwealth marine area; and

                     (c)  the area of water is not:

                              (i)  an area of water, rights in respect of which have been vested in a State by section 4 of the Coastal Waters (State Title) Act 1980 or in the Northern Territory by section 4 of the Coastal Waters (Northern Territory Title) Act 1980; or

                             (ii)  an area of water within the limits of a State or the Northern Territory.

             (2)  If, apart from this subsection, a provision of this Act would, or would not, apply in relation to the fishing activities (or in relation to fish or other things taken in the course of the activities) because the area of water mentioned in subsection (1) is not within, or is not wholly within:

                     (a)  the Australian jurisdiction; or

                     (b)  a Commonwealth area; or

                     (c)  a Commonwealth marine area;

that provision has effect in relation to the fishing activities (and in relation to fish or other things taken in the course of the activities) as if the area of water were wholly within:

                     (d)  the Australian jurisdiction; or

                     (e)  a Commonwealth area; or

                      (f)  a Commonwealth marine area;

as the case requires.

Note:          This section is subject to subsection 5(3).

Example 1: Fishing activities in an area of water that is not a Commonwealth area generally do not contravene Part 13. However, because of this subsection, that Part applies to fishing activities to which this section applies as if the area of water were within a Commonwealth area. The fishing activities may therefore contravene that Part.

Example 2: If fish taken in the course of fishing activities in an area of water that is not within the Australian jurisdiction are brought into Australia, this generally constitutes an import (being an import by way of introduction from the sea) of the fish into Australia, which may contravene Part 13A. However, because of this subsection, that Part applies to the fish as if the area of water were within the Australian jurisdiction. The bringing of the fish into Australia therefore does not constitute an import for the purposes of that Part.

Example 3: This section allows a plan of management to be accredited under Part 13 in respect of the entire area of water to which the plan relates (even if some of the area is outside the Australian jurisdiction, a Commonwealth area or a Commonwealth marine area).

             (3)  In this section:

fishing has the same meaning as in the Fisheries Management Act 1991.

7  Application of the Criminal Code

                   Chapter 2 of the Criminal Code (except Part 2.5) applies to all offences against this Act.

Note 1:       Chapter 2 of the Criminal Code sets out the general principles of criminal responsibility.

Note 2:       Part 2.5 of the Criminal Code (which deals with corporate criminal responsibility) is excluded from applying to offences against this Act by subsection 498B(9).

8  Native title rights not affected

             (1)  To avoid doubt, nothing in this Act affects the operation of section 211 of the Native Title Act 1993 in relation to a provision of this Act.

Note:          Section 211 of the Native Title Act 1993 provides that holders of native title rights covering certain activities do not need authorisation required by other laws to engage in those activities.

             (2)  This Act does not affect the operation of:

                     (a)  the Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act 1976; or

                     (b)  the Native Title Act 1993.

9  Relationship with other Acts

Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act 1976

          (1A)  Subsection 70(1) of the Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act 1976 does not prevent a person exercising powers or performing functions or duties under Division 4 or 5 of Part 15, or Division 5 of Part 19, of this Act from entering or remaining on land:

                     (a)  in the Kakadu region or Uluru region; and

                     (b)  in which an Aboriginal Land Trust established under that Act holds an estate in fee simple.

Airports Act 1996 not affected

             (1)  This Act does not affect the operation of the Airports Act 1996.

Antarctic Treaty (Environment Protection) Act 1980 not affected

             (2)  To avoid doubt, nothing in this Act affects the operation of subsection 7(1) of the Antarctic Treaty (Environment Protection) Act 1980 or regulations made for the purposes of that subsection.

10  Relationship with State law

                   This Act is not intended to exclude or limit the concurrent operation of any law of a State or Territory, except so far as the contrary intention appears.


 

Chapter 2Protecting the environment

Part 2Simplified outline of this Chapter

  

11  Simplified outline of this Chapter

                   The following is a simplified outline of this Chapter:

This Chapter provides a basis for the Minister to decide whether an action that has, will have or is likely to have a significant impact on certain aspects of the environment should proceed.

It does so by prohibiting a person from taking an action without the Minister having given approval or decided that approval is not needed. (Part 9 deals with the giving of approval.)

Approval is not needed to take an action if any of the following declare that the action does not need approval:

               (a)     a bilateral agreement between the Commonwealth and the State or Territory in which the action is taken;

               (b)     a declaration by the Minister.

Also, an action does not need approval if it is taken in accordance with Regional Forest Agreements or a plan for managing the Great Barrier Reef.


 

Part 3Requirements for environmental approvals

Division 1Requirements relating to matters of national environmental significance

Subdivision AWorld Heritage

12  Requirement for approval of activities with a significant impact on a declared World Heritage property

             (1)  A person must not take an action that:

                     (a)  has or will have a significant impact on the world heritage values of a declared World Heritage property; or

                     (b)  is likely to have a significant impact on the world heritage values of a declared World Heritage property.

Civil penalty:           

                     (a)  for an individual—5,000 penalty units;

                     (b)  for a body corporate—50,000 penalty units.

             (2)  Subsection (1) does not apply to an action if:

                     (a)  an approval of the taking of the action by the person is in operation under Part 9 for the purposes of this section; or

                     (b)  Part 4 lets the person take the action without an approval under Part 9 for the purposes of this section; or

                     (c)  there is in force a decision of the Minister under Division 2 of Part 7 that this section is not a controlling provision for the action and, if the decision was made because the Minister believed the action would be taken in a manner specified in the notice of the decision under section 77, the action is taken in that manner; or

                     (d)  the action is an action described in subsection 160(2) (which describes actions whose authorisation is subject to a special environmental assessment process).

             (3)  A property has world heritage values only if it contains natural heritage or cultural heritage. The world heritage values of the property are the natural heritage and cultural heritage contained in the property.

             (4)  In this section:

cultural heritage has the meaning given by the World Heritage Convention.

natural heritage has the meaning given by the World Heritage Convention.

13  What is a declared World Heritage property?

Properties on World Heritage List

             (1)  A property included in the World Heritage List is a declared World Heritage property as long as the property is included in the List.

Properties not yet on World Heritage List

             (2)  A property specified in a declaration made under section 14 (with any amendments made under section 15) is a declared World Heritage property for the period for which the declaration is in force.

14  Declaring a property to be a declared World Heritage property

Making declarations

             (1)  The Minister may declare a specified property to be a declared World Heritage property by notice in the Gazette if:

                     (a)  the property is a property submitted by the Commonwealth to the World Heritage Committee under Article 11 of the World Heritage Convention as suitable for inclusion in the World Heritage List; or

                     (b)  the Minister is satisfied that:

                              (i)  the property has, or is likely to have, world heritage values; and

                             (ii)  some or all of the world heritage values of the property are under threat.

Note 1:       The Minister may make more than one declaration relating to the same property. See subsection 33(1) of the Acts Interpretation Act 1901.

Note 2:       The Minister may make an extra declaration to cover property that is an extension of a property previously submitted to the World Heritage Committee.

Consulting State or Territory before making declaration

             (2)  Before the Minister makes a declaration relating to property wholly or partly within a State or self‑governing Territory, the Minister must inform the appropriate Minister of the State or Territory of the proposal to make the declaration, and give him or her a reasonable opportunity to comment on the proposal.

Consultation not required if threat is imminent

             (3)  However, the Minister need not comply with subsection (2) if:

                     (a)  he or she proposes to make a declaration in the circumstances described in paragraph (1)(b); and

                     (b)  he or she is satisfied that the threat mentioned in subparagraph (1)(b)(ii) is imminent.

Failure to comply with subsection (2)

             (4)  The validity of a declaration is not affected by a failure to comply with subsection (2) in relation to the making of the declaration.

When a declaration is in force

             (5)  A declaration:

                     (a)  comes into force when it is published in the Gazette; and

                     (b)  remains in force (whether amended under section 15 or not) until the earliest of the following events:

                              (i)  the end of the period specified in the declaration as the period for which the declaration is in force;

                             (ii)  the revocation of the declaration;

                            (iii)  if the declaration specifies a property submitted to the World Heritage Committee for inclusion in the World Heritage List—the Committee either includes the property in the List or decides the property should not be included in the List.

Specified period for which declaration is in force

             (6)  The Minister must specify in a declaration the period for which it is to be in force. The period must not be longer than the period the Minister believes:

                     (a)  the World Heritage Committee needs to decide whether or not to include the property in the World Heritage List, in the case of a declaration specifying a property that has been submitted to the Committee for inclusion in the List; or

                     (b)  the Commonwealth needs to decide whether the property has world heritage values and to submit the property to the World Heritage Committee for inclusion in the World Heritage List, in the case of a declaration specifying a property not yet submitted to the Committee for inclusion in the List.

Declarations because of threat in force for a year or less

             (7)  The Minister must not specify that a declaration of a property is to be in force for more than 12 months if:

                     (a)  the declaration is made in the circumstances described in paragraph (1)(b); and

                     (b)  the property is not a property submitted by the Commonwealth to the World Heritage Committee under Article 11 of the World Heritage Convention as suitable for inclusion in the World Heritage List.

15  Amending or revoking a declaration of a declared World Heritage property

Revoking declarations specifying nominated property

             (1)  The Minister must, by notice in the Gazette, revoke a declaration made under section 14 specifying a property that has been submitted to the World Heritage Committee for inclusion in the World Heritage List if the Commonwealth decides to withdraw the submission of the property for inclusion in the List.

Amending declarations specifying nominated property

             (2)  The Minister must, by notice in the Gazette, amend a declaration made under section 14 specifying a property that has been submitted to the World Heritage Committee for inclusion in the World Heritage List so as to remove from the specification any part of the property that the Commonwealth decides to withdraw from the submission.

Revoking declarations specifying property not yet nominated

             (3)  The Minister must, by notice in the Gazette, revoke a declaration made under section 14 specifying a property that is not submitted to the World Heritage Committee for inclusion in the World Heritage List if:

                     (a)  the Minister is satisfied that the property does not have world heritage values; or

                     (b)  the Commonwealth decides not to submit the property to the Committee for inclusion in the List; or

                     (c)  the Minister is satisfied that none of the world heritage values of the property are under threat.

15A  Offences relating to declared World Heritage properties

             (1)  A person is guilty of an offence if:

                     (a)  the person takes an action; and

                     (b)  the action results or will result in a significant impact on the world heritage values of a property; and

                     (c)  the property is a declared World Heritage property.

Note:          Chapter 2 of the Criminal Code sets out the general principles of criminal responsibility.

          (1A)  Strict liability applies to paragraph (1)(c).

Note:          For strict liability, see section 6.1 of the Criminal Code.

             (2)  A person is guilty of an offence if:

                     (a)  the person takes an action; and

                     (b)  the action is likely to have a significant impact on the world heritage values of a property; and

                     (c)  the property is a declared World Heritage property.

Note:          Chapter 2 of the Criminal Code sets out the general principles of criminal responsibility.

          (2A)  Strict liability applies to paragraph (2)(c).

Note:          For strict liability, see section 6.1 of the Criminal Code.

             (3)  An offence against subsection (1) or (2) is punishable on conviction by imprisonment for a term not more than 7 years, a fine not more than 420 penalty units, or both.

Note 1:       Subsection 4B(3) of the Crimes Act 1914 lets a court fine a body corporate up to 5 times the maximum amount the court could fine a person under this subsection.

Note 2:       An executive officer of a body corporate convicted of an offence against this section may also be guilty of an offence against section 495.

Note 3:       If a person takes an action on land that contravenes this section, a landholder may be guilty of an offence against section 496C.

             (4)  Subsections (1) and (2) do not apply to an action if:

                     (a)  an approval of the taking of the action by the person is in operation under Part 9 for the purposes of this section; or

                     (b)  Part 4 lets the person take the action without an approval under Part 9 for the purposes of this section; or

                     (c)  there is in force a decision of the Minister under Division 2 of Part 7 that this section is not a controlling provision for the action and, if the decision was made because the Minister believed the action would be taken in a manner specified in the notice of the decision under section 77, the action is taken in that manner; or

                     (d)  the action is an action described in subsection 160(2) (which describes actions whose authorisation is subject to a special environmental assessment process).

Note:          The defendant bears an evidential burden in relation to the matters in this subsection. See subsection 13.3(3) of the Criminal Code.

Subdivision AANational Heritage

15B  Requirement for approval of activities with a significant impact on a National Heritage place

             (1)  A constitutional corporation, the Commonwealth or a Commonwealth agency must not take an action that has, will have or is likely to have a significant impact on the National Heritage values of a National Heritage place.

Civil Penalty:          

                     (a)  for an individual—5,000 penalty units;

                     (b)  for a body corporate—50,000 penalty units.

             (2)  A person must not, for the purposes of trade or commerce:

                     (a)  between Australia and another country; or

                     (b)  between 2 States; or

                     (c)  between a State and Territory; or

                     (d)  between 2 Territories;

take an action that has, will have or is likely to have a significant impact on the National Heritage values of a National Heritage place.

Civil Penalty:          

                     (a)  for an individual—5,000 penalty units;

                     (b)  for a body corporate—50,000 penalty units.

             (3)  A person must not take an action in:

                     (a)  a Commonwealth area; or

                     (b)  a Territory;

that has, will have or is likely to have a significant impact on the National Heritage values of a National Heritage place.

Civil Penalty:          

                     (a)  for an individual—5,000 penalty units;

                     (b)  for a body corporate—50,000 penalty units.

             (4)  A person must not take an action that has, will have or is likely to have a significant impact on the National Heritage values, to the extent that they are indigenous heritage values, of a National Heritage place.

Civil Penalty:          

                     (a)  for an individual—5,000 penalty units;

                     (b)  for a body corporate—50,000 penalty units.

Note:          For indigenous heritage value, see section 528.

             (5)  A person must not take an action that has, will have or is likely to have a significant impact on the National Heritage values of a National Heritage place in an area in respect of which Australia has obligations under Article 8 of the Biodiversity Convention.

Civil Penalty:          

                     (a)  for an individual—5,000 penalty units;

                     (b)  for a body corporate—50,000 penalty units.

             (6)  Subsection (5) only applies to actions whose prohibition is appropriate and adapted to give effect to Australia’s obligations under Article 8 of the Biodiversity Convention. (However, that subsection may not apply to certain actions because of subsection (8).)

             (8)  Subsections (1) to (5) (inclusive) do not apply to an action if:

                     (a)  an approval of the taking of the action by the constitutional corporation, Commonwealth agency, Commonwealth or person is in operation under Part 9 for the purposes of this section; or

                     (b)  Part 4 lets the constitutional corporation, Commonwealth agency, Commonwealth or person take the action without an approval under Part 9 for the purposes of this section; or

                     (c)  there is in force a decision of the Minister under Division 2 of Part 7 that this section is not a controlling provision for the action and, if the decision was made because the Minister believed the action would be taken in a manner specified in the notice of the decision under section 77, the action is taken in that manner; or

                     (d)  the action is an action described in subsection 160(2) (which describes actions whose authorisation is subject to a special environmental assessment process).

15C  Offences relating to National Heritage places

             (1)  A constitutional corporation, or a Commonwealth agency that does not enjoy the immunities of the Commonwealth, is guilty of an offence if:

                     (a)  the corporation or agency takes an action; and

                     (b)  the action results or will result in a significant impact on the heritage values of a place; and

                     (c)  the heritage values are National Heritage values of the place; and

                     (d)  the place is a National Heritage place.

Note:          Chapter 2 of the Criminal Code sets out the general principles of criminal responsibility.

          (1A)  Strict liability applies to paragraphs (1)(c) and (d).

Note:          For strict liability, see section 6.1 of the Criminal Code.

             (2)  A constitutional corporation, or a Commonwealth agency that does not enjoy the immunities of the Commonwealth, is guilty of an offence if:

                     (a)  the corporation or agency takes an action; and

                     (b)  the action is likely to have a significant impact on the heritage values of a place; and

                     (c)  the heritage values are National Heritage values of the place; and

                     (d)  the place is a National Heritage place.

Note:          Chapter 2 of the Criminal Code sets out the general principles of criminal responsibility.

          (2A)  Strict liability applies to paragraphs (2)(c) and (d).

Note:          For strict liability, see section 6.1 of the Criminal Code.

             (3)  A person is guilty of an offence if:

                     (a)  the person takes an action; and

                     (b)  the action is taken for the purposes of trade or commerce:

                              (i)  between Australia and another country; or

                             (ii)  between 2 States; or

                            (iii)  between a State and Territory; or

                            (iv)  between 2 Territories; and

                     (c)  the action results or will result in a significant impact on the heritage values of a place; and

                     (d)  the heritage values are National Heritage values of the place; and

                     (e)  the place is a National Heritage place.

Note:          Chapter 2 of the Criminal Code sets out the general principles of criminal responsibility.

          (3A)  Strict liability applies to paragraphs (3)(d) and (e).

Note:          For strict liability, see section 6.1 of the Criminal Code.

             (4)  A person is guilty of an offence if:

                     (a)  the person takes an action; and

                     (b)  the action is taken for the purposes of trade or commerce:

                              (i)  between Australia and another country; or

                             (ii)  between 2 States; or

                            (iii)  between a State and Territory; or

                            (iv)  between 2 Territories; and

                     (c)  the action is likely to have a significant impact on the heritage values of a place; and

                     (d)  the heritage values are National Heritage values of the place; and

                     (e)  the place is a National Heritage place.

Note:          Chapter 2 of the Criminal Code sets out the general principles of criminal responsibility.

          (4A)  Strict liability applies to paragraphs (4)(d) and (e).

Note:          For strict liability, see section 6.1 of the Criminal Code.

             (5)  A person is guilty of an offence if:

                     (a)  the person takes an action; and

                     (b)  the action is taken in:

                              (i)  a Commonwealth area; or

                             (ii)  a Territory; and

                     (c)  the action results or will result in a significant impact on the heritage values of a place; and

                     (d)  the heritage values are National Heritage values of the place; and

                     (e)  the place is a National Heritage place.

Note:          Chapter 2 of the Criminal Code sets out the general principles of criminal responsibility.

          (5A)  Strict liability applies to paragraphs (5)(d) and (e).

Note:          For strict liability, see section 6.1 of the Criminal Code.

             (6)  A person is guilty of an offence if:

                     (a)  the person takes an action; and

                     (b)  the action is taken in:

                              (i)  a Commonwealth area; or

                             (ii)  a Territory; and

                     (c)  the action is likely to have a significant impact on the heritage values of a place; and

                     (d)  the heritage values are National Heritage values of the place; and

                     (e)  the place is a National Heritage place.

Note:          Chapter 2 of the Criminal Code sets out the general principles of criminal responsibility.

          (6A)  Strict liability applies to paragraphs (6)(d) and (e).

Note:          For strict liability, see section 6.1 of the Criminal Code.

             (7)  A person is guilty of an offence if:

                     (a)  the person takes an action; and

                     (b)  the action results or will result in a significant impact on the heritage values, to the extent that they are indigenous heritage values, of a place; and

                     (c)  the heritage values are National Heritage values of the place; and

                     (d)  the place is a National Heritage place.

Note 1:       For indigenous heritage value, see section 528.

Note 2:       Chapter 2 of the Criminal Code sets out the general principles of criminal responsibility.

          (7A)  Strict liability applies to paragraphs (7)(c) and (d).

Note:          For strict liability, see section 6.1 of the Criminal Code.

             (8)  A person is guilty of an offence if:

                     (a)  the person takes an action; and

                     (b)  the action is likely to have a significant impact on the heritage values, to the extent that they are indigenous heritage values, of a place; and

                     (c)  the heritage values are National Heritage values of the place; and

                     (d)  the place is a National Heritage place.

Note 1:       For indigenous heritage value, see section 528.

Note 2:       Chapter 2 of the Criminal Code sets out the general principles of criminal responsibility.

          (8A)  Strict liability applies to paragraphs (8)(c) and (d).

Note:          For strict liability, see section 6.1 of the Criminal Code.

             (9)  A person is guilty of an offence if:

                     (a)  the person takes an action; and

                     (b)  the action results or will result in a significant impact on the heritage values of a place; and

                    (ba)  the heritage values are National Heritage values of the place; and

                    (bb)  the place is a National Heritage place; and

                     (c)  the National Heritage place is in an area in respect of which Australia has obligations under Article 8 of the Biodiversity Convention.

Note:          Chapter 2 of the Criminal Code sets out the general principles of criminal responsibility.

          (9A)  Strict liability applies to paragraphs (9)(ba), (bb) and (c).

Note:          For strict liability, see section 6.1 of the Criminal Code.

           (10)  A person is guilty of an offence if:

                     (a)  the person takes an action; and

                     (b)  the action is likely to have a significant impact on the heritage values of a place; and

                    (ba)  the heritage values are National Heritage values of the place; and

                    (bb)  the place is a National Heritage place; and

                     (c)  the National Heritage place is in an area in respect of which Australia has obligations under Article 8 of the Biodiversity Convention.

Note:          Chapter 2 of the Criminal Code sets out the general principles of criminal responsibility.

        (10A)  Strict liability applies to paragraphs (10)(ba), (bb) and (c).

Note:          For strict liability, see section 6.1 of the Criminal Code.

           (13)  An offence against any of subsections (1) to (10) (inclusive) is punishable on conviction by imprisonment for a term not more than 7 years, a fine not more than 420 penalty units, or both.

Note 1:       Subsection 4B(3) of the Crimes Act 1914 lets a court fine a body corporate up to 5 times the maximum amount the court could fine a person under this subsection.

Note 2:       An executive officer of a body corporate convicted of an offence against this section may also be guilty of an offence against section 495.

Note 3:       If a person takes an action on land that contravenes this section, a landholder may be guilty of an offence against section 496C.

           (14)  Subsections (9) and (10) only apply to actions whose prohibition is appropriate and adapted to give effect to Australia’s obligations under Article 8 of the Biodiversity Convention. (However, those subsections may not apply to certain actions because of subsection (16).)

           (16)  Subsections (1) to (10) (inclusive) do not apply to an action if:

                     (a)  an approval of the taking of the action by the constitutional corporation, Commonwealth agency or person is in operation under Part 9 for the purposes of this section; or

                     (b)  Part 4 lets the constitutional corporation, Commonwealth agency or person take the action without an approval under Part 9 for the purposes of this section; or

                     (c)  there is in force a decision of the Minister under Division 2 of Part 7 that this section is not a controlling provision for the action and, if the decision was made because the Minister believed the action would be taken in a manner specified in the notice of the decision under section 77, the action is taken in that manner; or

                     (d)  the action is an action described in subsection 160(2) (which describes actions whose authorisation is subject to a special environmental assessment process).

Note:          The defendant bears an evidential burden in relation to the matters in this subsection. See subsection 13.3(3) of the Criminal Code.

Subdivision BWetlands of international importance

16  Requirement for approval of activities with a significant impact on a declared Ramsar wetland

             (1)  A person must not take an action that:

                     (a)  has or will have a significant impact on the ecological character of a declared Ramsar wetland; or

                     (b)  is likely to have a significant impact on the ecological character of a declared Ramsar wetland.

Civil penalty:           

                     (a)  for an individual—5,000 penalty units;

                     (b)  for a body corporate—50,000 penalty units.

             (2)  Subsection (1) does not apply to an action if:

                     (a)  an approval of the taking of the action by the person is in operation under Part 9 for the purposes of this section; or

                     (b)  Part 4 lets the person take the action without an approval under Part 9 for the purposes of this section; or

                     (c)  there is in force a decision of the Minister under Division 2 of Part 7 that this section is not a controlling provision for the action and, if the decision was made because the Minister believed the action would be taken in a manner specified in the notice of the decision under section 77, the action is taken in that manner; or

                     (d)  the action is an action described in subsection 160(2) (which describes actions whose authorisation is subject to a special environmental assessment process).

             (3)  In this Act:

ecological character has the same meaning as in the Ramsar Convention.

17  What is a declared Ramsar wetland?

Areas designated for listing

             (1)  A wetland, or part of a wetland, designated by the Commonwealth under Article 2 of the Ramsar Convention for inclusion in the List of Wetlands of International Importance kept under that Article is a declared Ramsar wetland as long as the wetland or part is not:

                     (a)  excluded by the Commonwealth from the boundaries of a wetland in the List under that Article; or

                     (b)  deleted by the Commonwealth from the List under that Article.

Areas declared by the Minister

             (2)  A wetland, or part of a wetland, is also a declared Ramsar wetland for the period for which a declaration of the wetland as a declared Ramsar wetland is in force.

17A  Making and revoking declarations of wetlands

Declaring threatened wetlands of international importance

             (1)  The Minister may declare a specified wetland to be a declared Ramsar wetland by notice in the Gazette if the Minister is satisfied that:

                     (a)  the wetland is of international significance or is likely to be of international significance because of its ecology, botany, zoology, limnology or hydrology; and

                     (b)  the ecological character of some or all of the wetland is under threat.

Note:          The Minister may make more than one declaration of the same wetland under this section. See subsection 33(1) of the Acts Interpretation Act 1901.

Consulting State or Territory before making declaration

             (2)  Before the Minister makes a declaration relating to a wetland wholly or partly within a State or self‑governing Territory, the Minister must inform the appropriate Minister of the State or Territory of the proposal to make the declaration, and give him or her a reasonable opportunity to comment on the proposal.

Consultation not required if threat is imminent

             (3)  However, the Minister need not comply with subsection (2) if he or she is satisfied that the threat mentioned in paragraph (1)(b) is imminent.

Failure to comply with subsection (2)

             (4)  The validity of a declaration is not affected by a failure to comply with subsection (2) in relation to the making of the declaration.

When a declaration is in force

             (5)  A declaration comes into force on the day it is published in the Gazette and remains in force for the period specified in the declaration, unless it is revoked earlier.

Specifying period for which declaration is in force

             (6)  The Minister must specify in a declaration the period for which it is to be in force. The period must not be longer than the shorter of the following periods:

                     (a)  the period the Minister believes the Commonwealth needs to:

                              (i)  decide whether the wetland is of international significance in terms of ecology, botany, zoology, limnology or hydrology; and

                             (ii)  designate the wetland for inclusion in the List of Wetlands of International Importance kept under Article 2 of the Ramsar Convention;

                     (b)  12 months.

Revocation of declaration of threatened wetland

             (7)  The Minister must, by notice in the Gazette, revoke a declaration of a wetland if:

                     (a)  the Minister is satisfied that the wetland is not of international significance because of its ecology, botany, zoology, limnology or hydrology; or

                     (b)  the Minister is satisfied that there is no longer a threat to any part of the wetland.

17B  Offences relating to declared Ramsar wetlands

             (1)  A person is guilty of an offence if:

                     (a)  the person takes an action; and

                     (b)  the action results or will result in a significant impact on the ecological character of a wetland; and

                     (c)  the wetland is a declared Ramsar wetland.

Note:          Chapter 2 of the Criminal Code sets out the general principles of criminal responsibility.

          (1A)  Strict liability applies to paragraph (1)(c).

Note:          For strict liability, see section 6.1 of the Criminal Code.

             (2)  A person is guilty of an offence if:

                     (a)  the person takes an action; and

                     (b)  the action is likely to have a significant impact on the ecological character of a wetland; and

                     (c)  the wetland is a declared Ramsar wetland.

Note:          Chapter 2 of the Criminal Code sets out the general principles of criminal responsibility.

          (2A)  Strict liability applies to paragraph (2)(c).

Note:          For strict liability, see section 6.1 of the Criminal Code.

             (3)  An offence against subsection (1) or (2) is punishable on conviction by imprisonment for a term not more than 7 years, a fine not more than 420 penalty units, or both.

Note 1:       Subsection 4B(3) of the Crimes Act 1914 lets a court fine a body corporate up to 5 times the maximum amount the court could fine a person under this subsection.

Note 2:       An executive officer of a body corporate convicted of an offence against this section may also be guilty of an offence against section 495.

Note 3:       If a person takes an action on land that contravenes this section, a landholder may be guilty of an offence against section 496C.

             (4)  Subsections (1) and (2) do not apply to an action if:

                     (a)  an approval of the taking of the action by the person is in operation under Part 9 for the purposes of this section; or

                     (b)  Part 4 lets the person take the action without an approval under Part 9 for the purposes of this section; or

                     (c)  there is in force a decision of the Minister under Division 2 of Part 7 that this section is not a controlling provision for the action and, if the decision was made because the Minister believed the action would be taken in a manner specified in the notice of the decision under section 77, the action is taken in that manner; or

                     (d)  the action is an action described in subsection 160(2) (which describes actions whose authorisation is subject to a special environmental assessment process).

Note:          The defendant bears an evidential burden in relation to the matters in this subsection. See subsection 13.3(3) of the Criminal Code.

Subdivision CListed threatened species and communities

18  Actions with significant impact on listed threatened species or endangered community prohibited without approval

Species that are extinct in the wild

             (1)  A person must not take an action that:

                     (a)  has or will have a significant impact on a listed threatened species included in the extinct in the wild category; or

                     (b)  is likely to have a significant impact on a listed threatened species included in the extinct in the wild category.

Civil penalty:           

                     (a)  for an individual—5,000 penalty units;

                     (b)  for a body corporate—50,000 penalty units.

Critically endangered species

             (2)  A person must not take an action that:

                     (a)  has or will have a significant impact on a listed threatened species included in the critically endangered category; or

                     (b)  is likely to have a significant impact on a listed threatened species included in the critically endangered category.

Civil penalty:           

                     (a)  for an individual—5,000 penalty units;

                     (b)  for a body corporate—50,000 penalty units.

Endangered species

             (3)  A person must not take an action that:

                     (a)  has or will have a significant impact on a listed threatened species included in the endangered category; or

                     (b)  is likely to have a significant impact on a listed threatened species included in the endangered category.

Civil penalty:           

                     (a)  for an individual—5,000 penalty units;

                     (b)  for a body corporate—50,000 penalty units.

Vulnerable species

             (4)  A person must not take an action that:

                     (a)  has or will have a significant impact on a listed threatened species included in the vulnerable category; or

                     (b)  is likely to have a significant impact on a listed threatened species included in the vulnerable category.

Civil penalty:           

                     (a)  for an individual—5,000 penalty units;

                     (b)  for a body corporate—50,000 penalty units.

Critically endangered communities

             (5)  A person must not take an action that:

                     (a)  has or will have a significant impact on a listed threatened ecological community included in the critically endangered category; or

                     (b)  is likely to have a significant impact on a listed threatened ecological community included in the critically endangered category.

Civil penalty:           

                     (a)  for an individual—5,000 penalty units;

                     (b)  for a body corporate—50,000 penalty units.

Endangered communities

             (6)  A person must not take an action that:

                     (a)  has or will have a significant impact on a listed threatened ecological community included in the endangered category; or

                     (b)  is likely to have a significant impact on a listed threatened ecological community included in the endangered category.

Civil penalty:           

                     (a)  for an individual—5,000 penalty units;

                     (b)  for a body corporate—50,000 penalty units.

18A  Offences relating to threatened species etc.

             (1)  A person is guilty of an offence if:

                     (a)  the person takes an action; and

                     (b)  the action results or will result in a significant impact on:

                              (i)  a species; or

                             (ii)  an ecological community; and

                     (c)  the species is a listed threatened species, or the community is a listed threatened ecological community.

Note:          Chapter 2 of the Criminal Code sets out the general principles of criminal responsibility.

          (1A)  Strict liability applies to paragraph (1)(c).

Note:          For strict liability, see section 6.1 of the Criminal Code.

             (2)  A person is guilty of an offence if:

                     (a)  the person takes an action; and

                     (b)  the action is likely to have a significant impact on:

                              (i)  a species; or

                             (ii)  an ecological community; and

                     (c)  the species is a listed threatened species, or the community is a listed threatened ecological community.

Note:          Chapter 2 of the Criminal Code sets out the general principles of criminal responsibility.

          (2A)  Strict liability applies to paragraph (2)(c).

Note:          For strict liability, see section 6.1 of the Criminal Code.

             (3)  An offence against subsection (1) or (2) is punishable on conviction by imprisonment for a term not more than 7 years, a fine not more than 420 penalty units, or both.

Note 1:       Subsection 4B(3) of the Crimes Act 1914 lets a court fine a body corporate up to 5 times the maximum amount the court could fine a person under this subsection.

Note 2:       An executive officer of a body corporate convicted of an offence against this section may also be guilty of an offence against section 495.

Note 3:       If a person takes an action on land that contravenes this section, a landholder may be guilty of an offence against section 496C.

             (4)  Subsections (1) and (2) do not apply to an action if:

                     (a)  the listed threatened species subject to the significant impact (or likely to be subject to the significant impact) is:

                              (i)  a species included in the extinct category of the list under section 178; or

                             (ii)  a conservation dependent species; or

                     (b)  the listed threatened ecological community subject to the significant impact (or likely to be subject to the significant impact) is an ecological community included in the vulnerable category of the list under section 181.

Note 1:       The defendant bears an evidential burden in relation to the matters in this subsection. See subsection 13.3(3) of the Criminal Code.

Note 2:       Section 19 sets out other defences. The defendant bears an evidential burden in relation to the matters in that section too. See subsection 13.3(3) of the Criminal Code.

19  Certain actions relating to listed threatened species and listed threatened ecological communities not prohibited

             (1)  A subsection of section 18 or 18A relating to a listed threatened species does not apply to an action if an approval of the taking of the action by the person is in operation under Part 9 for the purposes of any subsection of that section that relates to a listed threatened species.

             (2)  A subsection of section 18 or 18A relating to a listed threatened ecological community does not apply to an action if an approval of the taking of the action by the person is in operation under Part 9 for the purposes of either subsection of that section that relates to a listed threatened ecological community.

             (3)  A subsection of section 18 or 18A does not apply to an action if:

                     (a)  Part 4 lets the person take the action without an approval under Part 9 for the purposes of the subsection; or

                     (b)  there is in force a decision of the Minister under Division 2 of Part 7 that the subsection is not a controlling provision for the action and, if the decision was made because the Minister believed the action would be taken in a manner specified in the notice of the decision under section 77, the action is taken in that manner; or

                     (c)  the action is an action described in subsection 160(2) (which describes actions whose authorisation is subject to a special environmental assessment process).

             (4)  A subsection of section 18 or 18A does not apply to an action, to the extent that it is covered by subsection 517A(7).

Subdivision DListed migratory species

20  Requirement for approval of activities with a significant impact on a listed migratory species

             (1)  A person must not take an action that:

                     (a)  has or will have a significant impact on a listed migratory species; or

                     (b)  is likely to have a significant impact on a listed migratory species.

Civil penalty:           

                     (a)  for an individual—5,000 penalty units;

                     (b)  for a body corporate—50,000 penalty units.

             (2)  Subsection (1) does not apply to an action if:

                     (a)  an approval of the taking of the action by the person is in operation under Part 9 for the purposes of this section; or

                     (b)  Part 4 lets the person take the action without an approval under Part 9 for the purposes of this section; or

                     (c)  there is in force a decision of the Minister under Division 2 of Part 7 that this section is not a controlling provision for the action and, if the decision was made because the Minister believed the action would be taken in a manner specified in the notice of the decision under section 77, the action is taken in that manner; or

                     (d)  the action is an action described in subsection 160(2) (which describes actions whose authorisation is subject to a special environmental assessment process).

20A  Offences relating to listed migratory species

             (1)  A person is guilty of an offence if:

                     (a)  the person takes an action; and

                     (b)  the action results or will result in a significant impact on a species; and

                     (c)  the species is a listed migratory species.

Note:          Chapter 2 of the Criminal Code sets out the general principles of criminal responsibility.

          (1A)  Strict liability applies to paragraph (1)(c).

Note:          For strict liability , see section 6.1 of the Criminal Code.

             (2)  A person is guilty of an offence if:

                     (a)  the person takes an action; and

                     (b)  the action is likely to have a significant impact on a species; and

                     (c)  the species is a listed migratory species.

Note:          Chapter 2 of the Criminal Code sets out the general principles of criminal responsibility.

          (2A)  Strict liability applies to paragraph (2)(c).

Note:          For strict liability , see section 6.1 of the Criminal Code.

             (3)  An offence against subsection (1) or (2) is punishable on conviction by imprisonment for a term not more than 7 years, a fine not more than 420 penalty units, or both.

Note 1:       Subsection 4B(3) of the Crimes Act 1914 lets a court fine a body corporate up to 5 times the maximum amount the court could fine a person under this subsection.

Note 2:       An executive officer of a body corporate convicted of an offence against this section may also be guilty of an offence against section 495.

Note 3:       If a person takes an action on land that contravenes this section, a landholder may be guilty of an offence against section 496C.

             (4)  Subsections (1) and (2) do not apply to an action if:

                     (a)  an approval of the taking of the action by the person is in operation under Part 9 for the purposes of this section; or

                     (b)  Part 4 lets the person take the action without an approval under Part 9 for the purposes of this section; or

                     (c)  there is in force a decision of the Minister under Division 2 of Part 7 that this section is not a controlling provision for the action and, if the decision was made because the Minister believed the action would be taken in a manner specified in the notice of the decision under section 77, the action is taken in that manner; or

                     (d)  the action is an action described in subsection 160(2) (which describes actions whose authorisation is subject to a special environmental assessment process).

Note:          The defendant bears an evidential burden in relation to the matters in this subsection. See subsection 13.3(3) of the Criminal Code.

20B  Certain actions relating to listed migratory species not prohibited

                   A subsection of section 20 or 20A does not apply to an action, to the extent that it is covered by subsection 517A(7).

Subdivision EProtection of the environment from nuclear actions

21  Requirement for approval of nuclear actions

             (1)  A constitutional corporation, the Commonwealth or Commonwealth agency must not take a nuclear action that has, will have or is likely to have a significant impact on the environment.

Civil penalty:           

                     (a)  for an individual—5,000 penalty units;

                     (b)  for a body corporate—50,000 penalty units.

             (2)  A person must not, for the purposes of trade or commerce:

                     (a)  between Australia and another country; or

                     (b)  between 2 States; or

                     (c)  between a State and a Territory; or

                     (d)  between 2 Territories;

take a nuclear action that has, will have or is likely to have a significant impact on the environment.

Civil penalty:           

                     (a)  for an individual—5,000 penalty units;

                     (b)  for a body corporate—50,000 penalty units.

             (3)  A person must not take in a Territory a nuclear action that has, will have or is likely to have a significant impact on the environment.

Civil penalty:           

                     (a)  for an individual—5,000 penalty units;

                     (b)  for a body corporate—50,000 penalty units.

             (4)  Subsections (1), (2) and (3) do not apply to an action if:

                     (a)  an approval of the taking of the action by the constitutional corporation, Commonwealth agency, Commonwealth or person is in operation under Part 9 for the purposes of this section; or

                     (b)  Part 4 lets the constitutional corporation, Commonwealth agency, Commonwealth or person take the action without an approval under Part 9 for the purposes of this section; or

                     (c)  there is in force a decision of the Minister under Division 2 of Part 7 that this section is not a controlling provision for the action and, if the decision was made because the Minister believed the action would be taken in a manner specified in the notice of the decision under section 77, the action is taken in that manner; or

                     (d)  the action is an action described in subsection 160(2) (which describes actions whose authorisation is subject to a special environmental assessment process).

22  What is a nuclear action?

             (1)  In this Act:

nuclear action means any of the following:

                     (a)  establishing or significantly modifying a nuclear installation;

                     (b)  transporting spent nuclear fuel or radioactive waste products arising from reprocessing;

                     (c)  establishing or significantly modifying a facility for storing radioactive waste products arising from reprocessing;

                     (d)  mining or milling uranium ore;

                     (e)  establishing or significantly modifying a large‑scale disposal facility for radioactive waste;

                      (f)  de‑commissioning or rehabilitating any facility or area in which an activity described in paragraph (a), (b), (c), (d) or (e) has been undertaken;

                     (g)  any other action prescribed by the regulations.

nuclear installation means any of the following:

                     (a)  a nuclear reactor for research or production of nuclear materials for industrial or medical use (including critical and sub‑critical assemblies);

                     (b)  a plant for preparing or storing fuel for use in a nuclear reactor as described in paragraph (a);

                     (c)  a nuclear waste storage or disposal facility with an activity that is greater than the activity level prescribed by regulations made for the purposes of this section;

                     (d)  a facility for production of radioisotopes with an activity that is greater than the activity level prescribed by regulations made for the purposes of this section.

Note:          A nuclear waste storage or disposal facility could include a facility for storing spent nuclear fuel, depending on the regulations.

radioactive waste means radioactive material for which no further use is foreseen.

reprocessing means a process or operation to extract radioactive isotopes from spent nuclear fuel for further use.

spent nuclear fuel means nuclear fuel that has been irradiated in a nuclear reactor core and permanently removed from the core.

             (2)  In this Act:

large‑scale disposal facility for radioactive waste means, if regulations are made for the purposes of this definition, a facility prescribed by the regulations.

22A  Offences relating to nuclear actions

             (1)  A constitutional corporation, or a Commonwealth agency that does not enjoy the immunities of the Commonwealth, is guilty of an offence if:

                     (a)  the corporation or agency takes a nuclear action; and

                     (b)  the nuclear action results or will result in a significant impact on the environment.

Note:          Chapter 2 of the Criminal Code sets out the general principles of criminal responsibility.

             (2)  A constitutional corporation, or a Commonwealth agency that does not enjoy the immunities of the Commonwealth, is guilty of an offence if:

                     (a)  the corporation or agency takes a nuclear action; and

                     (b)  the nuclear action is likely to have a significant impact on the environment and the corporation or agency is reckless as to that fact.

Note:          Chapter 2 of the Criminal Code sets out the general principles of criminal responsibility.

             (3)  A person is guilty of an offence if:

                     (a)  the person takes a nuclear action; and

                     (b)  the nuclear action is taken for the purposes of trade or commerce:

                              (i)  between Australia and another country; or

                             (ii)  between 2 States; or

                            (iii)  between a State and a Territory; or

                            (iv)  between 2 Territories; and

                     (c)  the nuclear action results or will result in a significant impact on the environment.

Note:          Chapter 2 of the Criminal Code sets out the general principles of criminal responsibility.

             (4)  A person is guilty of an offence if:

                     (a)  the person takes a nuclear action; and

                     (b)  the nuclear action is taken for the purposes of trade or commerce:

                              (i)  between Australia and another country; or

                             (ii)  between 2 States; or

                            (iii)  between a State and a Territory; or

                            (iv)  between 2 Territories; and

                     (c)  the nuclear action is likely to have a significant impact on the environment and the person is reckless as to that fact.

Note:          Chapter 2 of the Criminal Code sets out the general principles of criminal responsibility.

             (5)  A person is guilty of an offence if:

                     (a)  the person takes a nuclear action; and

                     (b)  the nuclear action is taken in a Territory; and

                     (c)  the nuclear action results or will result in a significant impact on the environment.

Note:          Chapter 2 of the Criminal Code sets out the general principles of criminal responsibility.

             (6)  A person is guilty of an offence if:

                     (a)  the person takes a nuclear action; and

                     (b)  the nuclear action is taken in a Territory; and

                     (c)  the nuclear action is likely to have a significant impact on the environment and the person is reckless as to that fact.

Note:          Chapter 2 of the Criminal Code sets out the general principles of criminal responsibility.

             (7)  An offence against subsection (1), (2), (3), (4), (5) or (6) is punishable on conviction by imprisonment for a term not more than 7 years, a fine not more than 420 penalty units, or both.

Note 1:       Subsection 4B(3) of the Crimes Act 1914 lets a court fine a body corporate up to 5 times the maximum amount the court could fine a person under this subsection.

Note 2:       An executive officer of a body corporate convicted of an offence against this section may also be guilty of an offence against section 495.

Note 3:       If a person takes an action on land that contravenes this section, a landholder may be guilty of an offence against section 496C.

             (8)  Subsections (1), (2), (3), (4), (5) and (6) do not apply to an action if:

                     (a)  an approval of the taking of the action by the person is in operation under Part 9 for the purposes of this section; or

                     (b)  Part 4 lets the person take the action without an approval under Part 9 for the purposes of this section; or

                     (c)  there is in force a decision of the Minister under Division 2 of Part 7 that this section is not a controlling provision for the action and, if the decision was made because the Minister believed the action would be taken in a manner specified in the notice of the decision under section 77, the action is taken in that manner; or

                     (d)  the action is an action described in subsection 160(2) (which describes actions whose authorisation is subject to a special environmental assessment process).

Note:          The defendant bears an evidential burden in relation to the matters in this subsection. See subsection 13.3(3) of the Criminal Code.

Subdivision FMarine environment

23  Requirement for approval of activities involving the marine environment

Actions in Commonwealth marine areas affecting the environment

             (1)  A person must not take in a Commonwealth marine area an action that has, will have or is likely to have a significant impact on the environment.

Civil penalty:           

                     (a)  for an individual—5,000 penalty units;

                     (b)  for a body corporate—50,000 penalty units.

Actions outside Commonwealth marine areas affecting those areas

             (2)  A person must not take outside a Commonwealth marine area but in the Australian jurisdiction an action that:

                     (a)  has or will have a significant impact on the environment in a Commonwealth marine area; or

                     (b)  is likely to have a significant impact on the environment in a Commonwealth marine area.

Civil penalty:           

                     (a)  for an individual—5,000 penalty units;

                     (b)  for a body corporate—50,000 penalty units.

Fishing in State or Territory waters managed by Commonwealth

             (3)  A person must not take in the coastal waters (as defined in the Fisheries Management Act 1991) of a State or the Northern Territory an action:

                     (a)  that:

                              (i)  is fishing (as defined in the Fisheries Management Act 1991); and

                             (ii)  is included in the class of activities forming a fishery (as defined in that Act) that is managed under the law of the Commonwealth as a result of an agreement made under section 71 or 72 of that Act before the commencement of this section; and

                     (b)  that:

                              (i)  has or will have a significant impact on the environment in those coastal waters; or

                             (ii)  is likely to have a significant impact on the environment in those coastal waters.

Civil penalty:           

                     (a)  for an individual—5,000 penalty units;

                     (b)  for a body corporate—50,000 penalty units.

Exceptions to prohibitions

             (4)  Subsection (1), (2) or (3) does not apply to an action if:

                     (a)  an approval of the taking of the action by the person is in operation under Part 9 for the purposes of the subsection; or

                     (b)  Part 4 lets the person take the action without an approval under Part 9 for the purposes of the subsection; or

                     (c)  there is in force a decision of the Minister under Division 2 of Part 7 that the subsection is not a controlling provision for the action and, if the decision was made because the Minister believed the action would be taken in a manner specified in the notice of the decision under section 77, the action is taken in that manner; or

                     (d)  the person taking the action is the Commonwealth or a Commonwealth agency; or

                     (e)  the action is an action described in subsection 160(2) (which describes actions whose authorisation is subject to a special environmental assessment process).

Note:          Section 28 regulates actions by the Commonwealth or a Commonwealth agency with a significant impact on the environment.

Exception—fishing in Commonwealth waters managed by State

             (5)  Subsection (1) does not apply to an action if the action:

                     (a)  is fishing (as defined in the Fisheries Management Act 1991); and

                     (b)  is included in the class of activities forming a fishery (as defined in that Act) that is managed under the law of a State or the Northern Territory as a result of an agreement made under section 71 or 72 of that Act before the commencement of this section; and

                     (c)  is permitted under a law of the State or Territory.

Exception—fishing outside Commonwealth marine areas

             (6)  Subsection (2) does not apply to an action that:

                     (a)  is fishing (as defined in the Fisheries Management Act 1991); and

                     (b)  is permitted under a law of a State or self‑governing Territory.

24  What is a Commonwealth marine area?

                   Each of the following is a Commonwealth marine area:

                     (a)  any waters of the sea inside the seaward boundary of the exclusive economic zone, except:

                              (i)  waters, rights in respect of which have been vested in a State by section 4 of the Coastal Waters (State Title) Act 1980 or in the Northern Territory by section 4 of the Coastal Waters (Northern Territory Title) Act 1980; and

                             (ii)  waters within the limits of a State or the Northern Territory;

                     (b)  the seabed under waters covered by paragraph (a);

                     (c)  airspace over waters covered by paragraph (a);

                     (d)  any waters over the continental shelf, except:

                              (i)  waters, rights in respect of which have been vested in a State by section 4 of the Coastal Waters (State Title) Act 1980 or in the Northern Territory by section 4 of the Coastal Waters (Northern Territory Title) Act 1980; and

                             (ii)  waters within the limits of a State or the Northern Territory; and

                            (iii)  waters covered by paragraph (a);

                     (e)  any seabed under waters covered by paragraph (d);

                      (f)  any airspace over waters covered by paragraph (d);

                     (g)  any other area of sea or seabed that is included in a Commonwealth reserve.

24A  Offences relating to marine areas

Actions in Commonwealth marine areas affecting the environment

             (1)  A person is guilty of an offence if:

                     (a)  the person takes an action; and

                     (b)  the action is taken in a Commonwealth marine area; and

                     (c)  the action results or will result in a significant impact on the environment.

Note:          Chapter 2 of the Criminal Code sets out the general principles of criminal responsibility.

          (1A)  Strict liability applies to paragraph (1)(b).

Note:          For strict liability, see section 6.1 of the Criminal Code.

Actions in Commonwealth marine areas likely to affect the environment

             (2)  A person is guilty of an offence if:

                     (a)  the person takes an action; and

                     (b)  the action is taken in a Commonwealth marine area; and

                     (c)  the action is likely to have a significant impact on the environment.

Note:          Chapter 2 of the Criminal Code sets out the general principles of criminal responsibility.

          (2A)  Strict liability applies to paragraph (2)(b).

Note:          For strict liability, see section 6.1 of the Criminal Code.

Actions outside Commonwealth marine areas affecting those areas

             (3)  A person is guilty of an offence if:

                     (a)  the person takes an action; and

                     (b)  the action is taken outside a Commonwealth marine area but in the Australian jurisdiction; and

                     (c)  the action results or will result in a significant impact on the environment in an area; and

                     (d)  the area is a Commonwealth marine area.

Note:          Chapter 2 of the Criminal Code sets out the general principles of criminal responsibility.

          (3A)  Strict liability applies to paragraphs (3)(b) and (d).

Note:          For strict liability, see section 6.1 of the Criminal Code.

Actions likely to affect environment in Commonwealth marine areas

             (4)  A person is guilty of an offence if:

                     (a)  the person takes an action; and

                     (b)  the action is taken outside a Commonwealth marine area but in the Australian jurisdiction; and

                     (c)  the action is likely to have a significant impact on the environment in an area; and

                     (d)  the area is a Commonwealth marine area.

Note:          Chapter 2 of the Criminal Code sets out the general principles of criminal responsibility.

          (4A)  Strict liability applies to paragraphs (4)(b) and (d).

Note:          For strict liability, see section 6.1 of the Criminal Code.

Fishing with impact in State or Territory waters managed by Commonwealth

             (5)  A person is guilty of an offence if:

                     (a)  the person takes an action that:

                              (i)  is fishing (as defined in the Fisheries Management Act 1991); and

                             (ii)  is included in the class of activities forming a fishery (as defined in that Act) that is managed under the law of the Commonwealth as a result of an agreement made under section 71 or 72 of that Act before the commencement of this section; and

                     (b)  the action is taken in the coastal waters (as defined in the Fisheries Management Act 1991) of a State or the Northern Territory; and

                     (c)  the action results or will result in a significant impact on the environment in those coastal waters.

Note:          Chapter 2 of the Criminal Code sets out the general principles of criminal responsibility.

          (5A)  Strict liability applies to paragraph (5)(b).

Note:          For strict liability, see section 6.1 of the Criminal Code.

Fishing with likely impact in State or Territory waters managed by Commonwealth

             (6)  A person is guilty of an offence if:

                     (a)  the person takes an action that:

                              (i)  is fishing (as defined in the Fisheries Management Act 1991); and

                             (ii)  is included in the class of activities forming a fishery (as defined in that Act) that is managed under the law of the Commonwealth as a result of an agreement made under section 71 or 72 of that Act before the commencement of this section; and

                     (b)  the action is taken in the coastal waters (as defined in the Fisheries Management Act 1991) of a State or the Northern Territory; and

                     (c)  the action is likely to have a significant impact on the environment in those coastal waters.

Note:          Chapter 2 of the Criminal Code sets out the general principles of criminal responsibility.

          (6A)  Strict liability applies to paragraph (6)(b).

Note:          For strict liability, see section 6.1 of the Criminal Code.

Penalties

             (7)  An offence against subsection (1), (2), (3), (4), (5) or (6) is punishable on conviction by imprisonment for a term not more than 7 years, a fine not more than 420 penalty units, or both.

Note 1:       Subsection 4B(3) of the Crimes Act 1914 lets a court fine a body corporate up to 5 times the maximum amount the court could fine a person under this subsection.

Note 2:       An executive officer of a body corporate convicted of an offence against this section may also be guilty of an offence against section 495.

Note 3:       If a person takes an action on land that contravenes this section, a landholder may be guilty of an offence against section 496C.

Defences—general

             (8)  Subsection (1), (2), (3), (4), (5) or (6) does not apply to an action if:

                     (a)  an approval of the taking of the action by the person is in operation under Part 9 for the purposes of this section; or

                     (b)  Part 4 lets the person take the action without an approval under Part 9 for the purposes of this section; or

                     (c)  there is in force a decision of the Minister under Division 2 of Part 7 that the subsection is not a controlling provision for the action and, if the decision was made because the Minister believed the action would be taken in a manner specified in the notice of the decision under section 77, the action is taken in that manner; or

                     (d)  the action is an action described in subsection 160(2) (which describes actions whose authorisation is subject to a special environmental assessment process).

Note:          The defendant bears an evidential burden in relation to the matters in this subsection. See subsection 13.3(3) of the Criminal Code.

Defence—fishing in Commonwealth waters managed by State

             (9)  Subsections (1) and (2) do not apply to an action if the action:

                     (a)  is fishing (as defined in the Fisheries Management Act 1991); and

                     (b)  is included in the class of activities forming a fishery (as defined in that Act) that is managed under the law of a State or the Northern Territory as a result of an agreement made under section 71 or 72 of that Act before the commencement of this section; and

                     (c)  is permitted under a law of the State or Territory.

Note:          The defendant bears an evidential burden in relation to the matters in this subsection. See subsection 13.3(3) of the Criminal Code.

Defence—fishing outside Commonwealth marine areas

           (10)  Subsections (3) and (4) do not apply to an action that:

                     (a)  is fishing (as defined in the Fisheries Management Act 1991); and

                     (b)  is permitted under a law of a State or self‑governing Territory.

Note:          The defendant bears an evidential burden in relation to the matters in this subsection. See subsection 13.3(3) of the Criminal Code.

Subdivision GAdditional matters of national environmental significance

25  Requirement for approval of prescribed actions

             (1)  A person must not take an action that is prescribed by the regulations for the purposes of this subsection.

Civil penalty:           

                     (a)  for an individual—5,000 penalty units;

                     (b)  for a body corporate—50,000 penalty units.

             (2)  Subsection (1) does not apply to an action if:

                     (a)  an approval of the taking of the action by the person is in operation under Part 9 for the purposes of this section; or

                     (b)  Part 4 lets the person take the action without an approval under Part 9 for the purposes of this section; or

                     (c)  there is in force a decision of the Minister under Division 2 of Part 7 that this section is not a controlling provision for the action and, if the decision was made because the Minister believed the action would be taken in a manner specified in the notice of the decision under section 77, the action is taken in that manner; or

                     (d)  the action is an action described in subsection 160(2) (which describes actions whose authorisation is subject to a special environmental assessment process).

             (3)  Before the Governor‑General makes regulations prescribing an action for the purposes of subsection (1), the Minister (the Environment Minister) must:

                     (a)  inform the appropriate Minister of each State and self‑governing Territory of the proposal to prescribe:

                              (i)  the action; and

                             (ii)  a thing as matter protected by this section in relation to the action; and

                     (b)  invite the appropriate Minister of each State and self‑governing Territory to give the Environment Minister comments on the proposal within a specified period of at least 28 days; and

                     (c)  consider the comments (if any); and

                     (d)  if comments have been given as described in paragraph (b)—take all reasonable steps to consult the appropriate Minister of each State and self‑governing Territory with a view to agreeing on:

                              (i)  the action to be prescribed; and

                             (ii)  the thing to be prescribed as matter protected by this section in relation to the action.

Note:          Section 34 provides that the matter protected by this section is a thing prescribed by the regulations in relation to the action.

          (3A)  To avoid doubt, regulations may be made for the purposes of this section even if no agreement is reached on the matters described in paragraph (3)(d).

             (4)  The regulations may prescribe different things as matter protected by this section in relation to different actions prescribed for the purposes of subsection (1).

             (5)  This section applies only to actions:

                     (a)  taken in a Territory or a place acquired by the Commonwealth for public purposes (within the meaning of section 52 of the Constitution); or

                     (b)  taken in a Commonwealth marine area; or

                     (c)  taken for the purpose of trade or commerce:

                              (i)  between Australia and another country; or

                             (ii)  between 2 States; or

                            (iii)  between a State and a Territory; or

                            (iv)  between 2 Territories; or

                     (d)  taken by a constitutional corporation; or

                     (e)  whose regulation is appropriate and adapted to give effect to Australia’s obligations under an agreement with one or more other countries.

             (6)  Regulations prescribing an action whose regulation is appropriate and adapted to give effect to Australia’s obligations under an agreement with one or more countries must specify the agreement.

Subdivision HActions that are taken to be covered by this Division

25A  Actions that are taken to be covered by this Division

             (1)  The regulations may provide that a specified action is taken to be an action to which a specified regulatory provision applies.

Note:          For specification by class, see subsection 46(2) of the Acts Interpretation Act 1901.

             (2)  To avoid doubt, if, as a result of a regulation made for the purposes of subsection (1), a regulatory provision applies to an action, the action is taken to be described in the provision.

             (3)  Regulations made for the purposes of subsection (1) may only specify actions:

                     (a)  taken in a Territory; or

                     (b)  taken in a Commonwealth marine area; or

                     (c)  taken for the purpose of trade or commerce:

                              (i)  between Australia and another country; or

                             (ii)  between 2 States; or

                            (iii)  between a State and a Territory; or

                            (iv)  between 2 Territories; or

                     (d)  taken by a constitutional corporation; or

                     (e)  whose regulation is appropriate and adapted to give effect to Australia’s obligations under an agreement with one or more other countries.

             (4)  Regulations specifying an action whose regulation is appropriate and adapted to give effect to Australia’s obligations under an agreement with one or more countries must specify the agreement.

             (5)  In this section:

regulatory provision means:

                     (a)  a civil penalty provision set out in this Division; or

                     (b)  a provision of this Division that creates an offence.

Subdivision HALimitation on liability for actions of third parties

25AA  Limitation on liability for actions of third parties

             (1)  A provision mentioned in subsection (2) or (3) does not apply to an action (the primary action) if:

                     (a)  a person (the primary person) takes the action; and

                     (b)  as a consequence of the primary action, another person (the secondary person) takes another action (the secondary action); and

                     (c)  the secondary action is not taken at the direction or request of the primary person; and

                     (d)  the significant impact referred to in the provision is a consequence of the secondary action.

Defence to offences

             (2)  For the purposes of subsection (1), the following provisions do not apply to the primary action:

                     (a)  subsections 15A(1) and (2);

                     (b)  subsections 15C(1) to (10);

                     (c)  subsections 17B(1) and (2);

                     (d)  subsections 18A(1) and (2);

                     (e)  subsections 20A(1) and (2);

                      (f)  subsections 22A(1) to (6);

                     (g)  subsections 24A(1) to (6).

Note:          The defendant bears an evidential burden in relation to the matters in this subsection. See subsection 13.3(3) of the Criminal Code.

Exception to civil penalties

             (3)  For the purposes of subsection (1), the following provisions do not apply to the primary action:

                     (a)  subsection 12(1);

                     (b)  subsections 15B(1) to (5) and (7);

                     (c)  subsection 16(1);

                     (d)  subsections 18(1) to (6);

                     (e)  subsection 20(1);

                      (f)  subsections 21(1) to (3);

                     (g)  subsections 23(1) to (3);

                     (h)  subsection 25(1).

Subdivision IEvidentiary certificates

25B  Evidentiary certificates

Contravention

             (1)  The Minister may issue a written certificate:

                     (a)  stating that a specified person has contravened, or is contravening, a specified civil penalty provision set out in this Division; and

                     (b)  setting out particulars of that contravention.

             (2)  The Minister may issue a certificate under subsection (1) relating to a particular contravention if the Minister has reason to believe that the person concerned has committed, or is committing, the contravention.

             (3)  To avoid doubt, a certificate under subsection (1) may be issued even if any relevant proceedings under section 475, 480A, 480K or 481 have been instituted.

Proposal

             (4)  The Minister may issue a written certificate stating that, if a specified person were to carry out a proposal to engage in specified conduct, that conduct would contravene a specified civil penalty provision set out in this Division.

             (5)  The Minister may issue a certificate under subsection (4) if the Minister has reason to believe that:

                     (a)  the person proposes to engage in the conduct concerned; and

                     (b)  the conduct would contravene the civil penalty provision concerned.

             (6)  To avoid doubt, a certificate under subsection (4) may be issued even if any relevant proceedings under section 475 have been instituted.

25C  Certificate to be given to person

                   As soon as practicable after issuing a certificate under subsection 25B(1) or (4), the Minister must give a copy of the certificate to the person concerned.

25D  Evidentiary effect of certificate

             (1)  In any proceedings under section 475, 480A, 480K or 481, a certificate under subsection 25B(1) is prima facie evidence of the matters in the certificate.

             (2)  In any proceedings under section 475, a certificate under subsection 25B(4) is prima facie evidence of the matters in the certificate.

             (3)  A document purporting to be a certificate under subsection 25B(1) or (4) must, unless the contrary is established, be taken to be such a certificate and to have been properly issued.

             (4)  The Minister may certify that a document is a copy of a certificate under subsection 25B(1) or (4).

             (5)  This section applies to the certified copy as if it were the original.

25E  Variation of certificate

             (1)  The Minister may vary a certificate under subsection 25B(1) or (4) so long as the variation is of a minor nature.

             (2)  If a certificate is varied, the Minister must give the person concerned a written notice setting out the terms of the variation.

25F  Revocation of certificate

             (1)  The Minister may revoke a certificate under subsection 25B(1) or (4).

             (2)  If a certificate is revoked, the Minister must give the person concerned a written notice stating that the certificate has been revoked.


 

Division 2Protection of the environment from proposals involving the Commonwealth

Subdivision AProtection of environment from actions involving Commonwealth land

26  Requirement for approval of activities involving Commonwealth land

Actions on Commonwealth land

             (1)  A person must not take on Commonwealth land an action that has, will have or is likely to have a significant impact on the environment.

Civil penalty:           

                     (a)  for an individual—1,000 penalty units;

                     (b)  for a body corporate—10,000 penalty units.

Actions outside Commonwealth land affecting that land

             (2)  A person must not take outside Commonwealth land an action that:

                     (a)  has or will have a significant impact on the environment on Commonwealth land; or

                     (b)  is likely to have a significant impact on the environment on Commonwealth land.

Civil penalty:           

                     (a)  for an individual—1,000 penalty units;

                     (b)  for a body corporate—10,000 penalty units.

Exceptions to prohibitions

             (3)  Subsection (1) or (2) does not apply to an action if:

                     (a)  an approval of the taking of the action by the person is in operation under Part 9 for the purposes of the subsection; or

                     (b)  Part 4 lets the person take the action without an approval under Part 9 for the purposes of the subsection; or

                     (d)  there is in force a decision of the Minister under Division 2 of Part 7 that the subsection is not a controlling provision for the action and, if the decision was made because the Minister believed the action would be taken in a manner specified in the notice of the decision under section 77, the action is taken in that manner; or

                     (e)  the action is an action described in subsection 160(2) (which describes actions whose authorisation is subject to a special environmental assessment process); or

                      (f)  the person taking the action is the Commonwealth or a Commonwealth agency.

Note 1:       This section protects (among other things) the Commonwealth Heritage values of a Commonwealth Heritage place on Commonwealth land, because the heritage values of a place are part of the environment. See the definition of environment in section 528.

Note 2:       Section 28 regulates actions by the Commonwealth or a Commonwealth agency with a significant impact on the environment.

27  What is Commonwealth land?

                   Commonwealth land is so much of a Commonwealth area as is not a Commonwealth marine area.

27A  Offences relating to Commonwealth land

             (1)  A person is guilty of an offence if:

                     (a)  the person takes an action; and

                     (b)  the action is taken on Commonwealth land; and

                     (c)  the action results or will result in a significant impact on the environment.

Note:          Chapter 2 of the Criminal Code sets out the general principles of criminal responsibility.

          (1A)  Strict liability applies to paragraph (1)(b).

Note:          For strict liability, see section 6.1 of the Criminal Code.

             (2)  A person is guilty of an offence if:

                     (a)  the person takes an action; and

                     (b)  the action is taken on Commonwealth land; and

                     (c)  the action is likely to have a significant impact on the environment.

Note:          Chapter 2 of the Criminal Code sets out the general principles of criminal responsibility.

          (2A)  Strict liability applies to paragraph (2)(b).

Note:          For strict liability, see section 6.1 of the Criminal Code.

             (3)  A person is guilty of an offence if:

                     (a)  the person takes an action; and

                     (b)  the action is taken outside Commonwealth land but in the Australian jurisdiction; and

                     (c)  the action results or will result in a significant impact on the environment in an area; and

                     (d)  the area is Commonwealth land.

Note:          Chapter 2 of the Criminal Code sets out the general principles of criminal responsibility.

          (3A)  Strict liability applies to paragraphs (3)(b) and (d).

Note:          For strict liability, see section 6.1 of the Criminal Code.

             (4)  A person is guilty of an offence if:

                     (a)  the person takes an action; and

                     (b)  the action is taken outside Commonwealth land but in the Australian jurisdiction; and

                     (c)  the action is likely to have a significant impact on the environment in an area; and

                     (d)  the area is Commonwealth land.

Note:          Chapter 2 of the Criminal Code sets out the general principles of criminal responsibility.

          (4A)  Strict liability applies to paragraphs (4)(b) and (d).

Note:          For strict liability, see section 6.1 of the Criminal Code.

             (5)  An offence against subsection (1), (2), (3) or (4) is punishable on conviction by imprisonment for a term not more than 2 years, a fine not more than 120 penalty units, or both.

Note 1:       Subsection 4B(3) of the Crimes Act 1914 lets a court fine a body corporate up to 5 times the maximum amount the court could fine a person under this subsection.

Note 2:       An executive officer of a body corporate convicted of an offence against this section may also be guilty of an offence against section 495.

Note 3:       If a person takes an action on land that contravenes this section, a landholder may be guilty of an offence against section 496C.

             (6)  Subsection (1), (2), (3) or (4) does not apply to an action if:

                     (a)  an approval of the taking of the action by the person is in operation under Part 9 for the purposes of the subsection; or

                     (b)  Part 4 lets the person take the action without an approval under Part 9 for the purposes of the subsection; or

                     (c)  there is in force a decision of the Minister under Division 2 of Part 7 that the subsection is not a controlling provision for the action and, if the decision was made because the Minister believed the action would be taken in a manner specified in the notice of the decision under section 77, the action is taken in that manner; or

                     (d)  the action is an action described in subsection 160(2) (which describes actions whose authorisation is subject to a special environmental assessment process); or

                     (e)  the person taking the action is a Commonwealth agency.

Note 1:       The defendant bears an evidential burden in relation to the matters in this subsection. See subsection 13.3(3) of the Criminal Code.

Note 2:       This section protects (among other things) the Commonwealth Heritage values of a Commonwealth Heritage place on Commonwealth land, because the heritage values of a place are part of the environment. See the definition of environment in section 528.

Note 3:       Section 28 regulates actions by the Commonwealth or a Commonwealth agency with a significant impact on the environment.

Subdivision AAProtection of Commonwealth Heritage places outside the Australian jurisdiction

27B  Requirement for approval of actions with significant impact on Commonwealth Heritage places overseas

             (1)  A person must not take outside the Australian jurisdiction an action that has, will have or is likely to have a significant impact on the environment in a Commonwealth Heritage place outside the Australian jurisdiction.

Civil Penalty:          

                     (a)  for an individual—1,000 penalty units;

                     (b)  for a body corporate—10,000 penalty units.

             (2)  Subsection (1) does not apply to an action if:

                     (a)  an approval of the taking of the action by the person is in operation under Part 9 for the purposes of this section; or

                     (b)  Part 4 lets the person take the action without an approval under Part 9 for the purposes of this section; or

                     (c)  there is in force a decision of the Minister under Division 2 of Part 7 that this section is not a controlling provision for the action and, if the decision was made because the Minister believed the action would be taken in a manner specified in the notice of the decision under section 77, the action is taken in that manner; or

                     (d)  the action is an action described in subsection 160(2) (which describes actions whose authorisation is subject to a special environmental assessment process).

Note:          Subdivision F of Division 1 and Subdivision A of this Division protect the environment in Commonwealth Heritage places inside the Australian jurisdiction because those places are in Commonwealth marine areas or on Commonwealth land.

27C  Offences relating to Commonwealth Heritage places overseas

             (1)  A person is guilty of an offence if:

                     (a)  the person takes an action; and

                     (b)  the action is taken outside the Australian jurisdiction; and

                     (c)  the action results or will result in a significant impact on the environment in a place; and

                    (ca)  the place is a Commonwealth Heritage place; and

                     (d)  the place is outside the Australian jurisdiction.

Note:          Chapter 2 of the Criminal Code sets out the general principles of criminal responsibility.

          (1A)  Strict liability applies to paragraph (1)(ca).

Note:          For strict liability, see section 6.1 of the Criminal Code.

             (2)  A person is guilty of an offence if:

                     (a)  the person takes an action; and

                     (b)  the action is taken outside the Australian jurisdiction; and

                     (c)  the action is likely to have a significant impact on the environment in a place; and

                     (d)  the place is a Commonwealth Heritage place; and

                     (e)  the place is outside the Australian jurisdiction.

Note:          Chapter 2 of the Criminal Code sets out the general principles of criminal responsibility.

          (2A)  Strict liability applies to paragraph (2)(d).

Note:          For strict liability, see section 6.1 of the Criminal Code.

             (3)  An offence against subsection (1) or (2) is punishable on conviction by imprisonment for a term not more than 2 years, a fine not more than 120 penalty units, or both.

Note 1:       Subsection 4B(3) of the Crimes Act 1914 lets a court fine a body corporate up to 5 times the maximum amount the court could fine a person under this subsection.

Note 2:       An executive officer of a body corporate convicted of an offence against this section may also be guilty of an offence against section 495.

             (4)  Section 14.1 (standard geographical jurisdiction) of the Criminal Code does not apply to an offence created by this section.

Note:          Section 5 affects the extra‑territorial operation of this section.

             (5)  Subsections (1) and (2) do not apply to an action if:

                     (a)  an approval of the taking of the action by the person is in operation under Part 9 for the purposes of this section; or

                     (b)  Part 4 lets the person take the action without an approval under Part 9 for the purposes of this section; or

                     (c)  there is in force a decision of the Minister under Division 2 of Part 7 that this section is not a controlling provision for the action and, if the decision was made because the Minister believed the action would be taken in a manner specified in the notice of the decision under section 77, the action is taken in that manner; or

                     (d)  the action is an action described in subsection 160(2) (which describes actions whose authorisation is subject to a special environmental assessment process).

Note:          The defendant bears an evidential burden in relation to the matters in this subsection. See subsection 13.3(3) of the Criminal Code.

Subdivision BProtection of the environment from Commonwealth actions

28  Requirement for approval of activities of Commonwealth agencies significantly affecting the environment

             (1)  The Commonwealth or a Commonwealth agency must not take inside or outside the Australian jurisdiction an action that has, will have or is likely to have a significant impact on the environment inside or outside the Australian jurisdiction.

Civil penalty:           

                     (a)  for a Commonwealth agency that is an individual—1,000 penalty units;

                     (b)  for a Commonwealth agency that is a body corporate—10,000 penalty units.

Note 1:       This section protects (among other things) the Commonwealth Heritage values of a Commonwealth Heritage place from an action taken by the Commonwealth or a Commonwealth agency, because the heritage values of a place are part of the environment. See the definition of environment in section 528.

Note 2:       This section does not apply to decisions to authorise activities. See Subdivision A of Division 1 of Part 23.

             (2)  Subsection (1) does not apply to an action if:

                     (a)  an approval of the taking of the action by the Commonwealth or Commonwealth agency is in operation under Part 9 for the purposes of this section; or

                     (b)  Part 4 lets the Commonwealth or Commonwealth agency take the action without an approval under Part 9 for the purposes of this section; or

                     (c)  the action is one declared by the Minister in writing to be an action to which this section does not apply; or

                     (d)  there is in force a decision of the Minister under Division 2 of Part 7 that this section is not a controlling provision for the action and, if the decision was made because the Minister believed the action would be taken in a manner specified in the notice of the decision under section 77, the action is taken in that manner; or

                     (e)  the action is an action described in subsection 160(2) (which describes actions whose authorisation is subject to a special environmental assessment process).

             (3)  The Minister may make a written declaration that actions are actions to which this section does not apply, but only if he or she is satisfied that it is necessary in the interests of:

                     (a)  Australia’s defence or security; or

                     (b)  preventing, mitigating or dealing with a national emergency.

             (4)  The Minister may make a written declaration that all actions, or a specified class of actions, taken by a specified Commonwealth agency are actions to which this section does not apply.

             (5)  The Minister may make a declaration under subsection (4) relating to a Commonwealth agency’s actions only if he or she is satisfied that:

                     (a)  in taking the actions to which the declaration relates, the agency must comply with the law of a State or Territory (including a law of a State that is applied to a Commonwealth place by virtue of the Commonwealth Places (Application of Laws) Act 1970), that has either or both of the following objects (whether express or implied):

                              (i)  to protect the environment;

                             (ii)  to promote the conservation and ecologically sustainable use of natural resources; and

                     (b)  the impacts that the actions have, will have or are likely to have on the environment, are adequately addressed under the State or Territory law.

Subdivision CActions that are taken to be covered by this Division

28AA  Actions that are taken to be covered by this Division

             (1)  The regulations may provide that a specified action is taken to be an action to which a specified regulatory provision applies.

Note:          For specification by class, see subsection 46(2) of the Acts Interpretation Act 1901.

             (2)  To avoid doubt, if, as a result of a regulation made for the purposes of subsection (1), a regulatory provision applies to an action, the action is taken to be described in the provision.

             (3)  In this section:

regulatory provision means:

                     (a)  a civil penalty provision set out in this Division; or

                     (b)  a provision of this Division that creates an offence.

Subdivision DLimitation on liability for actions of third parties

28AB  Limitation on liability for actions of third parties

             (1)  A provision mentioned in subsection (2) or (3) does not apply to an action (the primary action) if:

                     (a)  a person (the primary person) takes the action; and

                     (b)  as a consequence of the primary action, another person (the secondary person) takes another action (the secondary action); and

                     (c)  the secondary action is not taken at the direction or request of the primary person; and

                     (d)  the significant impact referred to in the provision is a consequence of the secondary action.

Defence to offences

             (2)  For the purposes of subsection (1), the following provisions do not apply to the primary action:

                     (a)  subsections 27A(1) to (4);

                     (b)  subsections 27C(1) and (2).

Note:          The defendant bears an evidential burden in relation to the matters in this subsection. See subsection 13.3(3) of the Criminal Code.

Exception to civil penalties

             (3)  For the purposes of subsection (1), the following provisions do not apply to the primary action:

                     (a)  subsections 26(1) and (2);

                     (b)  subsection 27B(1);

                     (c)  subsection 28(1).


 

Part 4Cases in which environmental approvals are not needed

Division 1Actions covered by bilateral agreements

29  Actions declared by agreement not to need approval

             (1)  A person may take an action described in a provision of Part 3 without an approval under Part 9 for the purposes of the provision if:

                     (a)  the action is taken in a State or self‑governing Territory; and

                     (b)  the action is one of a class of actions declared by a bilateral agreement between the Commonwealth and the State or Territory not to require approval under Part 9 for the purposes of the provision (because the action is approved in accordance with a management arrangement or authorisation process that is a bilaterally accredited management arrangement or a bilaterally accredited authorisation process for the purposes of the bilateral agreement); and

                     (c)  the provision of the bilateral agreement making the declaration is in operation in relation to the action; and

                     (d)  either of the following applies:

                              (i)  in the case of a bilaterally accredited management arrangement—the management arrangement is in force under a law of the State or Territory identified in or under the bilateral agreement;

                             (ii)  in the case of a bilaterally accredited authorisation process—the authorisation process is set out in a law of the State or Territory, and the law and the authorisation process are identified in or under the bilateral agreement; and

                     (e)  the action is taken in accordance with the bilaterally accredited management arrangement or bilaterally accredited authorisation process.

Note 1:       Section 46 deals with bilateral agreements making declarations described in paragraph (1)(b).

Note 2:       Division 3 of Part 5 explains how the operation of a bilateral agreement may be ended or suspended. Also, under section 49, bilateral agreements do not operate in relation to actions in Commonwealth areas, or actions taken by the Commonwealth or a Commonwealth agency, unless they expressly provide that they do.

             (2)  If the action is to be taken in 2 or more States or self‑governing Territories, this section does not operate unless it operates in relation to each of those States or Territories.

30  Extended operation in State and Northern Territory waters

             (1)  Section 29 applies to an action taken on, over or under the seabed vested in a State by section 4 of the Coastal Waters (State Title) Act 1980 in the same way that it applies to an action taken in the State.

             (2)  Section 29 applies to an action taken on, over or under the seabed vested in the Northern Territory by section 4 of the Coastal Waters (Northern Territory Title) Act 1980 in the same way that it applies to an action taken in the Territory.

             (3)  Section 29 applies to an action taken in a Commonwealth marine area to which a law of a State or self‑governing Territory is applied by a Commonwealth law or by an agreement or arrangement under a Commonwealth law (other than this Act) in the same way as it applies to an action in the State or Territory, if the provision of the bilateral agreement has effect in relation to the area.

Note:          A provision of a bilateral agreement only has effect in relation to a Commonwealth area if the agreement expressly provides that it does. See section 49.

31  Extended operation in non‑self‑governing Territories

                   A person may take an action described in a provision of Part 3 without an approval under Part 9 for the purposes of the provision if:

                     (a)  the action is taken in a Territory (the action Territory) that is not a self‑governing Territory; and

                     (b)  an Act providing for the government of the action Territory provides that some or all of the law of a State or self‑governing Territory is in force in the action Territory as a law of the Territory; and

                     (c)  the action is one of a class of actions declared by a bilateral agreement between the Commonwealth and the State or self‑governing Territory not to require approval under Part 9 for the purposes of the provision of Part 3 (because the action is approved or taken in accordance with a bilaterally accredited management arrangement or a bilaterally accredited authorisation process); and

                     (d)  the bilateral agreement specifies that the provision of the agreement making the declaration has effect in relation to actions in the action Territory; and

                     (e)  the provision of the bilateral agreement making the declaration is in operation in relation to the action; and

                      (f)  either of the following applies:

                              (i)  in the case of a bilaterally accredited management arrangement—the management arrangement is in force under a law of the State or self‑governing Territory identified in or under the bilateral agreement;

                             (ii)  in the case of a bilaterally accredited authorisation process—the authorisation process is set out in a law of the State or self‑governing Territory, and the law and the authorisation process are identified in or under the bilateral agreement; and

                     (g)  the action is taken in accordance with the bilaterally accredited management arrangement or bilaterally accredited authorisation process.

Note:          Division 3 of Part 5 explains how the operation of a bilateral agreement may be ended or suspended.


 

Division 2Actions covered by Ministerial declarations and accredited management arrangements or accredited authorisation processes

Subdivision AEffect of declarations

32  Actions declared by Minister not to need approval

                   A person may take an action described in a provision of Part 3 without an approval under Part 9 for the purposes of the provision if:

                     (a)  the action is one of a class of actions declared by the Minister under section 33 not to require approval under Part 9 for the purposes of the provision (because the action is approved in accordance with an accredited management arrangement or an accredited authorisation process for the purposes of the declaration); and

                     (b)  the declaration is in operation when the action is taken; and

                     (c)  one of the following applies:

                              (i)  in the case of an accredited management arrangement—the management arrangement is in operation under a law of the Commonwealth identified in or under the declaration;

                             (ii)  in the case of an accredited authorisation process—the authorisation process is set out in a law of the Commonwealth, and the law and the authorisation process are identified in or under the declaration; and

                     (d)  the action is taken in accordance with the accredited management arrangement or accredited authorisation process.

Subdivision BMaking declarations

33  Making declaration that actions do not need approval under Part 9

Declaration of actions not needing approval

             (1)  The Minister may declare in writing that actions in a class of actions specified in the declaration wholly or partly by reference to the fact that their taking has been approved by the Commonwealth or a specified Commonwealth agency, in accordance with a management arrangement or authorisation process that is an accredited management arrangement or an accredited authorisation process for the purposes of the declaration, do not require approval under Part 9 for the purposes of a specified provision of Part 3.

Note 1:       Subdivisions C and D set out rules about prerequisites for making a declaration and limits on making a declaration.

Note 2:       Section 35 provides for revocation of a declaration.

What is an accredited management arrangement?

             (2)  A management arrangement is an accredited management arrangement for the purposes of a declaration that certain actions do not require approval under Part 9 for the purposes of a specified provision of Part 3 if and only if:

                     (a)  the management arrangement is in operation under a law of the Commonwealth identified in or under the declaration; and

                     (b)  the management arrangement has been accredited in writing by the Minister in accordance with this section for the purposes of the declaration.

What is an accredited authorisation process?

          (2A)  An authorisation process is an accredited authorisation process for the purposes of a declaration that certain actions do not require approval under Part 9 for the purposes of a specified provision of Part 3 if and only if:

                     (a)  the authorisation process is set out in a law of the Commonwealth, and the law and the authorisation process are identified in or under the declaration; and

                     (b)  the authorisation process has been accredited in writing by the Minister in accordance with this section for the purposes of the declaration.

Accrediting management arrangement or authorisation process

             (3)  For the purposes of subsection (2) or (2A), the Minister may accredit by written instrument a management arrangement or authorisation process for the purposes of a declaration. However, the Minister may do so only if the Minister is satisfied that:

                     (a)  the management arrangement or authorisation process and the law under which it is in operation, or in which it is set out, meet the criteria prescribed by the regulations; and

                     (b)  there has been or will be adequate assessment of the impacts that actions approved in accordance with the management arrangement or authorisation process:

                              (i)  have or will have; or

                             (ii)  are likely to have;

                            on each matter protected by a provision of Part 3 to which the declaration relates; and

                     (c)  actions approved or taken in accordance with the management arrangement or authorisation process will not have unacceptable or unsustainable impacts on a matter protected by a provision of Part 3 to which the declaration relates.

The Minister must publish in accordance with the regulations (if any) the instrument accrediting the management arrangement or authorisation process.

Note:          Subdivision C sets out more prerequisites for accrediting a management arrangement or authorisation process.

Tabling of management arrangement or authorisation process before accreditation

             (4)  The Minister must cause to be laid before each House of the Parliament:

                     (a)  a copy of:

                              (i)  in the case of a management arrangement—the management arrangement; or

                             (ii)  in the case of an authorisation process—the relevant part of the law in which the authorisation process is set out;

                            that the Minister is considering accrediting for the purposes of subsection (2) or (2A); and

                     (b)  a notice that the Minister proposes to accredit the management arrangement or authorisation process for the purposes of a declaration under this section.

Limitations on accreditation during period for opposition

             (5)  The Minister must not accredit a management arrangement or authorisation process for the purposes of subsection (2) or (2A) under a bilateral agreement:

                     (a)  before, or within 15 sitting days after, a copy of the management arrangement or authorisation process is laid before each House of the Parliament under this section; or

                     (b)  if, within those 15 sitting days of a House, notice of a motion to oppose accreditation of the management arrangement or authorisation process is given in that House—subject to subsection (5A), within 15 sitting days of that House after the notice is given.

          (5A)  If:

                     (a)  notice of a motion to oppose accreditation of the management arrangement or authorisation process is given in a House of the Parliament within 15 sitting days after the management arrangement or authorisation process is laid before the House under this section; and

                     (b)  the notice is withdrawn or otherwise disposed of within 15 sitting days of that House after the notice is given;

then, subject to paragraph (5)(a), the Minister may accredit the management arrangement or authorisation process after the motion is withdrawn or otherwise disposed of.

No accreditation after accreditation opposed

             (6)  The Minister must not accredit the management arrangement or authorisation process if either House of the Parliament passes a resolution opposing accreditation of the management arrangement or authorisation process following a motion of which notice has been given within 15 sitting days after the management arrangement or relevant part of the law has been laid before the House under this section.

No accreditation if motion not defeated in time

             (7)  The Minister must not accredit the management arrangement or authorisation process if, at the end of 15 sitting days after notice of a motion to oppose accreditation of the management arrangement or authorisation process that was given in a House of the Parliament within 15 sitting days after the management arrangement or relevant part of the law was laid before the House under this section:

                     (a)  the notice has not been withdrawn and the motion has not been called on; or

                     (b)  the motion has been called on, moved and seconded and has not been withdrawn or otherwise disposed of.

Extended time after dissolution or prorogation

             (8)  If:

                     (a)  notice of a motion to oppose the accreditation of the management arrangement or authorisation process is given in a House of the Parliament (the opposing House); and

                     (b)  before the end of 15 sitting days of the opposing House after the notice is given:

                              (i)  the House of Representatives is dissolved or expires; or

                             (ii)  the Parliament is prorogued; and

                     (c)  at the time of the dissolution, expiry or prorogation (as appropriate):

                              (i)  the notice has not been withdrawn and the motion has not been called on; or

                             (ii)  the motion has been called on, moved and seconded and has not been withdrawn or otherwise disposed of;

the management arrangement or relevant part of the law is taken for the purposes of subsections (5), (5A), (6) and (7) to have been laid before the opposing House on the first sitting day of that House after the dissolution, expiry or prorogation (as appropriate).

34  What is matter protected by a provision of Part 3?

                   The matter protected by a provision of Part 3 specified in column 2 of an item of the following table is the thing specified in column 3 of the item.

 

Matter protected by provisions of Part 3

Item

Provision

Matter protected

1

section 12

the world heritage values of a declared World Heritage property

1A

section 15A

the world heritage values of a declared World Heritage property

1B

section 15B

the National Heritage values of a National Heritage place

1C

section 15C

the National Heritage values of a National Heritage place

2               

section 16

the ecological character of a declared Ramsar wetland

2A               

section 17B

the ecological character of a declared Ramsar wetland

3

subsection 18(1)

a listed threatened species in the extinct in the wild category

4

subsection 18(2)

a listed threatened species in the critically endangered category

5

subsection 18(3)

a listed threatened species in the endangered category

6

subsection 18(4)

a listed threatened species in the vulnerable category

7

subsection 18(5)

a listed threatened ecological community in the critically endangered category

8

subsection 18(6)

a listed threatened ecological community in the endangered category

8A

subsection 18A(1) or (2)

a listed threatened species (except a species included in the extinct category of the list referred to in section 178 or a conservation dependent species) and a listed threatened ecological community (except an ecological community included in the vulnerable category of the list referred to in section 181)

9

section 20

a listed migratory species

9A

section 20A

a listed migratory species

10

section 21

the environment

10A

section 22A

the environment

11

subsection 23(1)

the environment

12

subsection 23(2)

the environment in a Commonwealth marine area

13

subsection 23(3)

the environment in the coastal waters (as defined in the Fisheries Management Act 1991) in which the action is taken of the State or Territory

13A

subsection 24A(1) or (2)

the environment

13B

subsection 24A(3) or (4)

the environment in a Commonwealth marine area

13C

subsection 24A(5) or (6)

the environment in the coastal waters (as defined in the Fisheries Management Act 1991) in which the action is taken of the State or Territory

14

section 25

a thing prescribed by the regulations for the purposes of this item in relation to an action to which section 25 applies

15

subsection 26(1)

the environment

16

subsection 26(2)

the environment on Commonwealth land

16A

subsection 27A(1) or (2)

the environment

16B

subsection 27A(3) or (4)

the environment on Commonwealth land

16C

section 27B

the environment in a Commonwealth Heritage place outside the Australian jurisdiction

16D

subsections 27C(1) and (2)

the environment in a Commonwealth Heritage place outside the Australian jurisdiction

17

section 28

the environment

Subdivision CPrerequisites for making declarations

34A  Minister may only make declaration if prescribed criteria are met

                   The Minister may make a declaration under section 33 only if the Minister is satisfied that the declaration:

                     (a)  accords with the objects of this Act; and

                     (b)  meets the requirements (if any) prescribed by the regulations.

34B  Declarations relating to declared World Heritage properties

             (1)  The Minister may make a declaration under section 33 relating to a declared World Heritage property only if:

                     (a)  the Minister is satisfied that the declaration is not inconsistent with Australia’s obligations under the World Heritage Convention; and

                     (b)  the Minister is satisfied that the declaration will promote the management of the property in accordance with the Australian World Heritage management principles; and

                     (c)  the declaration meets the requirements (if any) prescribed by the regulations.

             (2)  The Minister may accredit a management arrangement or authorisation process under section 33 for the purposes of a declaration relating to a declared World Heritage property only if:

                     (a)  the Minister is satisfied that the management arrangement or authorisation process is not inconsistent with Australia’s obligations under the World Heritage Convention; and

                     (b)  the Minister is satisfied that the management arrangement or authorisation process will promote the management of the property in accordance with the Australian World Heritage management principles.

34BA  Declarations relating to National Heritage places

             (1)  The Minister may make a declaration under section 33 relating to a National Heritage place only if:

                     (a)  the Minister is satisfied that the declaration will promote the management of the place in accordance with the National Heritage management principles; and

                     (b)  the declaration meets the requirements (if any) prescribed by the regulations.

             (2)  The Minister may accredit a management arrangement or authorisation process under section 33 for the purposes of such a declaration only if he or she is satisfied that the management arrangement or authorisation process will promote the management of the place concerned in accordance with the National Heritage management principles.

34C  Declarations relating to declared Ramsar wetlands

             (1)  The Minister may make a declaration under section 33 relating to a declared Ramsar wetland only if:

                     (a)  the Minister is satisfied that the declaration is not inconsistent with Australia’s obligations under the Ramsar Convention; and

                     (b)  the Minister is satisfied that the declaration will promote the management of the wetland in accordance with the Australian Ramsar management principles; and

                     (c)  the declaration meets the requirements (if any) prescribed by the regulations.

             (2)  The Minister may accredit a management arrangement or authorisation process under section 33 for the purposes of a declaration relating to a declared Ramsar wetland only if:

                     (a)  the Minister is satisfied that the management arrangement or authorisation process is not inconsistent with Australia’s obligations under the Ramsar Convention; and

                     (b)  the Minister is satisfied that the management arrangement or authorisation process will promote the management of the wetland in accordance with the Australian Ramsar management principles.

34D  Declarations relating to listed threatened species and ecological communities

             (1)  The Minister may make a declaration under section 33 relating to a listed threatened species or a listed threatened ecological community only if:

                     (a)  the Minister is satisfied that the declaration is not inconsistent with Australia’s obligations under:

                              (i)  the Biodiversity Convention; or

                             (ii)  the Apia Convention; or

                            (iii)  CITES; and

                     (b)  the Minister is satisfied that the declaration will promote the survival and/or enhance the conservation status of each species or community to which the declaration relates; and

                     (c)  the Minister is satisfied that the declaration is not inconsistent with any recovery plan for the species or community or a threat abatement plan; and

                    (ca)  the Minister has had regard to any approved conservation advice for the species or community; and

                     (d)  the declaration meets the requirements (if any) prescribed by the regulations.

             (2)  The Minister may accredit a management arrangement or authorisation process under section 33 for the purposes of a declaration relating to a listed threatened species or a listed threatened ecological community only if:

                     (a)  the Minister is satisfied that the management arrangement or authorisation process is not inconsistent with Australia’s obligations under:

                              (i)  the Biodiversity Convention; or

                             (ii)  the Apia Convention; or

                            (iii)  CITES; and

                     (b)  the Minister is satisfied that the management arrangement or authorisation process will promote the survival and/or enhance the conservation status of each species or community to which the declaration relates; and

                     (c)  the Minister is satisfied that the management arrangement or authorisation process is not inconsistent with any recovery plan for the species or community or a threat abatement plan; and

                     (d)  the Minister has had regard to any approved conservation advice for the species or community.

34E  Declarations relating to migratory species

             (1)  The Minister may make a declaration under section 33 relating to a listed migratory species only if:

                     (a)  the Minister is satisfied that the declaration is not inconsistent with the Commonwealth’s obligations under whichever of the following conventions or agreements because of which the species is listed:

                              (i)  the Bonn Convention;

                             (ii)  CAMBA;

                            (iii)  JAMBA;

                            (iv)  an international agreement approved under subsection 209(4); and

                     (b)  the Minister is satisfied that the declaration will promote the survival and/or enhance the conservation status of each species to which the declaration relates; and

                     (c)  the declaration meets the requirements (if any) prescribed by the regulations.

             (2)  The Minister may accredit a management arrangement or authorisation process under section 33 for the purposes of a declaration relating to a listed migratory species only if:

                     (a)  the Minister is satisfied that the management arrangement or authorisation process is not inconsistent with the Commonwealth’s obligations under whichever of the following conventions or agreements because of which the species is listed:

                              (i)  the Bonn Convention;

                             (ii)  CAMBA;

                            (iii)  JAMBA;

                            (iv)  an international agreement approved under subsection 209(4); and

                     (b)  the Minister is satisfied that the management arrangement or authorisation process will promote the survival and/or enhance the conservation status of each species to which the declaration relates.

34F  Declarations relating to Commonwealth Heritage places

             (1)  The Minister may make a declaration under section 33 relating to a Commonwealth Heritage place only if:

                     (a)  the Minister is satisfied that the declaration will promote the management of the place in accordance with the Commonwealth Heritage management principles; and

                     (b)  the declaration meets the requirements (if any) prescribed by the regulations.

             (2)  The Minister may accredit a management arrangement or authorisation process under section 33 for the purposes of such a declaration only if he or she is satisfied that the management arrangement or authorisation process will promote the management of the place concerned in accordance with the Commonwealth Heritage management principles.

Subdivision DOther rules about declarations

35  Revoking declarations

Revoking declarations

             (1)  The Minister may, by written instrument, revoke a declaration made under section 33.

Revocation does not affect some actions

             (2)  If:

                     (a)  a declaration made under section 33 is revoked; and

                     (b)  before the revocation, an action was being taken that could be taken without approval under Part 9 because its taking was covered by the declaration; and

                     (c)  the action had not been completed before the revocation;

this Act continues to operate in relation to the action as if the declaration had not been revoked.

36  Other rules about declarations

Minister must not give preference

             (1)  In making a declaration or accrediting a management arrangement or authorisation process under section 33, or revoking a declaration under section 35, relating to an action taken:

                     (a)  by a person for the purposes of trade between Australia and another country or between 2 States; or

                     (b)  by a constitutional corporation;

the Minister must not give preference (within the meaning of section 99 of the Constitution) to one State or part of a State over another State or part of a State.

Publishing declarations

             (2)  The Minister must publish a declaration made under section 33, an instrument accrediting a management arrangement or authorisation process under section 33, or an instrument under section 35 revoking a declaration, in accordance with the regulations.

36A  Minor amendments of accredited management arrangement or accredited authorisation process

             (1)  If:

                     (a)  a management arrangement or an authorisation process is an accredited management arrangement or an accredited authorisation process; and

                     (b)  the management arrangement or authorisation process is amended, or is proposed to be amended; and

                     (c)  the Minister is satisfied that the amendments are, or will be, minor; and

                     (d)  the Minister is satisfied that the management arrangement or authorisation process as amended meets, or will meet, the requirements of:

                              (i)  paragraphs 33(3)(a), (b) and (c); and

                             (ii)  section 34A; and

                            (iii)  subsection 34B(2), 34BA(2), 34C(2), 34D(2), 34E(2) or 34F(2) (as the case requires);

the Minister may, by instrument in writing, determine that this section applies to the amendments.

             (2)  If the Minister makes a determination under subsection (1):

                     (a)  the management arrangement or authorisation process as amended is, for the purposes of this Act, taken to be an accredited management arrangement or accredited authorisation process; and

                     (b)  subsections 33(1) to (8) do not apply in relation to the amendments to the management arrangement or authorisation process, or the management arrangement or authorisation process as amended; and

                     (c)  actions taken after the determination is made in accordance with the accredited management arrangement or accredited authorisation process as amended do not require approval under Part 9 for the purposes of a specified provision of Part 3.

             (3)  The Minister must publish a determination under subsection (1) in accordance with the regulations (if any).

             (4)  A determination under subsection (1) is not a legislative instrument.


 

Division 3Actions covered by Ministerial declarations and bioregional plans

Subdivision AEffect of declarations

37  Actions declared by Minister not to need approval

                   A person may take an action described in a provision of Part 3 without an approval under Part 9 for the purposes of the provision if:

                     (a)  the action is an action, or one of a class of actions, declared by the Minister under section 37A not to require approval under Part 9 for the purposes of the provision (because the taking of the action is in accordance with a particular bioregional plan); and

                     (b)  the declaration is in operation when the action is taken; and

                     (c)  the action is taken:

                              (i)  in the bioregion to which the plan applies; and

                             (ii)  in accordance with the plan.

Note:          Division 2 of Part 12 deals with bioregional plans.

Subdivision BMaking declarations

37A  Making declarations that actions do not need approval under Part 9

                   Subject to Subdivisions C and D, the Minister may, by legislative instrument, declare that an action or class of actions specified in the declaration, wholly or partly by reference to the fact that the taking of the action or class of actions is in accordance with a bioregional plan, do not require approval under Part 9 for the purposes of a specified provision of Part 3.

Note 1:       Subdivisions C and D set out rules about prerequisites for making a declaration and limits on making a declaration.

Note 2:       Section 37K provides for revocation of a declaration.

Subdivision CPrerequisites for making declarations

37B  General considerations

             (1)  In deciding whether to make a declaration under section 37A, the Minister must consider the following, so far as they are not inconsistent with any other requirements of this Subdivision:

                     (a)  matters relevant to any matter protected by a provision of Part 3 that the Minister considers is relevant to the action or class of actions to which the declaration relates;

                     (b)  economic and social matters.

             (2)  In considering those matters, the Minister must take into account the principles of ecologically sustainable development.

             (3)  The Minister must not make a declaration under section 37A in relation to an action or class of actions and a provision of Part 3 if the Minister considers that the action, or an action in the class, if taken, would have unacceptable or unsustainable impacts on a matter protected by the provision.

37C  Minister may make declaration only if prescribed criteria are met

                   The Minister may make a declaration under section 37A only if the Minister is satisfied that the declaration:

                     (a)  accords with the objects of this Act; and

                     (b)  meets the requirements (if any) prescribed by the regulations.

37D  Declarations relating to declared World Heritage properties

                   The Minister may make a declaration under section 37A relating to a declared World Heritage property only if:

                     (a)  the Minister is satisfied that the declaration is not inconsistent with Australia’s obligations under the World Heritage Convention; and

                     (b)  the Minister is satisfied that the declaration will promote the management of the property in accordance with the Australian World Heritage management principles; and

                     (c)  the Minister is satisfied that the declaration is not inconsistent with a plan that has been prepared for the management of the declared World Heritage property under section 316 or as described in section 321.

37E  Declarations relating to National Heritage places

                   The Minister may make a declaration under section 37A relating to a National Heritage place only if:

                     (a)  the Minister is satisfied that the declaration will promote the management of the place in accordance with the National Heritage management principles; and

                     (b)  the Minister is satisfied that the declaration is not inconsistent with:

                              (i)  an agreement to which the Commonwealth is a party in relation to the National Heritage place; or

                             (ii)  a plan that has been prepared for the management of the National Heritage place under section 324S or as described in section 324X.

37F  Declarations relating to declared Ramsar wetlands

                   The Minister may make a declaration under section 37A relating to a declared Ramsar wetland only if:

                     (a)  the Minister is satisfied that the declaration is not inconsistent with Australia’s obligations under the Ramsar Convention; and

                     (b)  the Minister is satisfied that the declaration will promote the management of the wetland in accordance with the Australian Ramsar management principles.

37G  Declarations relating to listed threatened species and ecological communities

                   The Minister may make a declaration under section 37A relating to a listed threatened species or a listed threatened ecological community only if:

                     (a)  the Minister is satisfied that the declaration is not inconsistent with Australia’s obligations under:

                              (i)  the Biodiversity Convention; or

                             (ii)  the Apia Convention; or

                            (iii)  CITES; and

                     (b)  the Minister is satisfied that the declaration will promote the survival and/or enhance the conservation status of each species or community to which the declaration relates; and

                     (c)  the Minister is satisfied that the declaration is not inconsistent with any recovery plan for the species or community or a threat abatement plan; and

                     (d)  the Minister has had regard to any approved conservation advice for the species or community.

37H  Declarations relating to listed migratory species

                   The Minister may make a declaration under section 37A relating to a listed migratory species only if:

                     (a)  the Minister is satisfied that the declaration is not inconsistent with whichever of the following conventions or agreements because of which the species is listed:

                              (i)  the Bonn Convention;

                             (ii)  CAMBA;

                            (iii)  JAMBA;

                            (iv)  an international agreement approved under subsection 209(4); and

                     (b)  the Minister is satisfied that the declaration will promote the survival and/or enhance the conservation status of each species to which the declaration relates.

37J  No declarations relating to nuclear actions

                   The Minister must not make a declaration relating to an action consisting of, or involving the construction or operation of, any of the following nuclear installations:

                     (a)  a nuclear fuel fabrication plant;

                     (b)  a nuclear power plant;

                     (c)  an enrichment plant;

                     (d)  a reprocessing facility.

Subdivision DOther rules about declarations

37K  Revoking declarations

Revoking declarations

             (1)  The Minister may, by legislative instrument, revoke a declaration made under section 37A.

Revocation does not affect some actions

             (2)  If:

                     (a)  a declaration made under section 37A is revoked; and

                     (b)  before the revocation, an action was being taken that could be taken without approval under Part 9 because its taking was covered by the declaration; and

                     (c)  the action had not been completed before the revocation;

this Act continues to operate in relation to the action as if the declaration had not been revoked.

37L  Other rules about declarations

Minister must not give preference

             (1)  In making a declaration under section 37A, or revoking a declaration under section 37K, relating to an action taken:

                     (a)  by a person for the purposes of trade or commerce between Australia and another country or between 2 States; or

                     (b)  by a constitutional corporation;

the Minister must not give preference (within the meaning of section 99 of the Constitution) to one State or part of a State over another State or part of a State.

Publishing declarations

             (2)  Within 10 business days after the Minister makes a declaration under section 37A, or an instrument under section 37K revoking a declaration, the Minister must publish the declaration or instrument in accordance with the regulations.

Division 3AActions covered by conservation agreements

37M  Actions declared by conservation agreement not to need approval

                   A person may take an action described in a provision of Part 3 without an approval under Part 9 for the purposes of the provision if:

                     (a)  the action is included in a class of actions declared in a conservation agreement, in accordance with section 306A, not to require approval under Part 9 for the purposes of the provision; and

                     (b)  the conservation agreement is in operation when the action is taken; and

                     (c)  the action is taken in accordance with the conditions (if any) specified in the declaration.


 

Division 4Forestry operations in certain regions

Subdivision ARegions covered by regional forest agreements

38  Part 3 not to apply to certain RFA forestry operations

             (1)  Part 3 does not apply to an RFA forestry operation that is undertaken in accordance with an RFA.

             (2)  In this Division:

RFA or regional forest agreement has the same meaning as in the Regional Forest Agreements Act 2002.

RFA forestry operation has the same meaning as in the Regional Forest Agreements Act 2002.

Note:          This section does not apply to some RFA forestry operations. See section 42.

Subdivision BRegions subject to a process of negotiating a regional forest agreement

39  Object of this Subdivision

                   The purpose of this Subdivision is to ensure that an approval under Part 9 is not required for forestry operations in a region for which a process (involving the conduct of a comprehensive regional assessment, assessment under the Environment Protection (Impact of Proposals) Act 1974 and protection of the environment through agreements between the Commonwealth and the relevant State and conditions on licences for the export of wood chips) of developing and negotiating a regional forest agreement is being, or has been, carried on.

40  Forestry operations in regions not yet covered by regional forest agreements

             (1)  A person may undertake forestry operations in an RFA region in a State or Territory without approval under Part 9 for the purposes of a provision of Part 3 if there is not a regional forest agreement in force for any of the region.

Note 1:       This section does not apply to some forestry operations. See section 42.

Note 2:       The process of making a regional forest agreement is subject to assessment under the Environment Protection (Impact of Proposals) Act 1974, as continued by the Environmental Reform (Consequential Provisions) Act 1999.

             (2)  In this Division:

forestry operations means any of the following done for commercial purposes:

                     (a)  the planting of trees;

                     (b)  the managing of trees before they are harvested;

                     (c)  the harvesting of forest products;

and includes any related land clearing, land preparation and regeneration (including burning) and transport operations. For the purposes of paragraph (c), forest products means live or dead trees, ferns or shrubs, or parts thereof.

RFA region has the meaning given by section 41.

             (3)  Subsection (1) does not operate in relation to an RFA region that is the subject of a declaration in force under this section.

             (4)  The Minister may declare in writing that subsection (1) does not apply to an RFA region.

             (5)  A declaration is a disallowable instrument for the purposes of section 46A of the Acts Interpretation Act 1901.

             (6)  The Minister must not make a declaration that has the effect of giving preference (within the meaning of section 99 of the Constitution) to one State or part of a State over another State or part of a State, in relation to the taking of the action:

                     (a)  by a person for the purposes of trade or commerce between Australia and another country or between 2 States; or

                     (b)  by a constitutional corporation.

41  What is an RFA region?

Regions that are RFA regions

             (1)  Each of the following is an RFA region:

                     (a)  the area delineated as the Eden RFA Region on the map of that New South Wales Region dated 13 May 1999 and published by the Bureau of Resource Sciences;

                     (b)  the area delineated as the Lower North East RFA Region on the map of that New South Wales Region dated 13 May 1999 and published by the Bureau of Resource Sciences;

                     (c)  the area delineated as the Upper North East RFA Region on the map of that New South Wales Region dated 13 May 1999 and published by the Bureau of Resource Sciences;

                     (d)  the area delineated as the South Region on the map of the Comprehensive Regional Assessment South CRA Region dated August 1997 and published by the State Forests GIS Branch of the organisation known as State Forests of New South Wales;

                     (e)  the area delineated as the Gippsland Region in the map of that Region dated 11 March 1998 and published by the Forest Information Section of the Department of Natural Resources and Environment of Victoria;

                      (f)  the area delineated as the North East RFA Region in the map of that Region dated 11 March 1998 and published by the Forest Information Section of the Department of Natural Resources and Environment of Victoria;

                     (g)  the area delineated as the West Region in the map of that Region dated 3 March 1999 and published by the Forest Information Section of the Department of Natural Resources and Environment of Victoria;

                     (h)  the area delineated as the South East Queensland RFA Region on the map of that Region dated 21 August 1998 and published by the Bureau of Resource Sciences.

Regulations may amend list of regions

             (2)  The regulations may amend subsection (1).

Prerequisites for prescribing RFA regions

             (3)  Before the Governor‑General makes regulations amending subsection (1), the Minister must be satisfied that the proposed regulations, in conjunction with this Subdivision, will not give preference (within the meaning of section 99 of the Constitution) to one State or part of a State over another State or part of a State.

Subdivision CLimits on application

42  This Division does not apply to some forestry operations

                   Subdivisions A and B of this Division, and subsection 6(4) of the Regional Forest Agreements Act 2002, do not apply to RFA forestry operations, or to forestry operations, that are:

                     (a)  in a property included in the World Heritage List; or

                     (b)  in a wetland included in the List of Wetlands of International Importance kept under the Ramsar Convention; or

                     (c)  incidental to another action whose primary purpose does not relate to forestry.


 

Division 5Actions in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park

43  Actions taken in accordance with permission

                   A person may take an action described in a provision of Part 3 without an approval under Part 9 for the purposes of the provision if:

                     (a)  the action is taken in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park established by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Act 1975; and

                     (b)  the person is authorised to take the action in the place where he or she takes it, by any of the following instruments made or issued under that Act (including instruments made or issued under an instrument (including regulations) made or issued under that Act):

                              (i)  a zoning plan;

                             (ii)  a plan of management;

                            (iii)  a permission;

                            (iv)  an authority;

                             (v)  an approval;

                            (vi)  a permit.


 

Division 6Actions with prior authorisation

43A  Actions with prior authorisation

             (1)  A person may take an action described in a provision of Part 3 without an approval under Part 9 for the purposes of the provision if:

                     (a)  the action consists of a use of land, sea or seabed; and

                     (b)  before the commencement of this Act, the action was authorised by a specific environmental authorisation; and

                     (c)  immediately before the commencement of this Act, no further specific environmental authorisation was necessary to allow the action to be taken lawfully; and

                     (d)  at the time the action is taken, the specific environmental authorisation continues to be in force.

          (1A)  For the purposes of paragraphs (1)(c) and (d), a renewal or extension of a specific environmental authorisation is taken to be a new specific environmental authorisation unless:

                     (a)  the action that is authorised by the authorisation following the renewal or extension is the same as the action that was authorised by the authorisation before the commencement of this Act; and

                     (b)  the renewal or extension could properly be made or given without any further consideration of the environmental impacts of the action.

Note:          If a renewal or extension of a specific environmental authorisation is taken to be a new specific environmental authorisation, the condition in paragraph (1)(c) or (d) would not be met.

             (2)  In this Act:

environmental authorisation means an authorisation under a law of the Commonwealth, a State or a self‑governing Territory that has either or both of the following objects (whether express or implied):

                     (a)  to protect the environment;

                     (b)  to promote the conservation and ecologically sustainable use of natural resources.

specific environmental authorisation means an environmental authorisation that:

                     (a)  identifies the particular action by reference to acts and matters uniquely associated with that action; or

                     (b)  was issued or granted following a consideration of the particular action by reference to acts and matters uniquely associated with that action.

43B  Actions which are lawful continuations of use of land etc.

             (1)  A person may take an action described in a provision of Part 3 without an approval under Part 9 for the purposes of the provision if the action is a lawful continuation of a use of land, sea or seabed that was occurring immediately before the commencement of this Act.

             (2)  However, subsection (1) does not apply to an action if:

                     (a)  before the commencement of this Act, the action was authorised by a specific environmental authorisation; and

                     (b)  at the time the action is taken, the specific environmental authorisation continues to be in force.

Note:          In that case, section 43A applies instead.

             (3)  For the purposes of this section, neither of the following is a continuation of a use of land, sea or seabed:

                     (a)  an enlargement, expansion or intensification of use;

                     (b)  either:

                              (i)  any change in the location of where the use of the land, sea or seabed is occurring; or

                             (ii)  any change in the nature of the activities comprising the use;

                            that results in a substantial increase in the impact of the use on the land, sea or seabed.


 

Chapter 3Bilateral agreements

Part 5Bilateral agreements

Division 1Object of Part

44  Object of this Part

                   The object of this Part is to provide for agreements between the Commonwealth and a State or self‑governing Territory that:

                     (a)  protect the environment; and

                     (b)  promote the conservation and ecologically sustainable use of natural resources; and

                     (c)  ensure an efficient, timely and effective process for environmental assessment and approval of actions; and

                     (d)  minimise duplication in the environmental assessment and approval process through Commonwealth accreditation of the processes of the State or Territory (and vice versa).


 

Division 2Making bilateral agreements

Subdivision APower to make bilateral agreements

45  Minister may make agreement

Making bilateral agreement

             (1)  On behalf of the Commonwealth, the Minister may enter into a bilateral agreement.

Note 1:       A bilateral agreement can detail the level of Commonwealth accreditation of State practices, procedures, processes, systems, management plans and other approaches to environmental protection.

Note 2:       Subdivision B sets out some prerequisites for entering into bilateral agreements.

What is a bilateral agreement?

             (2)  A bilateral agreement is a written agreement between the Commonwealth and a State or a self‑governing Territory that:

                     (a)  provides for one or more of the following:

                              (i)  protecting the environment;

                             (ii)  promoting the conservation and ecologically sustainable use of natural resources;

                            (iii)  ensuring an efficient, timely and effective process for environmental assessment and approval of actions;

                            (iv)  minimising duplication in the environmental assessment and approval process through Commonwealth accreditation of the processes of the State or Territory (or vice versa); and

                     (b)  is expressed to be a bilateral agreement.

Publishing notice of intention to enter into agreement

             (3)  As soon as practicable after starting the process of developing a draft bilateral agreement with a State or self‑governing Territory, the Minister must publish, in accordance with the regulations (if any), notice of his or her intention to develop a draft bilateral agreement with the State or Territory.

Publishing bilateral agreements and related material

             (4)  As soon as practicable after entering into a bilateral agreement, the Minister must publish in accordance with the regulations:

                     (a)  the agreement; and

                     (b)  a statement of the Minister’s reasons for entering into the agreement; and

                     (c)  a report on the comments (if any) received on the draft of the agreement published under Subdivision B.

46  Agreement may declare actions do not need approval under Part 9

Declaration of actions not needing approval

             (1)  A bilateral agreement may declare that actions in a class of actions specified in the agreement wholly or partly by reference to the fact that their taking has been approved by:

                     (a)  the State or self‑governing Territory that is party to the agreement; or

                     (b)  an agency of the State or Territory;

in accordance with a management arrangement or authorisation process that is a bilaterally accredited management arrangement or a bilaterally accredited authorisation process for the purposes of the agreement do not require approval under Part 9 for the purposes of a specified provision of Part 3.

What is a bilaterally accredited management arrangement?

             (2)  A management arrangement is a bilaterally accredited management arrangement for the purposes of a bilateral agreement declaring that certain actions do not require approval under Part 9 for the purposes of a specified provision of Part 3 if and only if:

                     (a)  the management arrangement is in force under a law of the State or Territory that is a party to the agreement and the law is identified in or under the agreement; and

                     (b)  the management arrangement has been accredited in writing by the Minister in accordance with this section for the purposes of the agreement.

What is a bilaterally accredited authorisation process?

          (2A)  An authorisation process is a bilaterally accredited authorisation process for the purposes of a bilateral agreement declaring that certain actions do not require approval under Part 9 for the purposes of a specified provision of Part 3 if and only if:

                     (a)  the authorisation process is set out in a law of the State or Territory that is a party to the agreement, and the law and the process are identified in or under the agreement; and

                     (b)  the authorisation process has been accredited in writing by the Minister in accordance with this section for the purposes of the agreement.

Accrediting management arrangement or authorisation process

             (3)  For the purposes of subsection (2) or (2A), the Minister may accredit in writing a management arrangement or an authorisation process for the purposes of a bilateral agreement with a State or self‑governing Territory. However, the Minister may do so only if the Minister is satisfied that:

                     (a)  the management arrangement or authorisation process and the law under which it is in force, or in which it is set out, meet the criteria prescribed by the regulations; and

                     (b)  there has been or will be adequate assessment of the impacts that actions approved in accordance with the management arrangement or authorisation process:

                              (i)  have or will have; or

                             (ii)  are likely to have;

                            on each matter protected by a provision of Part 3 in relation to which the agreement makes a declaration under subsection (1); and

                     (c)  actions approved in accordance with the management arrangement or authorisation process will not have unacceptable or unsustainable impacts on a matter protected by a provision of Part 3 in relation to which the agreement makes a declaration under subsection (1).

The Minister must publish in accordance with the regulations (if any) the instrument accrediting the management arrangement or authorisation process.

Note:          Subdivision B sets out more prerequisites for accrediting a management arrangement or an authorisation process.

Tabling of management arrangement or authorisation process before accreditation

             (4)  The Minister must cause to be laid before each House of the Parliament a copy of:

                     (a)  in the case of a management arrangement—the management arrangement; or

                     (b)  in the case of an authorisation process—the relevant part of the law in which the authorisation process is set out;

that the Minister is considering accrediting for the purposes of subsection (2) or (2A).

Limitations on accreditation during period for disallowance

             (5)  The Minister must not accredit a management arrangement or authorisation process for the purposes of subsection (2) or (2A) under a bilateral agreement:

                     (a)  before, or within 15 sitting days after, a copy of the management arrangement or authorisation process is laid before each House of the Parliament; or

                     (b)  if, within those 15 sitting days of a House, notice of a motion to disallow the management arrangement or authorisation process is given in that House—subject to subsection (5A), within 15 sitting days of that House after the notice is given.

          (5A)  If:

                     (a)  notice of a motion to disallow accreditation of the management arrangement or authorisation process is given in a House of the Parliament within 15 sitting days after the management arrangement or authorisation process is laid before the House under this section; and

                     (b)  the notice is withdrawn or otherwise disposed of within 15 sitting days of that House after the notice is given;

then, subject to paragraph (5)(a), the Minister may accredit the management arrangement or authorisation process after the motion is withdrawn or otherwise disposed of.

Disallowance motion passed

             (6)  The Minister must not accredit the management arrangement or authorisation process if either House of the Parliament passes a resolution disallowing the accreditation of the management arrangement or authorisation process following a motion of which notice has been given within 15 sitting days after the management arrangement or relevant part of the law has been laid before the House.

Disallowance motion not defeated in time

             (7)  The Minister must not accredit the management arrangement or authorisation process if, at the end of 15 sitting days after notice of a motion to disallow the management arrangement or authorisation process that was given in a House of the Parliament within 15 sitting days after the management arrangement or relevant part of the law was laid before the House:

                     (a)  the notice has not been withdrawn and the motion has not been called on; or

                     (b)  the motion has been called on, moved and seconded and has not been withdrawn or otherwise disposed of.

Extended time after dissolution or prorogation

             (8)  If:

                     (a)  notice of a motion to disallow the management arrangement or authorisation process is given in a House of the Parliament (the disallowing House); and

                     (b)  before the end of 15 sitting days of the disallowing House after the notice is given:

                              (i)  the House of Representatives is dissolved or expires; or

                             (ii)  the Parliament is prorogued; and

                     (c)  at the time of the dissolution, expiry or prorogation (as appropriate):

                              (i)  the notice has not been withdrawn and the motion has not been called on; or

                             (ii)  the motion has been called on, moved and seconded and has not been withdrawn or otherwise disposed of;

the management arrangement or relevant part of the law is taken for the purposes of subsections (5), (5A), (6) and (7) to have been laid before the disallowing House on the first sitting day of that House after the dissolution, expiry or prorogation (as appropriate).

No preference

             (9)  In accrediting a management arrangement or authorisation process for the purposes of a bilateral agreement making a declaration relating to an action:

                     (a)  by a person for the purposes of trade between Australia and another country or between 2 States; or

                     (b)  by a constitutional corporation;

the Minister must not give preference (within the meaning of section 99 of the Constitution) to one State or part of a State over another State or part of a State.

Requirements for bilateral agreement making declaration

           (10)  If the declaration is for actions approved in accordance with a bilaterally accredited management arrangement, the declaration does not have effect for the purposes of this Act unless the bilateral agreement requires the State or self‑governing Territory that is party to the agreement and agencies of the State or Territory:

                     (a)  to act in accordance with the management arrangement; and

                     (b)  not to approve the taking of actions that would be inconsistent with the management arrangement.

47  Agreement may declare classes of actions do not need assessment

Declaration of actions that do not need further assessment

             (1)  A bilateral agreement may declare that actions in a class of actions identified wholly or partly by reference to the fact that they have been assessed in a specified manner need not be assessed under Part 8.

Note:          A declaration described in subsection (1) can accredit practices, procedures, systems of the State or self‑governing Territory for environmental assessment.

Prerequisite to declaration

             (2)  The Minister may enter into a bilateral agreement declaring that actions assessed in a specified manner need not be assessed under Part 8 only if he or she is satisfied that assessment of an action in the specified manner will include assessment of the impacts the action:

                             (a)  has or will have; or

                             (b)  is likely to have;

on each matter protected by a provision of Part 3.

Assessment approaches that may be accredited

             (3)  The manner of assessment of actions that may be specified in a bilateral agreement between the Commonwealth and a State or Territory for the purposes of subsection (1) includes:

                     (a)  assessment by any person under a law of the State or Territory; and

                     (b)  assessment by any person under an agreement or other instrument made under a law of the State or Territory; and

                     (c)  assessment by any person in accordance with criteria specified in an instrument agreed by the parties to the bilateral agreement.

This does not limit subsection (1).

Report on actions that do not need further assessment

             (4)  If a bilateral agreement has (or could have) the effect that an action need not be assessed under Part 8 but the action must still be approved under Part 9, the agreement must provide for the Minister to receive a report including, or accompanied by, enough information about the relevant impacts of the action to let the Minister make an informed decision whether or not to approve under Part 9 (for the purposes of each controlling provision) the taking of the action.

48  Other provisions of bilateral agreements

             (1)  A bilateral agreement may include:

                     (a)  provisions for State accreditation of Commonwealth processes and decisions; and

                     (b)  other provisions for achieving the object of this Part; and

                     (c)  provisions for the provision of information by one party to the agreement to the other party; and

                     (d)  provisions for the publication of information relating to the agreement; and

                     (e)  provisions relating to the operation of the whole agreement or particular provisions of the agreement, such as:

                              (i)  provisions for the commencement of all or part of the agreement; or

                             (ii)  provisions for auditing, monitoring and reporting on the operation and effectiveness of all or part of the agreement; or

                            (iii)  provisions for review of all or part of the agreement; or

                            (iv)  provisions for rescission of all or part of the agreement; or

                             (v)  provisions for expiry of the agreement; and

                      (f)  provisions varying or revoking another bilateral agreement between the same parties; and

                     (g)  a provision dealing with a matter that another section of this Act permits a bilateral agreement to deal with.

Consistency with Act and regulations

             (2)  A provision of a bilateral agreement has no effect for the purposes of this Act to the extent that it is inconsistent with this Act or the regulations. A provision of a bilateral agreement is not inconsistent with this Act or the regulations if it is possible to comply with both the provision on the one hand and the Act or regulations on the other hand.

Relationship with sections 46 and 47

             (3)  Subsection (1) does not limit sections 46 and 47.

48A  Mandatory provisions

Application

             (1)  A bilateral agreement with a State or self‑governing Territory including a declaration that is described in section 46 or 47 and covers actions described in subsection (2) or (3) does not have effect for the purposes of this Act unless the agreement also includes the undertaking required by subsection (2) or (3) (as appropriate).

Agreements including declarations about approvals

             (2)  A bilateral agreement including a declaration described in section 46 must include an undertaking by the State or Territory to ensure that the environmental impacts that the following actions covered by the declaration have, will have or are likely to have on a thing that is not a matter protected by a provision of Part 3 for which the declaration has effect will be assessed to the greatest extent practicable:

                     (a)  actions taken in the State or Territory by a constitutional corporation;

                     (b)  actions taken in the State or Territory by a person for the purposes of trade or commerce between Australia and another country, between 2 States, between a State and a Territory or between 2 Territories;

                     (c)  actions that are taken in the State or Territory and are actions whose regulation is appropriate and adapted to give effect to Australia’s obligations under an agreement with one or more other countries;

                     (d)  actions taken in the Territory (if applicable).

Agreements including declarations about assessment

             (3)  A bilateral agreement including a declaration described in section 47 must include an undertaking by the State or Territory to ensure that the environmental impacts that the following actions covered by the declaration have, will have or are likely to have (other than the relevant impacts of those actions) will be assessed to the greatest extent practicable:

                     (a)  actions taken in the State or Territory by a constitutional corporation;

                     (b)  actions taken in the State or Territory by a person for the purposes of trade or commerce between Australia and another country, between 2 States, between a State and a Territory or between 2 Territories;

                     (c)  actions that are taken in the State or Territory and are actions whose regulation is appropriate and adapted to give effect to Australia’s obligations under an agreement with one or more other countries;

                     (d)  actions taken in the Territory (if applicable).

Auditing

             (4)  A bilateral agreement does not have effect for the purposes of this Act unless it includes a provision recognising that, under the Auditor‑General Act 1997, the Auditor‑General may audit the operations of the Commonwealth public sector (as defined in section 18 of that Act) relating to the bilateral agreement.

49  Express provision needed to affect Commonwealth areas or actions

             (1)  A provision of a bilateral agreement does not have any effect in relation to an action in a Commonwealth area or an action by the Commonwealth or a Commonwealth agency, unless the agreement expressly provides otherwise.

             (2)  A provision of a bilateral agreement does not have any effect in relation to an action in Booderee National Park, Kakadu National Park or Uluru‑Kata Tjuta National Park.

             (3)  Booderee National Park is the Commonwealth reserve (as it exists from time to time) to which the name Booderee National Park was given by Proclamation continued in force by the Environmental Reform (Consequential Provisions) Act 1999.

Subdivision BPrerequisites for making bilateral agreements

49A  Consultation on draft agreement

                   The Minister may enter into a bilateral agreement only if he or she:

                     (a)  has published in accordance with the regulations:

                              (i)  a draft of the agreement; and

                             (ii)  an invitation for any person to give the Minister comments on the draft within a specified period of at least 28 days after the latest day on which the draft or invitation was published; and

                     (b)  has taken into account the comments (if any) received in response to the invitation; and

                     (c)  has considered the role and interests of indigenous peoples in promoting the conservation and ecologically sustainable use of natural resources in the context of the proposed agreement, taking into account Australia’s relevant obligations under the Biodiversity Convention.

50  Minister may only enter into agreement if prescribed criteria are met

                   The Minister may enter into a bilateral agreement only if the Minister is satisfied that the agreement:

                     (a)  accords with the objects of this Act; and

                     (b)  meets the requirements (if any) prescribed by the regulations.

51  Agreements relating to declared World Heritage properties

             (1)  The Minister may enter into a bilateral agreement containing a provision relating to a declared World Heritage property only if:

                     (a)  the Minister is satisfied that the provision is not inconsistent with Australia’s obligations under the World Heritage Convention; and

                     (b)  the Minister is satisfied that the agreement will promote the management of the property in accordance with the Australian World Heritage management principles; and

                     (c)  the provision meets the requirements (if any) prescribed by the regulations.

             (2)  The Minister may accredit a management arrangement or an authorisation process under section 46 for the purposes of a bilateral agreement containing a provision relating to a declared World Heritage property only if:

                     (a)  the Minister is satisfied that the management arrangement or authorisation process is not inconsistent with Australia’s obligations under the World Heritage Convention; and

                     (b)  the Minister is satisfied that the management arrangement or authorisation process will promote the management of the property in accordance with the Australian World Heritage management principles.

51A  Agreements relating to National Heritage places

             (1)  The Minister may enter into a bilateral agreement containing a provision relating to a National Heritage place only if:

                     (a)  the Minister is satisfied that the agreement will promote the management of the place in accordance with the National Heritage management principles; and

                     (b)  the provision meets the requirements (if any) prescribed by the regulations.

             (2)  The Minister may accredit a management arrangement or an authorisation process under section 46 for the purposes of such a bilateral agreement only if he or she is satisfied that the management arrangement or authorisation process will promote the management of the place concerned in accordance with the National Heritage management principles.

52  Agreements relating to declared Ramsar wetlands

             (1)  The Minister may enter into a bilateral agreement containing a provision relating to a declared Ramsar wetland only if:

                     (a)  the Minister is satisfied that the provision is not inconsistent with Australia’s obligations under the Ramsar Convention; and

                     (b)  the Minister is satisfied that the agreement will promote the management of the wetland in accordance with the Australian Ramsar management principles; and

                     (c)  the provision meets the requirements (if any) prescribed by the regulations.

             (2)  The Minister may accredit a management arrangement or an authorisation process under section 46 for the purposes of a bilateral agreement containing a provision relating to a declared Ramsar wetland only if:

                     (a)  the Minister is satisfied that the management arrangement or authorisation process is not inconsistent with Australia’s obligations under the Ramsar Convention; and

                     (b)  the Minister is satisfied that the management arrangement or authorisation process will promote the management of the wetland in accordance with the Australian Ramsar management principles.

53  Agreements relating to listed threatened species and ecological communities

             (1)  The Minister may enter into a bilateral agreement containing a provision relating to a listed threatened species or a listed threatened ecological community only if:

                     (a)  the Minister is satisfied that the provision is not inconsistent with Australia’s obligations under:

                              (i)  the Biodiversity Convention; or

                             (ii)  the Apia Convention; or

                            (iii)  CITES; and

                     (b)  the Minister is satisfied that the agreement will promote the survival and/or enhance the conservation status of each species or community to which the provision relates; and

                     (c)  the Minister is satisfied that the provision is not inconsistent with any recovery plan for the species or community or a threat abatement plan; and

                    (ca)  the Minister has had regard to any approved conservation advice for the species or community; and

                     (d)  the provision meets the requirements (if any) prescribed by the regulations.

             (2)  The Minister may accredit a management arrangement or an authorisation process under section 46 for the purposes of a bilateral agreement containing a provision relating to a listed threatened species or a listed threatened ecological community only if:

                     (a)  the Minister is satisfied that the management arrangement or authorisation process is not inconsistent with Australia’s obligations under:

                              (i)  the Biodiversity Convention; or

                             (ii)  the Apia Convention; or

                            (iii)  CITES; and

                     (b)  the Minister is satisfied that the management arrangement or authorisation process will promote the survival and/or enhance the conservation status of each species or community to which the provision relates; and

                     (c)  the Minister is satisfied that the management arrangement or authorisation process is not inconsistent with any recovery plan for the species or community or a threat abatement plan; and

                     (d)  the Minister has had regard to any approved conservation advice for the species or community.

54  Agreements relating to migratory species

             (1)  The Minister may enter into a bilateral agreement containing a provision relating to a listed migratory species only if:

                     (a)  the Minister is satisfied that the provision is not inconsistent with the Commonwealth’s obligations under whichever of the following conventions or agreements because of which the species is listed:

                              (i)  the Bonn Convention;

                             (ii)  CAMBA;

                            (iii)  JAMBA;

                            (iv)  an international agreement approved under subsection 209(4); and

                     (b)  the Minister is satisfied that the agreement will promote the survival and/or enhance the conservation status of each species to which the provision relates; and

                     (c)  the provision meets the requirements (if any) prescribed by the regulations.

             (2)  The Minister may accredit a management arrangement or an authorisation process under section 46 for the purposes of a bilateral agreement containing a provision relating to a listed migratory species only if:

                     (a)  the Minister is satisfied that the management arrangement or authorisation process is not inconsistent with the Commonwealth’s obligations under whichever of the following conventions or agreements because of which the species is listed:

                              (i)  the Bonn Convention;

                             (ii)  CAMBA;

                            (iii)  JAMBA;

                            (iv)  an international agreement approved under subsection 209(4); and

                     (b)  the Minister is satisfied that the management arrangement or authorisation process will promote the survival and/or enhance the conservation status of each species to which the provision relates.

55  Agreements relating to nuclear actions

                   The Minister must not enter into a bilateral agreement, or accredit for the purposes of a bilateral agreement a management arrangement or an authorisation process, containing a provision that:

                     (a)  relates to a nuclear action; and

                     (b)  has the effect of giving preference (within the meaning of section 99 of the Constitution) to one State or part of a State over another State or part of a State, in relation to the taking of a nuclear action:

                              (i)  by a person for the purposes of trade or commerce between Australia and another country or between 2 States; or

                             (ii)  by a constitutional corporation.

56  Agreements relating to prescribed actions

                   The Minister must not enter into a bilateral agreement containing a provision that:

                     (a)  relates to an action prescribed for the purposes of subsection 25(1); and

                     (b)  has the effect of giving preference (within the meaning of section 99 of the Constitution) to one State or part of a State over another State or part of a State, in relation to the taking of the action:

                              (i)  by a person for the purposes of trade or commerce between Australia and another country or between 2 States; or

                             (ii)  by a constitutional corporation.

Subdivision CMinor amendments of bilateral agreements

56A  Ministerial determination of minor amendments to bilateral agreements

             (1)  This section applies if:

                     (a)  the Minister intends to develop a draft amendment to a bilateral agreement (the principal agreement); and

                     (b)  the Minister is satisfied that the amendment will not have a significant effect on the operation of the principal agreement; and

                     (c)  the Minister makes a determination, in writing, to that effect.

             (2)  If the Minister makes a determination under paragraph (1)(c):

                     (a)  the following provisions of this Part do not apply in relation to the amendment to the principal agreement:

                              (i)  subsection 45(3);

                             (ii)  paragraphs 45(4)(b) and (c);

                            (iii)  section 49A; and

                     (b)  the Minister must publish the principal agreement, as amended by the amending agreement, at the same time as publishing the amending agreement under paragraph 45(4)(a).

             (3)  A determination made under paragraph (1)(c) is not a legislative instrument.


 

Division 3Suspending and ending the effect of bilateral agreements

Subdivision ASuspension and cancellation of effect

57  Representations about suspension or cancellation

Representations

             (1)  A person may refer to the Minister a matter that the person believes involves a contravention of a bilateral agreement.

Minister must decide whether agreement has been contravened

             (2)  The Minister must:

                     (a)  decide whether or not the bilateral agreement has been contravened; and

                     (b)  decide what action he or she should take in relation to any contravention.

Publication of decision and reasons

             (3)  The Minister must publish in accordance with the regulations each decision he or she makes, and the reasons for it.

Minister need not decide on vexatious referrals

             (4)  Despite subsection (2), the Minister need not make a decision under that subsection if he or she is satisfied that:

                     (a)  the referral was vexatious, frivolous, or not supported by sufficient information to make a decision; or

                     (b)  the matter referred is the same in substance as a matter that has been referred before; or

                     (c)  if the alleged contravention of the bilateral agreement were a contravention of the Act, the person referring the matter would not be entitled to apply under section 475 for an injunction in relation to the contravention.

58  Consultation before cancellation or suspension

             (1)  The Minister (the Environment Minister) must consult the appropriate Minister of a State or Territory that is party to a bilateral agreement if the Environment Minister believes that the State or Territory:

                     (a)  has not complied with the agreement or will not comply with it; or

                     (b)  has not given effect, or will not give effect, to the agreement in a way that:

                              (i)  accords with the objects of this Act and the objects of this Part; and

                             (ii)  promotes the discharge of Australia’s obligations under any agreement with one or more other countries relevant to a matter covered by the agreement.

             (2)  Subsection (1) operates whether the Environment Minister’s belief relates to a matter referred to him or her under section 57 or not.

59  Suspension or cancellation

Minister may give notice of suspension or cancellation

             (1)  If, after the consultation, the Environment Minister is not satisfied that the State or Territory:

                     (a)  has complied with, and will comply with, the agreement; and

                     (b)  has given effect, and will give effect, to the agreement in a way that:

                              (i)  accords with the objects of this Act and the objects of this Part; and

                             (ii)  promotes the discharge of Australia’s obligations under all international agreements (if any) relevant to a matter covered by the agreement;

he or she may give the appropriate Minister of the State or Territory a written notice described in subsection (2) or (3).

Example 1: The Minister could give notice if the agreement declared that certain actions affecting the world heritage values of a declared world heritage property did not require approval under Part 9 if approved by the State, and the State approved an action that was not consistent with the protection, conservation and presentation of those values.

Example 2: The Minister could give notice if the agreement declared that certain actions affecting the ecological character of a declared Ramsar wetland did not require approval under Part 9 if approved by the State, and the State approved an action that had a significant adverse impact on that character.

Example 3: The Minister could give notice if the agreement declared that certain actions affecting a listed threatened species did not require approval under Part 9 if approved by the State, and the State approved an action that caused the species to become more threatened.

Notice of suspension

             (2)  A notice may state that the effect of the agreement, or specified provisions of the agreement, for the purposes of this Act or specified provisions of this Act is suspended, either generally or in relation to actions in a specified class, for a period:

                     (a)  starting on a specified day at least 10 business days (in the capital city of the State or Territory) after the day on which the notice is given; and

                     (b)  ending on a specified later day or on the occurrence of a specified event.

Notice of cancellation

             (3)  A notice may state that the effect of the agreement, or specified provisions of the agreement, for the purposes of this Act or specified provisions of this Act is cancelled, either generally or in relation to actions in a specified class, on a specified day at least 10 business days (in the capital city of the State or Territory) after the day on which the notice is given.

Effect suspended or cancelled in accordance with notice

             (4)  The effect of an agreement or specified provision of an agreement is suspended or cancelled for the purposes of this Act, or of a specified provision of this Act, either generally or in relation to actions in a specified class, in accordance with the notice. This subsection has effect subject to sections 61 and 62.

Reasons for giving notice

             (5)  When giving a notice, the Environment Minister must give the appropriate Minister of the State or Territory a written statement of reasons for the giving of the notice.

Publishing notice and reasons

             (6)  As soon as practicable after the suspension or cancellation occurs, the Environment Minister must publish in accordance with the regulations:

                     (a)  notice of the suspension or cancellation; and

                     (b)  reasons for the suspension or cancellation.

60  Emergency suspension of effect of bilateral agreement

             (1)  This section applies if the Minister is satisfied that:

                     (a)  the State or Territory that is party to a bilateral agreement is not complying with it, or will not comply with it; and

                     (b)  as a result of the non‑compliance, a significant impact is occurring or imminent on any matter protected by a provision of Part 3 that is relevant to an action in a class of actions to which the agreement relates.

             (2)  The Minister may suspend the effect of the agreement or specified provisions of the agreement for the purposes of this Act or specified provisions of this Act, by notice:

                     (a)  given to the appropriate Minister of the State or Territory; and

                     (b)  published in accordance with the regulations.

             (3)  The suspension continues for the shorter of the following periods:

                     (a)  3 months;

                     (b)  the period that is specified in the notice (either by reference to time or by reference to the occurrence of an event).

             (4)  Subsection (3) has effect subject to section 62.

             (5)  As soon as practicable after the Minister (the Environment Minister) gives the appropriate Minister of the State or Territory (the State or Territory Minister) notice of the suspension, the Environment Minister must consult the State or Territory Minister about the non‑compliance.

             (6)  To avoid doubt, this section has effect despite sections 58 and 59.

61  Cancellation during suspension

             (1)  The Minister may give notice of the cancellation of the effect of a bilateral agreement even while its effect is suspended under section 59 or 60.

             (2)  The cancellation may occur even though the period of suspension has not ended.

             (3)  This section applies whether the cancellation or suspension has effect generally or in relation to actions in a specified class.

62  Revocation of notice of suspension or cancellation

             (1)  This section applies if the Minister:

                     (a)  has given a notice under section 59 or 60 to suspend or cancel the effect of a bilateral agreement (either generally or in relation to actions in a specified class); and

                     (b)  is later satisfied that the State or Territory that is party to the agreement will comply with the agreement and give effect to it in a way that:

                              (i)  accords with the objects of this Act and the objects of this Part; and

                             (ii)  promotes the discharge of Australia’s obligations under all international agreements (if any) relevant to a matter covered by the agreement.

             (2)  The Minister must revoke the notice of suspension or cancellation by another written notice:

                     (a)  given to the appropriate Minister of the State or Territory; and

                     (b)  published in accordance with the regulations.

However, the Environment Minister must not revoke the notice of cancellation after cancellation of the effect of the agreement occurs.

             (3)  Suspension or cancellation of the effect of the agreement does not occur if the notice of suspension or cancellation is revoked before the suspension or cancellation would otherwise occur.

             (4)  Suspension of the effect of the agreement ends when the notice of suspension is revoked.

63  Cancellation or suspension at request of other party

Minister must give notice of cancellation or suspension

             (1)  The Minister must give the appropriate Minister of a State or self‑governing Territory that is party to a bilateral agreement a notice under subsection (2) or (3) if the appropriate Minister has requested a notice under that subsection in accordance with the agreement.

Notice of suspension

             (2)  A notice may state that the effect of the agreement, or specified provisions of the agreement, for the purposes of this Act or specified provisions of this Act is suspended, either generally or in relation to actions in a specified class, for a period:

                     (a)  starting on a specified day after the day on which the notice is given; and

                     (b)  ending on a specified later day or on the occurrence of a specified event.

Notice of cancellation

             (3)  A notice may state that the effect of the agreement, or specified provisions of the agreement, for the purposes of this Act or specified provisions of this Act is cancelled, either generally or in relation to actions in a specified class, on a specified day after the day on which the notice is given.

Effect suspended or cancelled in accordance with notice

             (4)  The effect of an agreement or specified provision of an agreement is suspended or cancelled for the purposes of this Act, or of a specified provision of this Act, either generally or in relation to actions in a specified class, in accordance with the notice.

Publishing notice and reasons

             (5)  As soon as practicable after the suspension or cancellation occurs, the Minister must publish in accordance with the regulations:

                     (a)  notice of the suspension or cancellation; and

                     (b)  reasons for the suspension or cancellation.

64  Cancellation or suspension of bilateral agreement does not affect certain actions

Application

             (1)  This section explains how this Act operates in relation to an action that a person was able to take without approval under Part 9 for the purposes of a provision of Part 3 because of Division 1 of Part 4 and a provision of a bilateral agreement immediately before the cancellation or suspension of the operation of the provision of the agreement for the purposes of this Act or of any provision of this Act.

Actions approved in specified manner may be taken

             (2)  If the action was able to be taken without approval under Part 9 because its taking had already been approved in accordance with a management arrangement or an authorisation process that is a bilaterally accredited management arrangement or a bilaterally accredited authorisation process for the purposes of the agreement, this Act continues to operate in relation to the action as if the suspension or cancellation had not occurred.

Subdivision BExpiry of bilateral agreements

65  Expiry and review of bilateral agreements

             (1)  A bilateral agreement ceases to have effect for the purposes of this Act at the time when the agreement provides for it to cease to so have effect.

Note:          The parties to a bilateral agreement may also agree to revoke it.

             (2)  The Minister must cause a review of the operation of a bilateral agreement to be carried out at least once every 5 years while the agreement remains in effect. The Minister must give a copy of the report of each review to the appropriate Minister of the State or Territory that is party to the agreement.

Note:          A bilateral agreement may also provide for review of its operation.

             (3)  The Minister must publish the report on each subsection (2) review in accordance with the regulations.

65A  Expiry of bilateral agreement does not affect certain actions

Application of subsection (2)

             (1)  Subsection (2) explains how this Act operates in relation to an action that a person was able to take without approval under Part 9 for the purposes of a provision of Part 3 because of Division 1 of Part 4 and a provision of a bilateral agreement immediately before the agreement ceases to have effect for the purposes of this Act under section 65.

Actions already approved may be taken

             (2)  This Act continues to operate in relation to the action as if the agreement had not ceased to have effect if the action was able to be taken without approval under Part 9 because its taking had already been approved in accordance with a management arrangement or an authorisation process that was a bilaterally accredited management arrangement or a bilaterally accredited authorisation process for the purposes of the agreement.


 

Chapter 4Environmental assessments and approvals

Part 6Simplified outline of this Chapter

  

66  Simplified outline of this Chapter

                   The following is a simplified outline of this Chapter:

This Chapter deals with assessment and approval of actions that Part 3 prohibits without approval (controlled actions). (It does not deal with actions that a bilateral agreement declares not to need approval.)

A person proposing to take an action, or a government body aware of the proposal, may refer the proposal to the Minister so he or she can decide:

               (a)     whether his or her approval is needed to take the action; and

               (b)     how to assess the impacts of the action to be able to make an informed decision whether or not to approve the action.

An assessment may be done using:

               (a)     a process laid down under a bilateral agreement; or

               (b)     a process specified in a declaration by the Minister; or

               (c)     a process accredited by the Minister; or

             (ca)     information included in the referral; or

               (d)     preliminary documentation provided by the proponent; or

               (e)     a public environment report; or

               (f)     an environmental impact statement; or

               (g)     a public inquiry.

Once the report of the assessment is given to the Minister, he or she must decide whether or not to approve the action, and what conditions to attach to any approval.


 

Part 7Deciding whether approval of actions is needed

Division 1Referral of proposals to take action

67  What is a controlled action?

                   An action that a person proposes to take is a controlled action if the taking of the action by the person without approval under Part 9 for the purposes of a provision of Part 3 would be (or would, but for section 25AA or 28AB, be) prohibited by the provision. The provision is a controlling provision for the action.

67A  Prohibition on taking controlled action without approval

                   A person must not take a controlled action unless an approval of the taking of the action by the person is in operation under Part 9 for the purposes of the relevant provision of Part 3.

Note:          A person can be restrained from contravening this section by an injunction under section 475.

68  Referral by person proposing to take action

             (1)  A person proposing to take an action that the person thinks may be or is a controlled action must refer the proposal to the Minister for the Minister’s decision whether or not the action is a controlled action.

             (2)  A person proposing to take an action that the person thinks is not a controlled action may refer the proposal to the Minister for the Minister’s decision whether or not the action is a controlled action.

             (3)  In a referral under this section, the person must state whether or not the person thinks the action the person proposes to take is a controlled action.

             (4)  If the person states that the person thinks the action is a controlled action, the person must identify in the statement each provision that the person thinks is a controlling provision.

             (5)  Subsections (1) and (2) do not apply in relation to a person proposing to take an action if the person has been informed by the Minister under section 73 that the proposal has been referred to the Minister.

             (6)  This section is affected by section 68A.

68A  Actions proposed to be taken under a contract etc.

             (1)  This section applies in relation to an action that is proposed to be taken under a contract or an agreement, arrangement or understanding, other than:

                     (a)  a subcontract; or

                     (b)  an agreement, arrangement or understanding entered into for the purposes of a contract or another agreement, arrangement or understanding.

Note:          A person proposing to take an action under a subcontract, or an agreement, arrangement or understanding entered into for the purposes of a contract or another agreement, arrangement or understanding, is not required or permitted to refer the proposal to take the action to the Minister under section 68.

             (2)  For the purposes of section 68 and subject to subsection (3), a reference to, or relating to, a person proposing to take the action is a reference to, or relating to, any of the following persons:

                     (a)  a party to the contract, agreement, arrangement or understanding for whose benefit the action is proposed to be taken;

                     (b)  a person who:

                              (i)  requested or procured, or proposes to request or procure, the creation of the contract, agreement, arrangement or understanding; and

                             (ii)  is to be responsible for controlling and directing the taking of the proposed action.

             (3)  If a person (the first person) referred to in paragraph (2)(a) or (b) refers a proposal to take the action to the Minister under section 68:

                     (a)  no other person is required or permitted to refer a proposal to take the action to the Minister under section 68; and

                     (b)  for the purposes of this Chapter, a reference to, or relating to, the person proposing to take the action is a reference to, or relating to, the first person.

             (4)  For the purposes of this section, a reference to a contract or subcontract or an agreement, arrangement or understanding includes a reference to a proposed contract, proposed subcontract, proposed agreement, proposed arrangement or proposed understanding.

             (5)  Nothing in this section is intended to affect the capacity of a person to refer a proposal to take an action to the Minister under subsection 68(1) or (2) on behalf of the person proposing to take the action.

69  State or Territory may refer proposal to Minister

             (1)  A State, self‑governing Territory or agency of a State or self‑governing Territory that is aware of a proposal by a person to take an action may refer the proposal to the Minister for a decision whether or not the action is a controlled action, if the State, Territory or agency has administrative responsibilities relating to the action.

             (2)  This section does not apply in relation to a proposal by a State, self‑governing Territory or agency of a State or self‑governing Territory to take an action.

Note:          Section 68 applies instead.

70  Minister may request referral of proposal

             (1)  If the Minister believes a person proposes to take an action that the Minister thinks may be or is a controlled action, the Minister may request:

                     (a)  the person; or

                     (b)  a State, self‑governing Territory or agency of a State or self‑governing Territory that the Minister believes has administrative responsibilities relating to the action;

to refer the proposal to the Minister within 15 business days or a longer period agreed by the Minister and the requested person, State, Territory or agency (as appropriate).

Note 1:       If the proposal to take the action is not referred, the person cannot get an approval under Part 9 to take the action. If taking the action without approval contravenes Part 3, an injunction could be sought to prevent or stop the action, or the person could be ordered to pay a pecuniary penalty.

Note 2:       Section 156 sets out rules about time limits.

             (2)  In making a request, the Minister must act in accordance with the regulations (if any).

Deemed referral of proposal

             (3)  If:

                     (a)  the Minister has made a request under subsection (1); and

                     (b)  the period for compliance with the request has ended; and

                     (c)  the requested person has not referred the proposal to the Minister in accordance with the request;

the Minister may, within 20 business days after the end of that period, determine in writing that this Act has effect as if:

                     (d)  if paragraph (1)(a) applies—the requested person had referred the proposal to the Minister under subsection 68(1) at the time the determination was made; or

                     (e)  if paragraph (1)(b) applies—the requested person had referred the proposal to the Minister under subsection 69(1) at the time the determination was made.

             (4)  A determination under subsection (3) has effect accordingly.

             (5)  A copy of a determination under subsection (3) is to be given to the requested person.

             (6)  Subsection 68(3) and section 72 do not apply to a referral covered by subsection (3) of this section.

             (8)  Subsection 74(3) applies to a referral covered by subsection (3) of this section as if the reference in paragraph 74(3)(a) to the referral were a reference to the determination concerned.

71  Commonwealth agency may refer proposal to Minister

             (1)  A Commonwealth agency that is aware of a proposal by a person to take an action may refer the proposal to the Minister for a decision whether or not the action is a controlled action, if the agency has administrative responsibilities relating to the action.

             (2)  This section does not apply in relation to a proposal by the Commonwealth or a Commonwealth agency to take an action.

Note:          Section 68 applies instead.

72  Form and content of referrals

             (1)  A referral of a proposal to take an action must be made in a way prescribed by the regulations.

             (2)  A referral of a proposal to take an action must include the information prescribed by the regulations.

             (3)  A referral of a proposal to take an action may include alternative proposals relating to any of the following:

                     (a)  the location where the action is to be taken;

                     (b)  the time frames within which the action is to be taken;

                     (c)  the activities that are to be carried out in taking the action.

73  Informing person proposing to take action of referral

                   As soon as practicable after receiving a referral under section 69 or 71 of a proposal by a person to take an action, the Minister must:

                     (a)  inform the person of the referral; and

                     (b)  invite the person to give the Minister relevant information about whether the action is a controlled action, within 10 business days.

74  Inviting provision of information on referred proposal

Inviting other Commonwealth Ministers to provide information

             (1)  As soon as practicable after receiving a referral of a proposal to take an action, the Minister (the Environment Minister) must:

                     (a)  inform any other Minister whom the Environment Minister believes has administrative responsibilities relating to the proposal; and

                     (b)  invite each other Minister informed to give the Environment Minister within 10 business days information that relates to the proposed action and is relevant to deciding whether or not the proposed action is a controlled action.

Inviting comments from the Australian Heritage Council

          (1A)  If the Minister thinks, in relation to an action that is the subject of a proposal referred to the Minister, that section 15B or 15C could be a controlling provision for the proposed action because of National Heritage values of a National Heritage place, the Minister may invite the Australian Heritage Council to give the Minister comments, within 10 business days (measured in Canberra), on whether the proposed action is a controlled action.

Note:          Sections 15B and 15C protect the National Heritage values of National Heritage places.

          (1B)  If the Minister thinks, in relation to an action that is the subject of a proposal referred to the Minister, that section 23, 24A, 26, 27A, 27B, 27C or 28 could be a controlling provision for the proposed action because of heritage values of a place, the Minister may invite the Australian Heritage Council to give the Minister comments, within 10 business days (measured in Canberra), on whether the proposed action is a controlled action.

Note:          Sections 23, 24A, 26, 27A, 27B, 27C and 28 protect the environment, which includes the heritage values of places. See the definition of environment in section 528.

Inviting comments from appropriate State or Territory Minister

             (2)  As soon as practicable after receiving, from the person proposing to take an action or from a Commonwealth agency, a referral of a proposal to take an action in a State or self‑governing Territory, the Environment Minister must, if he or she thinks the action may have an impact on a matter protected by a provision of Division 1 of Part 3 (about matters of national environmental significance):

                     (a)  inform the appropriate Minister of the State or Territory; and

                     (b)  invite that Minister to give the Environment Minister within 10 business days:

                              (i)  comments on whether the proposed action is a controlled action; and

                             (ii)  information relevant to deciding which approach would be appropriate to assess the relevant impacts of the action (including if the action could be assessed under a bilateral agreement).

Note:          Subsection (2) also applies in relation to actions to be taken in an area offshore from a State or the Northern Territory. See section 157.

Inviting public comment

             (3)  As soon as practicable after receiving a referral of a proposal to take an action, the Environment Minister must cause to be published on the Internet:

                     (a)  the referral; and

                     (b)  an invitation for anyone to give the Minister comments within 10 business days (measured in Canberra) on whether the action is a controlled action.

Note:          If the action is also the subject of a permit application under section 200, 215, 237 or 257 and the application is made at the same time as the referral, the referral and invitation for comments that must be published under this subsection may be published together with the application and invitation for comments that must be published under section 200, 215, 237 or 257.

Non‑disclosure of commercial‑in‑confidence information

          (3A)  The Environment Minister may refuse to cause to be published on the Internet, under subsection (3), so much of the information included in a referral as the Minister is satisfied is commercial‑in‑confidence.

          (3B)  The Environment Minister must not be satisfied that particular information included in a referral is commercial‑in‑confidence unless a person demonstrates to the Minister that:

                     (a)  release of the information would cause competitive detriment to the person; and

                     (b)  the information is not in the public domain; and

                     (c)  the information is not required to be disclosed under another law of the Commonwealth, a State or a Territory; and

                     (d)  the information is not readily discoverable.

74A  Minister may request referral of a larger action

             (1)  If the Minister receives a referral in relation to a proposal to take an action by a person, and the Minister is satisfied the action that is the subject of the referral is a component of a larger action the person proposes to take, the Minister may decide to not accept the referral.

             (2)  If the Minister decides to not accept a referral under subsection (1), the Minister:

                     (a)  must give written notice of the decision to the person who referred the proposal to the Minister; and

                     (b)  must give written notice of the decision to the person who is proposing to take the action that was the subject of the referral; and

                     (c)  may, under section 70, request of the person proposing to take the action that was the subject of the referral, that they refer the proposal, to take the larger action, to the Minister.

             (3)  To avoid doubt, sections 73 and 74 do not apply to a referral that has not been accepted in accordance with subsection (1).

             (4)  If the Minister decides to accept a referral under subsection (1), the Minister must, at the time of making a decision under section 75:

                     (a)  give written notice of the decision to the person who referred the proposal to the Minister;

                     (b)  publish in accordance with the regulations (if any), a copy or summary of the decision.

74AA  Offence of taking action before decision made in relation to referral etc.

Referral made: taking action while decision making process still going on

             (1)  A person commits an offence if:

                     (a)  the person takes an action; and

                     (b)  either:

                              (i)  a proposal to take the action (or a larger action of which the action is a component) has been referred to the Minister by the person under section 68; or

                             (ii)  a proposal to take the action (or a larger action of which the action is a component) has been referred to the Minister under section 69 or 71 and the person has been informed of the referral under section 73; and

                     (c)  the referral has not been withdrawn under section 170C; and

                     (d)  the Minister has not decided under subsection 74A(1) not to accept the referral; and

                     (e)  provisions of this Chapter are not stopped by Division 1A from applying in relation to the referral; and

                      (f)  provisions of this Chapter are not stopped by section 155 from applying because of the referral in relation to the action (or a larger action of which the action is a component); and

                     (g)  no decision that the action (or a larger action of which the action is a component) is not a controlled action is in operation under section 75 in relation to the referral; and

                     (h)  no decision is in operation under Part 9 in relation to the referral approving, or not approving, the taking of the action (or a larger action of which the action is a component).

Penalty:  500 penalty units.

Note:          Chapter 2 of the Criminal Code sets out the general principles of criminal responsibility.

             (2)  Subsection (1) does not apply to the taking of an action by a person if:

                     (a)  the taking of the action is reasonably necessary in order to comply with a requirement or request made under this Part or Part 8 or 9 in relation to the action (or a larger action of which the action is a component); and

                     (b)  before taking the action, the person gave the Minister written notice of the taking of the action; and

                     (c)  the notice was given in accordance with any applicable requirements of the regulations.

Note:          A defendant bears an evidential burden in relation to the matters in subsection (1): see subsection 13.3(3) of the Criminal Code.

Referral requested: taking action before requested referral is made

             (3)  A person commits an offence if:

                     (a)  the person takes an action; and

                     (b)  the Minister, under section 70, has requested the referral by the person of a proposal to take the action (or a larger action of which the action is a component) to the Minister; and

                     (c)  the request has not been revoked; and

                     (d)  the referral has not been made.

Penalty:  500 penalty units.

Note:          Chapter 2 of the Criminal Code sets out the general principles of criminal responsibility.


 

Division 1ADecision that action is clearly unacceptable

74B  Application of this Division

             (1)  This Division applies to the referral of a proposal to take an action if, within 20 business days after the Minister receives the referral:

                     (a)  the Minister considers, on the basis of the information in the referral, that it is clear that the action would have unacceptable impacts on a matter protected by a provision of Part 3; and

                     (b)  the Minister decides that this Division should apply to the referral.

             (2)  If this Division applies to a referral, any other provisions of this Chapter that would, apart from this subsection, have applied to the referral cease to apply to the referral.

             (3)  Subsection (2) has effect subject to paragraph 74D(6)(a).

74C  Informing person proposing to take action that action is clearly unacceptable

             (1)  As soon as practicable after making the decision under paragraph 74B(1)(b) in relation to a referral, the Minister must give written notice of the decision to:

                     (a)  the person proposing to take the action that is the subject of the referral; and

                     (b)  the person who referred the proposal to the Minister (if that person is not the person proposing to take the action that is the subject of the referral).

             (2)  The notice must:

                     (a)  state that the Minister considers that the action would have unacceptable impacts on a matter protected by a provision of Part 3; and

                     (b)  set out the reasons for the Minister’s decision.

             (3)  After receiving the notice under subsection (1), the person proposing to take the action may:

                     (a)  withdraw the referral and take no further action in relation to the proposed action; or

                     (b)  withdraw the referral and refer a new proposal to take a modified action to the Minister in accordance with Division 1; or

                     (c)  request the Minister, in writing, to reconsider the referral.

Note 1:       Section 170C sets out the procedure for withdrawing a referral.

Note 2:       A referral of a proposal to take a modified action will be a new referral for the purposes of this Chapter.

74D  Procedure if Minister is requested to reconsider referral

             (1)  This section applies if the Minister receives a request under paragraph 74C(3)(c) to reconsider a referral.

Inviting public comment

             (2)  The Minister must, within 10 business days after receiving the request, publish on the Internet:

                     (a)  a notice stating that the Minister proposes not to approve the taking of the action that is the subject of the referral; and

                     (b)  the reasons for the Minister’s decision; and

                     (c)  an invitation for anyone to give the Secretary, within 10 business days (measured in Canberra), comments in writing on:

                              (i)  the impacts that the action would have on a matter protected by a provision of Part 3; and

                             (ii)  the Minister’s proposal to refuse to approve the taking of the action.

Report about relevant impacts of action

             (3)  Within 10 business days after the end of the period for comment under paragraph (2)(c), the Secretary must:

                     (a)  prepare a written report about the relevant impacts that the action has or will have, or is likely to have, on a matter protected by a provision of Part 3; and

                     (b)  give the Minister:

                              (i)  the report; and

                             (ii)  a copy of any comments received by the Secretary within the period for comment.

In preparing the report, the Secretary must have regard to the comments referred to in subparagraph (b)(ii).

Decision following reconsideration

             (4)  Within 20 business days after receiving the report under subsection (3), the Minister must:

                     (a)  if the Minister still considers that it is clear that the action would have unacceptable impacts on a matter protected by a provision of Part 3—decide to refuse to approve the taking of the action; or

                     (b)  decide that the referral is to be dealt with under the provisions of this Chapter that, because of subsection 74B(2), have ceased to apply to the referral.

             (5)  If the Minister decides to refuse to approve the taking of the action, the Minister must, within 10 business days after making the decision, give notice of the decision to:

                     (a)  the person proposing to take the action; and

                     (b)  the person who referred the proposal to the Minister (if that person is not the person proposing to take the action).

Note:          The person proposing to take the action may request reasons for the refusal and the Minister must give them. See section 13 of the Administrative Decisions (Judicial Review) Act 1977.

             (6)  If the Minister makes a decision under paragraph (4)(b):

                     (a)  the provisions of this Chapter that, because of subsection 74B(2), have ceased to apply to the referral start to apply to the referral; and

                     (b)  for the purposes of the application of those provisions, a day is not to be counted as a business day if it is:

                              (i)  on or after the day the Minister received the referral; and

                             (ii)  on or before the day the Minister makes the decision under paragraph (4)(b).

Note:          If the Minister had already complied with section 74 in relation to the referral before the Minister made the decision under paragraph 74B(1)(b) in relation to the referral, the Minister is not required to comply with section 74 again.


 

Division 2Ministerial decision whether action needs approval

75  Does the proposed action need approval?

Is the action a controlled action?

             (1)  The Minister must decide:

                     (a)  whether the action that is the subject of a proposal referred to the Minister is a controlled action; and

                     (b)  which provisions of Part 3 (if any) are controlling provisions for the action.

Note:          The Minister may revoke a decision made under subsection (1) about an action and substitute a new decision. See section 78.

       (1AA)  To avoid doubt, the Minister is not permitted to make a decision under subsection (1) in relation to an action that was the subject of a referral that was not accepted under subsection 74A(1).

Minister must consider public comment

          (1A)  In making a decision under subsection (1) about the action, the Minister must consider the comments (if any) received:

                     (a)  in response to the invitation under subsection 74(3) for anyone to give the Minister comments on whether the action is a controlled action; and

                     (b)  within the period specified in the invitation.

Considerations in decision

             (2)  If, when the Minister makes a decision under subsection (1), it is relevant for the Minister to consider the impacts of an action:

                     (a)  the Minister must consider all adverse impacts (if any) the action:

                              (i)  has or will have; or

                             (ii)  is likely to have;

                            on the matter protected by each provision of Part 3; and

                     (b)  must not consider any beneficial impacts the action:

                              (i)  has or will have; or

                             (ii)  is likely to have;

                            on the matter protected by each provision of Part 3.

Note:          Impact is defined in section 527E.

          (2A)  For the purposes of subsection (2), if the provision of Part 3 is subsection 15B(3), 15C(5), 15C(6), 23(1), 24A(1), 26(1) or 27A(1), then the impacts of the action on the matter protected by that provision are only those impacts that the part of the action that is taken in or on a Commonwealth area, a Territory, a Commonwealth marine area or Commonwealth land:

                     (a)  has or will have; or

                     (b)  is likely to have;

on the matter.

          (2B)  Without otherwise limiting any adverse impacts that the Minister must consider under paragraph (2)(a), the Minister must not consider any adverse impacts of:

                     (a)  any RFA forestry operation to which, under Division 4 of Part 4, Part 3 does not apply; or

                     (b)  any forestry operations in an RFA region that may, under Division 4 of Part 4, be undertaken without approval under Part 9.

Designating a proponent of the action

             (3)  If the Minister decides that the action is a controlled action, the Minister must designate a person as proponent of the action.

Consent to designation

             (4)  The Minister may designate a person who does not propose to take the action only if:

                     (a)  the person agrees to being designated; and

                     (b)  the person proposing to take the action agrees to the designation.

Timing of decision and designation

             (5)  The Minister must make the decisions under subsection (1) and, if applicable, the designation under subsection (3), within 20 business days after the Minister receives the referral of the proposal to take the action.

Note:          If the Minister decides, under subsection 75(1), that the action is a controlled action, the Minister must, unless the Minister has requested more information under subsection 76(3) or section 89, decide on the approach to be used for assessment of the relevant impacts of the action on the same day as the Minister makes the decision under subsection 75(1)—see subsection 88(2).

Time does not run while further information being sought

             (6)  If the Minister has requested more information under subsection 76(1) or (2) for the purposes of making a decision, a day is not to be counted as a business day for the purposes of subsection (5) if it is:

                     (a)  on or after the day the Minister requested the information; and

                     (b)  on or before the day on which the Minister receives the last of the information requested.

Running of time may be suspended by agreement

             (7)  The Minister and the person proposing to take the action may agree in writing that days within a period worked out in accordance with the agreement are not to be counted as business days for the purposes of subsection (5). If the agreement is made, those days are not to be counted for the purposes of that subsection.

76  Minister may request more information for making decisions

             (1)  If the Minister believes on reasonable grounds that the referral of a proposal to take an action does not include enough information for the Minister to decide:

                     (a)  whether the action is a controlled action; or

                     (b)  which provisions of Part 3 (if any) are controlling provisions for the action;

the Minister may request the person proposing to take the action to provide specified information relevant to making the decision.

             (2)  Before the Minister makes the decisions under subsection 75(1) in relation to the action, the Minister may request the person proposing to take the action to provide information about whether or not the action is a component of a larger action that is proposed to be taken by the person.

             (3)  If the Minister believes on reasonable grounds that the information given to the Minister in relation to the action is not enough to allow the Minister to make an informed decision on the approach to be used for assessment of the relevant impacts of the action, the Minister may request the person proposing to take the action to provide specified information relevant to making the decision.

             (4)  Without limiting subsection (3), if the action is to be taken in a State or self‑governing Territory, the Minister may request the person proposing to take the action to provide information about:

                     (a)  whether the relevant impacts of the action have been, or are being, assessed by the State or Territory; and

                     (b)  if so, the method of assessment that was, or is being, used and what stage the assessment has reached.

             (5)  The Minister may make a request under subsection (3) even if the Minister has not yet made the decisions under subsection 75(1) in relation to the action.

77  Notice and reasons for decision

Giving notice

             (1)  Within 10 business days after deciding whether an action that is the subject of a proposal referred to the Minister is a controlled action or not, the Minister must:

                     (a)  give written notice of the decision to:

                              (i)  the person proposing to take the action; and

                             (ii)  if the Minister has designated as proponent of the action a person who does not propose to take the action—that person; and

                            (iii)  if the Minister decided that the action is a controlled action because of Division 1 of Part 3 (which deals with matters of national environmental significance)—the appropriate Minister of each State or self‑governing Territory in which the action is to be taken; and

                     (b)  publish notice of the decision in accordance with the regulations.

Note 1:       Section 156 sets out rules about time limits.

Note 2:       Subparagraph (1)(a)(iii) also applies to actions to be taken in an area offshore from a State or the Northern Territory. See section 157.

Notice must identify any applicable controlling provisions

             (2)  If the decision is that the action is a controlled action, the notice must identify each of the controlling provisions.

Reasons for decision

             (4)  The Minister must give reasons for the decision to a person who:

                     (a)  has been given the notice; and

                     (b)  within 28 days of being given the notice, has requested the Minister to provide reasons.

The Minister must do so as soon as practicable, and in any case within 28 days of receiving the request.

77A  Action to be taken in a particular manner

             (1)  If, in deciding whether the action is a controlled action or not, the Minister has made a decision (the component decision) that a particular provision of Part 3 is not a controlling provision for the action because the Minister believes it will be taken in a particular manner, the notice, to be provided under section 77, must set out the component decision, identifying the provision and the manner.

Note:          The Minister may decide that a provision of Part 3 is not a controlling provision for an action because he or she believes that the action will be taken in a manner that will ensure the action will not have (and is not likely to have) an adverse impact on the matter protected by the provision.

          (1A)  For the purposes of subsection (1), it does not matter whether or not the Minister believes that the action will be taken in accordance with:

                     (a)  an accredited management arrangement or an accredited authorisation process for the purposes of a declaration under section 33; or

                     (b)  a bioregional plan to which a declaration made under section 37A relates; or

                     (c)  a bilaterally accredited management arrangement or a bilaterally accredited authorisation process for the purposes of a bilateral agreement.

             (2)  A person must not take an action, that is the subject of a notice that includes a particular manner under subsection (1), in a way that is inconsistent with the manner specified in the notice.

Civil penalty:           

                     (a)  for an individual—1,000 penalty units, or such lower amount as is prescribed by the regulations;

                     (b)  for a body corporate—10,000 penalty units, or such lower amount as is prescribed by the regulations.


 

Division 3Reconsideration of decisions

78  Reconsideration of decision

Limited power to vary or substitute decisions

             (1)  The Minister may revoke a decision (the first decision) made under subsection 75(1) about an action and substitute a new decision under that subsection for the first decision, but only if:

                     (a)  the Minister is satisfied that the revocation and substitution is warranted by the availability of substantial new information about the impacts that the action:

                              (i)  has or will have; or

                             (ii)  is likely to have;

                            on a matter protected by a provision of Part 3; or

                    (aa)  the Minister is satisfied that the revocation and substitution is warranted by a substantial change in circumstances that was not foreseen at the time of the first decision and relates to the impacts that the action:

                              (i)  has or will have; or

                             (ii)  is likely to have;

                            on a matter protected by a provision of Part 3; or

                     (b)  the following requirements are met:

                              (i)  the first decision was that the action was not a controlled action because the Minister believed the action would be taken in the manner identified under subsection 77A(1) in the notice given under section 77;

                             (ii)  the Minister is satisfied that the action is not being, or will not be, taken in the manner identified; or

                    (ba)  the following requirements are met:

                              (i)  the first decision was that the action was not a controlled action because of a provision of a bilateral agreement and a management arrangement or an authorisation process that is a bilaterally accredited management arrangement or a bilaterally accredited authorisation process for the purposes of the agreement;

                             (ii)  the provision of the agreement no longer operates in relation to the action, or the management arrangement or authorisation process is no longer in force under, or set out in, a law of a State or a self‑governing Territory identified in or under the agreement; or

                     (c)  the following requirements are met:

                              (i)  the first decision was that the action was not a controlled action because of a declaration under section 33 and a management arrangement or an authorisation process that is an accredited management arrangement or an accredited authorisation process for the purposes of the declaration;

                             (ii)  the declaration no longer operates in relation to the action, or the management arrangement or authorisation process is no longer in operation under, or set out in, a law of the Commonwealth identified in or under the declaration; or

                    (ca)  the following requirements are met:

                              (i)  the first decision was that the action was not a controlled action because of a declaration under section 37A and a bioregional plan to which the declaration relates;

                             (ii)  the declaration no longer operates in relation to the action, or the bioregional plan is no longer in force; or

                     (d)  the Minister is requested under section 79 to reconsider the decision.

Note 1:       Subsection 75(1) provides for decisions about whether an action is a controlled action and what the controlling provisions for the action are.

Note 2:       A person (other than a Minister of a State or self‑governing Territory) may request the Minister to reconsider a decision made under subsection 75(1) about an action on the basis of a matter referred to in any of paragraphs 78(1)(a) to (ca). See section 78A.

Note 3:       If the Minister decides to revoke a decision under subsection (1) and substitute a new decision for it, the Minister is not required to carry out the processes referred to in sections 73 and 74 again before making the new decision.

Reversing decision that provision of Part 3 is not controlling provision

             (2)  A provision of Part 3 letting an action be taken if the Minister has decided that a particular provision (the prohibiting provision) of that Part is not a controlling provision for the action does not prevent the Minister from acting under subsection (1) to revoke a decision that the prohibiting provision is not a controlling provision for an action and substitute a decision that the prohibiting provision is a controlling provision for the action.

Decision not to be revoked after approval granted or refused or action taken

             (3)  The Minister must not revoke the first decision after:

                     (a)  the Minister has granted or refused an approval of the taking of the action; or

                     (b)  the action is taken.

General effect of change of decision

             (4)  When the first decision is revoked and a new decision is substituted for it:

                     (a)  any provisions of this Chapter that applied in relation to the action because of the first decision cease to apply in relation to the action; and

                     (b)  any provisions of this Chapter that are relevant because of the new decision apply in relation to the action.

Change of designation of proponent

             (5)  If the Minister believes a person (the first proponent) designated under section 75 as proponent of an action is no longer an appropriate person to be the designated proponent of the action, the Minister may revoke the designation and designate another person (the later proponent) as proponent of the action.

Consent to designation

             (6)  The Minister may designate the other person as proponent of the action only if:

                     (a)  he or she consents to it and the person proposing to take the action agrees to it; or

                     (b)  the other person is the person proposing to take the action.

Effect of change of designated proponent

             (7)  If the Minister revokes the designation of the first proponent and designates the later proponent:

                     (a)  the provisions of this Chapter that applied to the first proponent cease to apply to the first proponent in relation to the action but apply to the later proponent; and

                     (b)  for the purposes of those provisions the later proponent is taken to have done anything the first proponent did in relation to the action; and

                     (c)  for the purposes of those provisions anything done in relation to the first proponent in relation to the action is taken to have been done in relation to the later proponent.

78A  Request for reconsideration of decision by person other than State or Territory Minister

             (1)  A person (other than a Minister of a State or self‑governing Territory) may request the Minister to reconsider a decision made under subsection 75(1) about an action on the basis of a matter referred to in any of paragraphs 78(1)(a) to (ca).

Note:          Section 79 deals with requests for reconsideration by a Minister of a State or self‑governing Territory.

             (2)  A request under subsection (1) must:

                     (a)  be in writing; and

                     (b)  set out the basis on which the person thinks the decision should be reconsidered; and

                     (c)  if the regulations specify other requirements for requests under subsection (1)—comply with those requirements.

             (3)  If a request is made under subsection (1) in relation to a decision that an action is a controlled action, or that particular provisions are controlling provisions for an action, then:

                     (a)  if the request is made by the designated proponent of the action—Part 8 ceases to apply in relation to the action until the Minister makes a decision in relation to the request; but

                     (b)  if the request is made by another person—the application of Part 8 in relation to the action is not affected by the making of the request (subject to the outcome of the reconsideration).

             (4)  If:

                     (a)  because of paragraph (3)(a), Part 8 has ceased to apply in relation to an action; and

                     (b)  the Minister confirms the decision that is the subject of the request under subsection (1);

then:

                     (c)  the application of Part 8 in relation to the action resumes (as does any assessment process under that Part that had previously commenced in relation to the action); and

                     (d)  for the purposes of the resumed application of Part 8, a day is not to be counted as a business day if it is:

                              (i)  on or after the day the Minister received the request; and

                             (ii)  on or before the day the Minister confirms the decision.

78B  Minister must inform interested persons of request and invite comments

             (1)  The Minister (the Environment Minister) must comply with this section if he or she receives a request under section 78A to reconsider a decision made under subsection 75(1) about an action.

Informing designated proponent of request and inviting comments

             (2)  If the request is made by a person other than the designated proponent of the action, the Environment Minister must:

                     (a)  inform the designated proponent of the request in accordance with subsection (3); and

                     (b)  invite the designated proponent to give the Environment Minister, within 10 business days, comments on the request.

             (3)  For the purpose of paragraph (2)(a), the Environment Minister must inform the designated proponent of the request by giving the designated proponent such information relating to the request as the Minister considers appropriate. The Minister need not (for example) reveal the identity of the person who made the request.

Inviting other Commonwealth Ministers to provide information

             (4)  The Environment Minister must:

                     (a)  inform any other Minister who the Environment Minister believes has administrative responsibilities relating to the action of the request; and

                     (b)  invite each Minister informed to give the Environment Minister, within 10 business days, information about whether a matter referred to in any of paragraphs 78(1)(a) to (ca) is applicable in relation to the action.

Inviting comments from appropriate State or Territory Minister

             (5)  If the request relates to an action proposed to be taken in a State or self‑governing Territory and the Environment Minister thinks the action may have an impact on a matter protected by a provision of Division 1 of Part 3 (about matters of national environmental significance), the Environment Minister must:

                     (a)  inform the appropriate Minister of the State or Territory of the request; and

                     (b)  invite that Minister to give the Environment Minister, within 10 business days:

                              (i)  comments on whether a matter referred to in any of paragraphs 78(1)(a) to (ca) is applicable in relation to the action; and

                             (ii)  any other information that the Minister of the State or Territory considers relevant to the reconsideration.

Note:          Subsection (5) also applies in relation to a request that relates to an action that is to be taken in an area offshore from a State or the Northern Territory. See section 157.

Inviting public comment

             (6)  The Environment Minister must publish on the Internet:

                     (a)  the request; and

                     (b)  an invitation for anyone to give the Environment Minister, within 10 business days (measured in Canberra), comments in writing on whether a matter referred to in any of paragraphs 78(1)(a) to (ca) is applicable in relation to the action.

78C  Minister must reconsider decision and give notice of outcome

Reconsideration of decision

             (1)  As soon as practicable after the end of the time within which information or comments may be given under section 78B in relation to a request under section 78A to reconsider a decision about an action, the Minister must:

                     (a)  reconsider the decision; and

                     (b)  either:

                              (i)  confirm the decision; or

                             (ii)  revoke the decision in accordance with subsection 78(1), and substitute a new decision for it.

Notice of outcome of reconsideration

             (2)  The Minister must give written notice of the outcome of the reconsideration to:

                     (a)  the person who requested the reconsideration; and

                     (b)  the person proposing to take the action (if that person is not the person referred to in paragraph (a)); and

                     (c)  the designated proponent of the action (if the designated proponent is not the person referred to in paragraph (a) or (b)); and

                     (d)  if the reconsideration relates to an action referred to in subsection 78B(5)—the appropriate Minister of the State or Territory.

             (3)  After giving notice as described in subsection (2), the Minister must publish notice of the outcome of the reconsideration. The regulations may specify how the publication is to be made. Subject to any such regulations, the publication must be made in a way the Minister considers appropriate.

Reasons for outcome of reconsideration

             (4)  The Minister must give reasons for the outcome of the reconsideration to a person who:

                     (a)  has been given notice of the outcome of the reconsideration under paragraph (2)(a), (b) or (c); and

                     (b)  within 28 days after being given the notice, has requested the Minister to provide reasons.

The Minister must do so as soon as practicable, and in any case within 28 days after receiving the request.

79  Reconsideration of decision on request by a State or Territory

             (1)  This section applies if the Minister (the Environment Minister) has made a decision under subsection 75(1) about whether a provision of Division 1 of Part 3 is a controlling provision for an action proposed to be taken in a State or a self‑governing Territory.

Note 1:       Division 1 of Part 3 deals with requirements for approvals for actions involving matters of national environmental significance.

Note 2:       This section also applies to actions to be taken in an area offshore from a State or the Northern Territory. See section 157.

             (2)  Within 10 business days after the appropriate Minister of the State or Territory is notified of the decision under subparagraph 77(1)(a)(iii), that Minister may request the Environment Minister to reconsider the Environment Minister’s decisions made under subsection 75(1).

             (3)  Within 20 business days after receiving a request to reconsider a decision, the Environment Minister must:

                     (a)  reconsider the decision; and

                     (b)  either confirm it or revoke it and substitute a new decision for it; and

                     (c)  give written notice of the outcome of the reconsideration and reasons for the outcome to:

                              (i)  the Minister who requested the reconsideration; and

                             (ii)  the person proposing to take the action; and

                            (iii)  the designated proponent of the action; and

                     (d)  after giving notice as described in paragraph (c), publish notice of the outcome and the reasons for it in accordance with the regulations.

Note:          Section 156 sets out rules about time limits.


 

Part 8Assessing impacts of controlled actions

Division 1Simplified outline of this Part

80  Simplified outline of this Part

                   The following is a simplified outline of this Part:

This Part provides for the assessment of impacts of controlled actions, to provide information for decisions whether or not to approve the taking of the actions. However, this Part does not apply to actions that a bilateral agreement or Ministerial declaration says are to be assessed in another way.

For actions that are to be assessed under this Part, the Minister must choose one of the following methods of assessment:

               (a)     an accredited assessment process;

             (aa)     an assessment on referral information (see Division 3A);

               (b)     an assessment on preliminary documentation (see Division 4);

               (c)     a public environment report (see Division 5);

               (d)     an environmental impact statement (see Division 6);

               (e)     a public inquiry (see Division 7).


 

Division 2Application of this Part

81  Application

             (1)  This Part applies to the assessment of the relevant impacts of an action that the Minister has decided under Division 2 of Part 7 is a controlled action.

             (2)  This section has effect subject to sections 83 and 84.

             (3)  This section does not limit section 82.

82  What are the relevant impacts of an action?

If the Minister has decided the action is a controlled action

             (1)  If the Minister has decided under Division 2 of Part 7 that an action is a controlled action, the relevant impacts of the action are the impacts that the action:

                     (a)  has or will have; or

                     (b)  is likely to have;

on the matter protected by each provision of Part 3 that the Minister has decided under that Division is a controlling provision for the action.

If the Minister has not decided whether the action is controlled

             (2)  If an action is a controlled action or would be apart from Division 1, 2, 3 or 3A of Part 4 (which provide that approval under Part 9 is not needed for an action covered by a bilateral agreement or declaration)—the relevant impacts of the action are impacts that the action:

                     (a)  has or will have; or

                     (b)  is likely to have;

on the matter protected by each provision of Part 3 that is a controlling provision for the action or would be apart from whichever of those Divisions is relevant.

Relationship between subsections (1) and (2)

             (3)  Subsection (1) has effect despite subsection (2).

             (4)  For the purposes of subsections (1) and (2), if subsection 15B(3), 15C(5), 15C(6), 23(1), 24A(1), 26(1) or 27A(1) is, or would be, a controlling provision for the action, then the impacts of the action on the matter protected by that provision are only those impacts that the part of the action that is taken in or on a Commonwealth area, a Territory, a Commonwealth marine area or Commonwealth land:

                     (a)  has or will have; or

                     (b)  is likely to have;

on the matter.

83  This Part does not apply if action covered by bilateral agreement

             (1)  This Part does not apply in relation to an action if:

                     (a)  the action is to be taken in a State or self‑governing Territory; and

                     (b)  a bilateral agreement between the Commonwealth and the State or Territory declares that actions in a class that includes the action need not be assessed under this Part; and

                     (c)  the provision of the bilateral agreement making the declaration is in operation in relation to the action.

Note 1:       Subsection (1) also applies to actions to be taken in an area offshore from a State or the Northern Territory. See section 157.

Note 2:       Section 47 deals with bilateral agreements making declarations described in paragraph (1)(b).

Note 2A:    An action will be in a class of actions declared not to need assessment under this Part only if the action has been assessed in a manner specified in the bilateral agreement.

Note 3:       Division 3 of Part 5 explains how the operation of a bilateral agreement may be ended or suspended. Also, under section 49, bilateral agreements do not operate in relation to actions in Commonwealth areas, or actions taken by the Commonwealth or a Commonwealth agency, unless they expressly provide that they do.

             (2)  If the action is to be taken in 2 or more States or self‑governing Territories, this section does not operate unless it operates in relation to each of those States or Territories.

84  This Part does not apply if action covered by declaration

When this Part does not apply

             (1)  This Part does not apply in relation to an action if:

                     (a)  the Minister has declared in writing that actions in a class that includes the action need not be assessed under this Part; and

                     (b)  the declaration is in operation.

Note:          An action will be in a class of actions declared not to need assessment under this Part only if the action has been assessed in a manner specified in the declaration.

Declaration

             (2)  The Minister may declare in writing that actions in a specified class of actions assessed by the Commonwealth or a Commonwealth agency in a specified manner do not require assessment under this Part.

Prerequisites for making a declaration

             (3)  The Minister may make a declaration only if he or she is satisfied that:

                     (a)  assessment of an action in the specified manner will include assessment of the impacts the action:

                              (i)  has or will have; or

                             (ii)  is likely to have;

                            on each matter protected by a provision of Part 3; and

                     (b)  the specified manner of assessment meets the standards (if any) prescribed by the regulations; and

                     (c)  if the taking of an action assessed in the specified manner must be approved under Part 9, he or she will receive a report including, or accompanied by, enough information about the relevant impacts of the action to let him or her make an informed decision whether or not to approve under Part 9 (for the purpose of each controlling provision) the taking of the action.

Further requirements for making a declaration

          (3A)  Sections 34A, 34B, 34BA, 34C, 34D, 34E and 34F apply in relation to the making of a declaration under this section in the same way that they apply to the making of a declaration under section 33.

Specified manner of assessment

             (4)  The manner of assessment that may be specified in a declaration includes assessment by a Commonwealth agency under a law of the Commonwealth. This does not limit subsection (2).

Publishing declaration

             (5)  The Minister must publish a declaration in accordance with the regulations.

Revoking declaration

             (6)  The Minister may, by instrument in writing published in accordance with the regulations, revoke a declaration.

Minister must not give preference

             (7)  In making or revoking a declaration relating to an action taken:

                     (a)  by a person for the purposes of trade between Australia and another country or between 2 States; or

                     (b)  by a constitutional corporation;

the Minister must not give preference (within the meaning of section 99 of the Constitution) to one State or part of a State over another State or part of a State.


 

Division 3Decision on assessment approach

Subdivision ASimplified outline of this Division

85  Simplified outline of this Division

                   The following is a simplified outline of this Division:

The Minister must choose one of the following ways of assessing the relevant impacts of an action the Minister has decided is a controlled action:

               (a)     an accredited assessment process;

             (aa)     an assessment on referral information;

               (b)     an assessment on preliminary documentation;

               (c)     a public environment report;

               (d)     an environmental impact statement;

               (e)     a public inquiry.

Subdivision BDeciding on approach for assessment

87  Minister must decide on approach for assessment

Minister must choose one assessment approach

             (1)  The Minister must decide which one of the following approaches must be used for assessment of the relevant impacts of an action that the Minister has decided is a controlled action:

                     (a)  assessment by an accredited assessment process;

                    (aa)  assessment on referral information under Division 3A;

                     (b)  assessment on preliminary documentation under Division 4;

                     (c)  assessment by public environment report under Division 5;

                     (d)  assessment by environmental impact statement under Division 6;

                     (e)  assessment by inquiry under Division 7.

Considerations in making choice

             (3)  In making the decision, the Minister must consider:

                     (a)  information relating to the action given to the Minister in the referral of the proposal to take the action; and

                     (b)  any other information available to the Minister about the relevant impacts of the action that the Minister considers relevant (including information in a report on the impacts of actions under a policy, plan or program under which the action is to be taken that was given to the Minister under an agreement under Part 10 (about strategic assessments)); and

                     (c)  any relevant information received in response to an invitation under subparagraph 74(2)(b)(ii); and

                     (d)  the matters (if any) prescribed by the regulations; and

                     (e)  the guidelines (if any) published under subsection (6).

Accredited assessment process

             (4)  The Minister may decide on an assessment by an accredited assessment process only if the Minister is satisfied that:

                     (a)  the process is to be carried out under a law of the Commonwealth, a State or a self‑governing Territory; and

                     (b)  the process and the law meet the standards (if any) prescribed by the regulations; and

                     (c)  the process will ensure that the relevant impacts of the action are adequately assessed; and

                     (d)  he or she will receive a report of the outcome of the process that will provide enough information on the relevant impacts of the action to let him or her make an informed decision whether or not to approve under Part 9 (for the purposes of each controlling provision) the taking of the action.

Assessment on referral information

          (4A)  The Minister may decide on an assessment on referral information under Division 3A only if the Minister is satisfied (after considering the matters in subsection (3)) that the action meets the criteria prescribed in the regulations for the purposes of this subsection.

Assessment on preliminary documentation

             (5)  The Minister may decide on an assessment on preliminary documentation under Division 4 only if the Minister is satisfied (after considering the matters in subsection (3)) that that approach will allow the Minister to make an informed decision whether or not to approve under Part 9 (for the purposes of each controlling provision) the taking of the action.

Guidelines for choosing assessment approach

             (6)  The Minister may publish in the Gazette guidelines setting out criteria for deciding which approach must be used for assessing the relevant impacts of an action.

88  Timing of decision on assessment approach

Initial decision

             (1)  The Minister must decide on the approach to be used for assessment of the relevant impacts of the action within 20 business days after the Minister receives the referral of the proposal to take the action.

Note:          Section 156 sets out rules about time limits.

When initial decision must be made

             (2)  The Minister must make the decision under subsection (1) on the same day as the Minister has decided, under subsection 75(1), that the action is a controlled action, unless the Minister has requested more information under subsection 76(3) or section 89 for the purposes of deciding on the approach to be used for assessment of the relevant impacts of the action.

Time does not run while further information sought

             (4)  If the Minister has requested more information in relation to the action under subsection 76(1), (2) or (3) or section 89, a day is not to be counted as a business day for the purposes of subsection (1) if it is:

                     (a)  on or after the day the Minister requested the information; and

                     (b)  on or before the day on which the Minister receives the last of the information requested.

Running of time may be suspended by agreement

             (5)  The Minister and the designated proponent of the action may agree in writing that days within a period worked out in accordance with the agreement are not to be counted as business days for the purposes of subsection (1). If the agreement is made, those days are not to be counted for the purposes of that subsection.

89  Minister may request more information for making decision

             (1)  If the Minister believes on reasonable grounds that the information given to the Minister in relation to an action is not enough to allow the Minister to make an informed decision on the approach to be used for assessment of the relevant impacts of the action, the Minister may request the designated proponent to provide specified information relevant to making the decision.

             (2)  Without limiting subsection (1), if the action is to be taken in a State or self‑governing Territory, the Minister may request the designated proponent of the action to provide information about:

                     (a)  whether the relevant impacts of the action have been, or are being, assessed by the State or Territory; and

                     (b)  if so, the method of assessment that was, or is being, used and what stage the assessment has reached.

             (3)  The Minister may make a request in relation to an action under this section even if the Minister has made a request under subsection 76(3) in relation to the action.

90  Directing an inquiry after starting an assessment

Application

             (1)  This section applies if:

                     (a)  the Minister has made a decision (the first decision) under section 87 that the relevant impacts of an action must be assessed by:

                              (i)  assessment by public environment report under Division 5; or

                             (ii)  assessment by environmental impact statement under Division 6; and

                     (b)  the designated proponent publishes:

                              (i)  a draft report under section 98 (about public environment reports); or

                             (ii)  a draft statement under section 103 (about environmental impact statements).

Revoking and substituting decision

             (2)  The Minister may revoke the first decision and make another decision (the new decision) under section 87 (in substitution for the first decision) that the relevant impacts of the action must be assessed by an inquiry under Division 7.

Effect of revocation and substitution

             (3)  When the first decision is revoked and the new decision is substituted for it:

                     (a)  whichever of Divisions 5 and 6 applied in relation to the action because of the first decision ceases to apply in relation to the action; and

                     (b)  Division 7 applies in relation to the action.

91  Notice of decision on assessment approach

             (1)  Within 10 business days after making a decision on the approach to be used for assessment of the relevant impacts of an action, the Minister must:

                     (a)  give written notice of the decision to:

                              (i)  the person proposing to take the action; and

                            (ia)  the designated proponent of the action (if the designated proponent is not the person proposing to take the action); and

                             (ii)  if the action is to be taken in a State or self‑governing Territory and a controlling provision for the action is in Division 1 of Part 3 (which deals with matters of national environmental significance)—the appropriate Minister of the State or Territory; and

                     (b)  publish notice of the decision in accordance with the regulations.

Note 1:       Section 156 sets out rules about time limits.

Note 2:       Subparagraph (1)(a)(ii) also applies to actions to be taken in an area offshore from a State or the Northern Territory. See section 157.

             (2)  If the Minister decided that the relevant impacts of the action are to be assessed by an accredited assessment process, the written notice and the published notice must specify the process.


 

Division 3AAssessment on referral information

92  Application of this Division

                   This Division applies in relation to an action if the Minister has decided under section 87 that the relevant impacts of the action must be assessed by assessment on referral information under this Division.

93  Recommendation report

             (1)  The Secretary must comply with this section within 30 business days after the Minister makes the decision under section 87.

             (2)  The Secretary must prepare a draft recommendation report that includes recommendations on:

                     (a)  whether the taking of the action should be approved under Part 9; and

                     (b)  if approval is recommended, any conditions that should be attached to the approval.

             (3)  The Secretary must publish on the Internet:

                     (a)  the draft recommendation report; and

                     (b)  an invitation for anyone to give the Secretary, within 10 business days (measured in Canberra), comments in writing relating to the draft recommendation report or the action.

          (3A)  The Secretary may refuse to publish on the Internet, under subsection (3), so much of the draft recommendation report as:

                     (a)  is an exempt document under the Freedom of Information Act 1982 on the grounds of the security of the Commonwealth or its providing advice to the Minister; or

                     (b)  the Secretary is satisfied is commercial‑in‑confidence.

          (3B)  The Secretary must not be satisfied that a part of the draft recommendation report is commercial‑in‑confidence unless a person demonstrates to the Secretary that:

                     (a)  release of the information in that part would cause competitive detriment to the person; and

                     (b)  the information in that part is not in the public domain; and

                     (c)  the information in that part is not required to be disclosed under another law of the Commonwealth, a State or a Territory; and

                     (d)  the information in that part is not readily discoverable.

             (4)  After the end of the period for comment, the Secretary must finalise the draft recommendation report, taking account of any comments received within that period.

             (5)  As soon as practicable after finalising the draft recommendation report, the Secretary must give the Minister:

                     (a)  the finalised recommendation report; and

                     (b)  either:

                              (i)  a copy of any comments received within the period for comment; or

                             (ii)  if no comments were received within that period—a written statement to that effect.


 

Division 4Assessment on preliminary documentation

94  Application of this Division

                   This Division applies in relation to an action if the Minister has decided under section 87 that the relevant impacts of the action must be assessed by assessment on preliminary documentation under this Division.

95  Direction to publish referral information and invitation to comment—no further information required

             (1)  This section applies if the Minister was satisfied, at the time of making the decision (the assessment approach decision) under section 87, that the Minister had enough information in relation to the action to allow the Minister to assess the relevant impacts of the action.

             (2)  At the same time as the Minister gives notice of the assessment approach decision to the designated proponent of the action under paragraph 91(1)(a), the Minister must give the designated proponent a written direction to publish, within the period specified in the direction (not being less than 10 business days), in accordance with the regulations:

                     (a)  specified information included in the referral to the Minister of the proposal to take the action; and

                     (b)  specified information relating to the action that was given to the Minister after the referral but before the Minister made the assessment approach decision; and

                     (c)  an invitation for anyone to give the designated proponent, within the period specified in the direction, comments in writing relating to the information or the action.

             (3)  The designated proponent must comply with the direction.

Note:          If the designated proponent does not comply with the direction, the Minister may take action under section 155.

             (4)  A direction given under subsection (2) is not a legislative instrument.

95A  Direction to publish referral information and invitation to comment—further information required

             (1)  This section applies if the Minister was not satisfied, at the time of making the decision (the assessment approach decision) under section 87, that the Minister had enough information in relation to the action to allow the Minister to assess the relevant impacts of the action.

             (2)  Within 10 business days after the Minister gives notice of the assessment approach decision to the designated proponent of the action under paragraph 91(1)(a), the Minister must request the designated proponent to give the Minister specified information relevant to assessing the relevant impacts of the action, including information about strategies for mitigating any adverse impacts.

             (3)  Within 10 business days after receiving the information requested under subsection (2), the Minister must give the designated proponent a written direction to publish, within the period specified in the direction (not being less than 10 business days), in accordance with the regulations:

                     (a)  specified information included in the referral to the Minister of the proposal to take the action; and

                     (b)  specified information relating to the action that was given to the Minister after the referral but before the Minister made the assessment approach decision; and

                     (c)  specified information relating to the action that was received in response to the Minister’s request under subsection (2); and

                     (d)  an invitation for anyone to give the designated proponent, within the period specified in the direction, comments in writing relating to the information or the action.

             (4)  The designated proponent must comply with the direction.

Note:          If the designated proponent does not comply with the direction, the Minister may take action under section 155.

             (5)  A direction given under subsection (3) is not a legislative instrument.

95B  Procedure after end of period for comment

Procedure if comments are received

             (1)  If comments are received by the designated proponent within the period for comment, the designated proponent must, as soon as practicable after the end of that period:

                     (a)  prepare a document that:

                              (i)  sets out the information given to the Minister previously in relation to the action, with any changes or additions needed to take account of the comments; and

                             (ii)  contains a summary of the comments received and how those comments have been addressed; and

                     (b)  give the Minister:

                              (i)  a copy of the document prepared under paragraph (a); and

                             (ii)  a copy of the comments received.

             (2)  Within 10 business days after the designated proponent has given the Minister the documents referred to in paragraph (1)(b), the designated proponent must publish, in accordance with the regulations, a copy of the document prepared under paragraph (1)(a).

Procedure if no comments are received

             (3)  If no comments are received by the designated proponent within the period for comment, the designated proponent must, as soon as practicable after the end of that period, give the Minister a written statement to that effect.

             (4)  Within 10 business days after the designated proponent has given the Minister the statement referred to in subsection (3), the designated proponent must publish, in accordance with the regulations, a copy of the information referred to in paragraphs 95(2)(a) and (b) or 95A(3)(a), (b) and (c), as the case requires.

Definition

             (5)  In this section:

period for comment means the period within which comments may be given under 95(2)(c) or 95A(3)(d), as the case requires.

95C  Recommendation report

             (1)  The Secretary must prepare, and give to the Minister, a recommendation report relating to the action. The report must include recommendations on:

                     (a)  whether the taking of the action should be approved under Part 9; and

                     (b)  if approval is recommended, any conditions that should be attached to the approval.

             (2)  The recommendation report must be given to the Minister after the Minister receives the documents under subsection 95B(1) or the statement under subsection 95B(3), as the case requires, and before the end of the period applicable under paragraph 130(1B)(c) in relation to the action.

Note:          This is the period within which the Minister must decide whether or not to approve the taking of the action.


 

Division 5Public environment reports

96  Application

                   This Division applies in relation to an action if the Minister has decided under section 87 that the relevant impacts of the action must be assessed by a public environment report under this Division.

96A  Minister must give designated proponent written guidelines for preparation of draft public environment report

             (1)  The Minister must give the designated proponent of the action written guidelines for the preparation of a draft public environment report about the relevant impacts of the action. The guidelines so given are referred to as the PER guidelines.

             (2)  The PER guidelines must be:

                     (a)  one or more sets of standard guidelines prepared under section 96B that the Minister decides are appropriate for the preparation of the draft report in relation to the action; or

                     (b)  if the Minister decides that standard guidelines are not appropriate for the preparation of the draft report in relation to the action—tailored guidelines prepared under section 97.

             (3)  In deciding whether one or more sets of standard guidelines are appropriate for the preparation of the draft report in relation to the action, the Minister must seek to ensure that the draft report, if prepared in accordance with those guidelines, will:

                     (a)  contain enough information about the action and its relevant impacts to allow the Minister to make an informed decision whether or not to approve under Part 9 (for the purposes of each controlling provision) the taking of the action; and

                     (b)  address the matters (if any) prescribed by the regulations.

Note:          Similar considerations apply in relation to tailored guidelines: see subsection 97(2).

             (4)  The Minister must give the PER guidelines to the designated proponent:

                     (a)  within 20 business days after the assessment approach decision was made under section 87; or

                     (b)  if the Minister, under section 97, invites a person to comment on a draft of tailored guidelines for the preparation of the draft report within a specified period—within 20 business days after:

                              (i)  the end of that period; or

                             (ii)  if there is more than one such period, the end of the later or latest of those periods.

96B  Standard guidelines

             (1)  The Minister may prepare one or more sets of standard guidelines, in writing, for the preparation of draft public environment reports about the relevant impacts of actions.

Note:          See also subsection 96A(3).

             (2)  A set of standard guidelines must set out requirements for the content and presentation of draft public environment reports about the relevant impacts of actions.

             (3)  Without limiting subsections (1) and (2), a set of standard guidelines may relate to:

                     (a)  actions that are proposed to be taken by a specified industry sector; or

                     (b)  actions for which a specified provision of Part 3 is a controlling provision.

             (4)  A set of standard guidelines made under this section is not a legislative instrument.

97  Tailored guidelines

             (1)  The Minister must prepare tailored guidelines, in writing, for the preparation of a draft public environment report about the relevant impacts of an action if the Minister decides that standard guidelines are not appropriate for the preparation of the draft report in relation to that action.

          (1A)  Tailored guidelines must set out requirements for the content and presentation of the draft report in relation to the action.

             (2)  In preparing tailored guidelines, the Minister must seek to ensure that the draft report will:

                     (a)  contain enough information about the action and its relevant impacts to allow the Minister to make an informed decision whether or not to approve under Part 9 (for the purposes of each controlling provision) the taking of the action; and

                     (b)  address the matters (if any) prescribed by the regulations.

             (3)  Tailored guidelines may also provide for the draft report to include information about other certain and likely impacts of the action if:

                     (a)  the action is to be taken in a State or self‑governing Territory; and

                     (b)  the appropriate Minister of the State or Territory has asked the Minister administering this section to ensure that the draft report includes information about those other impacts to help the State or Territory, or an agency of the State or Territory, make decisions about the action; and

                     (c)  the action:

                              (i)  is to be taken by any person for the purposes of trade or commerce between Australia and another country, between 2 States, between a State and a Territory or between 2 Territories or by a constitutional corporation; or

                             (ii)  is an action whose regulation is appropriate and adapted to give effect to Australia’s obligations under an agreement with one or more other countries.

Note:          Paragraph (3)(a) also applies to actions to be taken in an area offshore from a State or the Northern Territory. See section 157.

             (4)  Division 2 does not limit:

                     (a)  subsection (3); or

                     (b)  section 98 so far as it relates to tailored guidelines prepared in reliance on that subsection.

             (5)  In preparing tailored guidelines, the Minister may:

                     (a)  invite anyone to comment on a draft of tailored guidelines within a period specified by the Minister; and

                     (b)  take account of the comments received (if any).

             (6)  Tailored guidelines made under this section are not a legislative instrument.

98  Designated proponent must invite comment on draft public environment report

Designated proponent’s obligations

             (1)  The designated proponent of the action must:

                     (a)  prepare a draft public environment report in accordance with the PER guidelines about:

                              (i)  the relevant impacts of the action; and

                             (ii)  if the PER guidelines are tailored guidelines that require the draft report to include information about other impacts—those other impacts; and

                    (ab)  give the draft report to the Minister; and

                     (b)  obtain the Minister’s approval for publication of the draft report; and

                     (c)  publish in accordance with the regulations:

                              (i)  the draft report; and

                             (ii)  an invitation for anyone to give the designated proponent comments in writing relating to the draft report or the action within the period specified in the invitation.

Approval of publication of draft report

             (2)  The Minister may only approve the publication of the draft report if he or she is satisfied that the draft report is in accordance with the PER guidelines.

Period for comment

             (3)  The period specified in the invitation to comment must be the period specified in writing given by the Minister to the designated proponent. The Minister must not specify a period of less than 20 business days.

99  Finalising public environment report

             (1)  After the end of the period specified in the invitation to comment under section 98, the designated proponent must finalise the draft public environment report.

             (2)  The finalised report must:

                     (a)  take account of any comments received within the period for comment; and

                     (b)  contain a summary of any such comments and how those comments have been addressed.

             (3)  As soon as practicable after finalising the draft report, the designated proponent must give the Minister:

                     (a)  the finalised report; and

                     (b)  either:

                              (i)  a copy of any comments received within the period for comment; or

                             (ii)  if no comments were received within that period—a written statement to that effect.

             (4)  Within 10 business days after the designated proponent has given the Minister the documents required under subsection (3), the designated proponent must publish the finalised report in accordance with the regulations.

100  Recommendation report

             (1)  The Secretary must prepare, and give to the Minister, a recommendation report relating to the action. The report must include recommendations on:

                     (a)  whether the taking of the action should be approved under Part 9; and

                     (b)  if approval is recommended, any conditions that should be attached to the approval.

             (2)  The recommendation report must be given to the Minister after the Minister receives the finalised public environment report under section 99 and before the end of the period applicable under paragraph 130(1B)(d) in relation to the action.

Note:          This is the period within which the Minister must decide whether or not to approve the taking of the action.


 

Division 6Environmental impact statements

101  Application

                   This Division applies in relation to an action if the Minister has decided under section 87 that the relevant impacts of the action must be assessed by an environmental impact statement under this Division.

101A  Minister must give designated proponent written guidelines for preparation of draft environmental impact statement

             (1)  The Minister must give the designated proponent of the action written guidelines for the preparation of a draft environmental impact statement about the relevant impacts of the action. The guidelines so given are referred to as the EIS guidelines.

             (2)  The EIS guidelines must be:

                     (a)  one or more sets of standard guidelines prepared under section 101B that the Minister decides are appropriate for the preparation of the draft statement in relation to the action; or

                     (b)  if the Minister decides that standard guidelines are not appropriate for the preparation of the draft statement in relation to the action—tailored guidelines prepared under section 102.

             (3)  In deciding whether one or more sets of standard guidelines are appropriate for the preparation of the draft statement in relation to the action, the Minister must seek to ensure that the draft statement, if prepared in accordance with those guidelines, will:

                     (a)  contain enough information about the action and its relevant impacts to allow the Minister to make an informed decision whether or not to approve under Part 9 (for the purposes of each controlling provision) the taking of the action; and

                     (b)  address the matters (if any) prescribed by the regulations.

Note:          Similar considerations apply in relation to tailored guidelines: see subsection 102(2).

             (4)  The Minister must give the EIS guidelines to the designated proponent:

                     (a)  within 20 business days after the assessment approach decision was made under section 87; or

                     (b)  if the Minister, under section 102, invites a person to comment on a draft of tailored guidelines for the preparation of the draft statement within a specified period—within 20 business days after:

                              (i)  the end of that period; or

                             (ii)  if there is more than one such period, the end of the later or latest of those periods.

101B  Standard guidelines

             (1)  The Minister may prepare one or more sets of standard guidelines, in writing, for the preparation of draft environmental impact statements about the relevant impacts of actions.

Note:          See also subsection 101A(3).

             (2)  A set of standard guidelines must set out requirements for the content and presentation of draft environmental impact statements about the relevant impacts of actions.

             (3)  Without limiting subsections (1) and (2), a set of standard guidelines may relate to:

                     (a)  actions that are proposed to be taken by a specified industry sector; or

                     (b)  actions for which a specified provision of Part 3 is a controlling provision.

             (4)  A set of standard guidelines made under this section is not a legislative instrument.

102  Tailored guidelines

             (1)  The Minister must prepare tailored guidelines, in writing, for the preparation of a draft environmental impact statement about the relevant impacts of an action if the Minister decides that standard guidelines are not appropriate for the preparation of the draft statement in relation to that action.

          (1A)  Tailored guidelines must set out requirements for the content and presentation of the draft statement in relation to the action.

             (2)  In preparing tailored guidelines, the Minister must seek to ensure that the draft statement will:

                     (a)  contain enough information about the action and its relevant impacts to allow the Minister to make an informed decision whether or not to approve under Part 9 (for the purposes of each controlling provision) the taking of the action; and

                     (b)  address any matters specified by the regulations.

             (3)  Tailored guidelines may also provide for the draft statement to include information about other certain and likely impacts of an action if:

                     (a)  the action is to be taken in a State or self‑governing Territory; and

                     (b)  the appropriate Minister of the State or Territory has asked the Minister administering this section to ensure that the draft statement includes information about those other impacts to help the State or Territory, or an agency of the State or Territory, make decisions about the action; and

                     (c)  the action:

                              (i)  is to be taken by any person for the purposes of trade or commerce between Australia and another country, between 2 States, between a State and a Territory or between 2 Territories or by a constitutional corporation; or

                             (ii)  is an action whose regulation is appropriate and adapted to give effect to Australia’s obligations under an agreement with one or more other countries.

Note:          Paragraph (3)(a) also applies to actions to be taken in an area offshore from a State or the Northern Territory. See section 157.

             (4)  Division 2 does not limit:

                     (a)  subsection (3); or

                     (b)  section 103 so far as it relates to tailored guidelines prepared in reliance on that subsection.

             (5)  In preparing tailored guidelines, the Minister may:

                     (a)  invite anyone to comment on a draft of tailored guidelines within a period specified by the Minister; and

                     (b)  take account of the comments (if any) received.

             (6)  Tailored guidelines made under this section are not a legislative instrument.

103  Designated proponent must invite comment on draft environmental impact statement

Designated proponent’s obligations

             (1)  The designated proponent of the action must:

                     (a)  prepare a draft environmental impact statement in accordance with the EIS guidelines about:

                              (i)  the relevant impacts of the action; and

                             (ii)  if the EIS guidelines are tailored guidelines that require the draft statement to include information about other impacts—those other impacts; and

                    (ab)  give the draft statement to the Minister; and

                     (b)  obtain the Minister’s approval for publication of the draft statement; and

                     (c)  publish in accordance with the regulations:

                              (i)  the draft statement; and

                             (ii)  an invitation for anyone to give the designated proponent comments in writing relating to the draft statement or the action within the period specified in the invitation.

Approval of publication of draft statement

             (2)  The Minister may only approve the publication of the draft statement if he or she is satisfied that the draft statement is in accordance with the EIS guidelines.

Period for comment

             (3)  The period specified in the invitation to comment must be the period specified in writing given by the Minister to the designated proponent. The Minister must not specify a period of less than 20 business days.

104  Finalising environmental impact statement

             (1)  After the end of the period specified in the invitation to comment under section 103, the designated proponent must finalise the draft environmental impact statement.

             (2)  The finalised statement must:

                     (a)  take account of any comments received within the period for comment; and

                     (b)  contain a summary of any such comments and how those comments have been addressed.

             (3)  As soon as practicable after finalising the draft statement, the designated proponent must give the Minister:

                     (a)  the finalised statement; and

                     (b)  either:

                              (i)  a copy of any comments received within the period for comment; or

                             (ii)  if no comments were received within that period—a written statement to that effect.

             (4)  Within 10 business days after the designated proponent has given the Minister the documents required under subsection (3), the designated proponent must publish the finalised statement in accordance with the regulations.

105  Recommendation report

             (1)  The Secretary must prepare, and give to the Minister, a recommendation report relating to the action. The report must include recommendations on:

                     (a)  whether the taking of the action should be approved under Part 9; and

                     (b)  if approval is recommended, any conditions that should be attached to the approval.

             (2)  The recommendation report must be given to the Minister after the Minister receives the finalised environmental impact statement under section 104 and before the end of the period applicable under paragraph 130(1B)(d) in relation to the action.

Note:          This is the period within which the Minister must decide whether or not to approve the taking of the action.


 

Division 7Inquiries

Subdivision APreliminary

106  Simplified outline

                   The following is a simplified outline of this Division:

This Division provides for the Minister to appoint commissions to carry out inquiries in a flexible way into the impacts of actions.

Commissioners have powers to call witnesses, obtain documents and inspect places for the purposes of their inquiries.

Commissioners must report to the Minister and publish their reports.

Subdivision BEstablishment of inquiries

107  Appointing commissioners and setting terms of reference

             (1)  If the Minister decides that the relevant impacts of an action must be assessed by inquiry under this Division, the Minister must:

                     (a)  appoint in writing one or more persons (the commissioners) as a commission to conduct the inquiry and report to the Minister in relation to the action; and

                     (b)  specify in writing (the terms of reference):

                              (i)  the matters relating to the action that are to be the subject of the inquiry and report; and

                             (ii)  the period within which the commission must report to the Minister.

Note 1:       The Minister may revoke an appointment and amend terms of reference. See subsection 33(3) of the Acts Interpretation Act 1901.

Note 2:       Subdivision E contains more provisions about the basis on which a commissioner holds office.

             (2)  If the Minister appoints 2 or more commissioners for an inquiry, the Minister must appoint one of them to preside at the inquiry.

             (3)  In specifying in the terms of reference the matters relating to the action that are to be the subject of the inquiry and report, the Minister:

                     (a)  must specify the relevant impacts of the action; and

                     (b)  may specify other certain or likely impacts of the action.

             (4)  However, the Minister may specify other certain or likely impacts of the action only if:

                     (a)  the action is to be taken in a State or self‑governing Territory; and

                     (b)  the appropriate Minister of the State or Territory has asked the Minister administering this section to ensure that the inquiry reports on those other impacts to help the State or Territory, or an agency of the State or Territory, make decisions about the action; and

                     (c)  the action:

                              (i)  is to be taken by any person for the purposes of trade or commerce between Australia and another country, between 2 States, between a State and a Territory or between 2 Territories or by a constitutional corporation; or

                             (ii)  is an action whose regulation is appropriate and adapted to give effect to Australia’s obligations under an agreement with one or more other countries.

Note:          Paragraph (4)(a) also applies to actions to be taken in an area offshore from a State or the Northern Territory. See section 157.

             (5)  The Minister may also specify in the terms of reference the manner in which the commission is to carry out the inquiry.

108  Publicising inquiry

             (1)  As soon as practicable, the commission must publish in accordance with the regulations and in any other way it thinks fit:

                     (a)  the terms of reference; and

                     (b)  the information relating to the action given to the Minister under this Chapter before the Minister made the decision under Division 3 to use an inquiry to assess the relevant impacts of the action.

             (2)  The commission need not publish the information described in paragraph (1)(b) if, before the Minister appointed the commission, the designated proponent of the action published:

                     (a)  a draft report under section 98 (which deals with draft public environment reports); or

                     (b)  a draft statement under section 103 (which deals with draft environmental impact statements).

However, in this case the commission must publish as described in subsection (1) notice of the fact that the draft report or draft statement has already been published.

Subdivision CConduct of inquiries

109  Procedure of inquiries

             (1)  A commission must comply with the terms of reference in conducting its inquiry.

             (2)  Subject to this Division, a commission:

                     (a)  may determine the procedure to be followed in its inquiry; and

                     (b)  is not subject to any directions by an employee of the Commonwealth or by a Commonwealth agency; and

                     (c)  is not bound by the rules of evidence.

110  Inquiry to be public

             (1)  A hearing held as part of an inquiry must be conducted in public, except so far as the commission directs otherwise.

             (2)  The commission must make publicly available (in any way the commission thinks fit) the content of any submission or evidence given to the commission in writing, except so far as the commission directs otherwise.

             (3)  If the commission believes that it is desirable in the public interest, the commission may:

                     (a)  give directions that all or part of the inquiry be held in private, specifying the persons who may be present; and

                     (b)  give directions prohibiting or restricting the publication of all or specified passages of submissions or evidence given to the commission orally or in writing.

111  Calling witnesses

Summoning witnesses

             (1)  A commissioner may, by writing signed by the commissioner, summon a person to appear before the commission at a time and place specified in the summons to give evidence and produce any documents mentioned in the summons.

Failure of witness to attend

             (2)  A person served with a summons to appear as a witness at an inquiry by a commission must not:

                     (a)  fail to attend as required by the summons; or

                     (b)  fail to appear and report from day to day unless excused or released from further attendance by or on behalf of the commission.

Note:          A defendant bears an evidential burden in relation to the excuse or release from further attendance mentioned in paragraph (2)(b). See subsection 13.3(3) of the Criminal Code.

Offence

             (3)  A person who contravenes subsection (2) is guilty of an offence punishable on conviction by imprisonment for not more than 6 months, a fine of not more than 30 penalty units, or both.

Allowances for witnesses

             (4)  A person summoned by a commission to appear as a witness at an inquiry is entitled to be paid by the Commonwealth such allowances for travelling and other expenses as are prescribed by the regulations.

112  Dealing with witnesses

Power to administer oath or affirmation

             (1)  A commissioner may administer an oath or affirmation to a person appearing as a witness before the commission.

Note:          This means that proceedings before the commission are judicial proceedings for the purposes of Part III of the Crimes Act 1914, which creates various offences relating to judicial proceedings.

Refusal to be sworn or to answer questions

             (2)  A person appearing as a witness at an inquiry by a commission must not:

                     (a)  refuse or fail to be sworn or to make an affirmation; or

                     (b)  refuse or fail to answer a question that the person is required to answer by the commissioner (or the commissioner presiding at the inquiry if there is more than one commissioner for the inquiry); or

                     (c)  refuse or fail to produce a document that the person was required to produce by a summons served on the person.

Offence

             (3)  A person who contravenes subsection (2) is guilty of an offence punishable on conviction by imprisonment for not more than 6 months, a fine of not more than 30 penalty units, or both.

Note:          Subsection 4B(3) of the Crimes Act 1914 lets a court fine a body corporate up to 5 times the maximum amount the court could fine a person under this subsection.

No privilege against self‑incrimination

             (4)  An individual is not excused from answering a question or producing a document on the ground that answering the question or producing the document would tend to incriminate the individual or to expose the individual to a penalty.

Answers and documents cannot be used in criminal proceedings

             (5)  However, none of the following is admissible in evidence in criminal proceedings against the individual (except proceedings under section 491):

                     (a)  the answer to the question;

                     (b)  the production of the document;

                     (c)  any information, document or thing obtained as a direct or indirect consequence of answering the question or producing the document.

Sworn witnesses may also give written evidence on oath

             (6)  A commission may permit a person who is appearing as a witness before the commission and has been sworn or has made an affirmation to give evidence by tendering a written statement and verifying it by oath or affirmation.

113  Dealing with documents given to commission

Inspecting and copying documents produced or given at inquiry

             (1)  A commissioner, or a person assisting a commission and authorised by a commissioner to do so, may:

                     (a)  inspect a document produced or given to the commission; and

                     (b)  make a copy of, or take an extract from, the document.

Keeping documents produced or given at inquiry

             (2)  A commission may keep for a reasonable period a document produced or given to the commission.

114  Inspections of land, buildings and places

             (1)  If a commissioner, or a person authorised by a commissioner, enters any land, building or place by consent as described in section 115 or under a warrant issued under section 116, the commissioner or person may:

                     (a)  inspect the land, building or place; and

                     (b)  inspect any material on the land, or on or in the building or place.

             (2)  However, the commissioner or authorised person may not make the inspection if:

                     (a)  the person occupying or in charge of the land, building or place asks the commissioner or authorised person to produce his or her identity card or other written evidence of his or her identity; and

                     (b)  the commissioner or person does not produce it.

             (3)  A person (the offender) is guilty of an offence punishable on conviction by imprisonment for not more than 6 months if:

                     (a)  the offender obstructs or hinders another person; and

                     (b)  the offender knows the other person is a commissioner, or a person authorised by a commissioner, acting under subsection (1) or a warrant issued under section 116.

Note 1:       Chapter 2 of the Criminal Code sets out the general principles of criminal responsibility.

Note 2:       Subsection 4B(2) of the Crimes Act 1914 lets a court that convicts an individual of an offence impose a fine instead of, or as well as, imprisonment. The maximum fine (in penalty units) the court can impose is 5 times the maximum term of imprisonment (in months).

115  Entering premises by consent

             (1)  A commissioner, or a person authorised by a commissioner, may enter land, a building or a place at any reasonable time for any reasonable purpose of an inquiry, if the person (the occupant) occupying or in charge of the land, building or place consents.

             (2)  Before obtaining the consent, the commissioner or authorised person must inform the occupant that the occupant may refuse to give consent.

             (3)  The commissioner or authorised person may not enter the land, building or place if:

                     (a)  the occupant asks the commissioner or authorised person to produce his or her identity card or other written evidence of his or her identity; and

                     (b)  the commissioner or authorised person does not produce it.

             (4)  An entry by a commissioner or authorised person with the occupant’s consent is not lawful if the occupant’s consent was not voluntary.

116  Entering premises under warrant

             (1)  A commissioner may apply to a magistrate for a warrant authorising the commissioner or a person authorised by the commissioner to enter any land, building or place if the commissioner has reason to believe that it is necessary or desirable for the purposes of an inquiry for the commissioner or person to enter the land, building or place for the purposes of the inquiry.

Note:          Section 117 allows applications for warrants to be made by telephone.

             (2)  If the magistrate is satisfied by information on oath or affirmation that the issue of the warrant is reasonably required for the purposes of the inquiry, he or she may grant a warrant authorising the person named in the warrant to enter the land, building or place for the purposes specified in the warrant.

             (3)  The magistrate must specify in the warrant the date after which the warrant ceases to have effect.

             (4)  The person named in a warrant may not enter the land, building or place if:

                     (a)  the person occupying or in charge of the land, building or place asks the person named in the warrant to produce his or her identity card or other written evidence of his or her identity; and

                     (b)  the person named in the warrant does not produce it.

117  Warrants by telephone or other electronic means

Application

             (1)  A commissioner may apply to a magistrate for a warrant by telephone, telex, facsimile or other electronic means:

                     (a)  in an urgent case; or

                     (b)  if the delay that would occur if an application were made in person would frustrate the effective execution of the warrant.

Voice communication

             (2)  The magistrate may require communication by voice to the extent that is practicable in the circumstances.

Information

             (3)  An application under this section must include all information required to be provided in an ordinary application for a warrant, but the application may, if necessary, be made before the information is sworn or affirmed.

Issue of warrant

             (4)  The magistrate may complete and sign the same form of warrant that would be issued under section 116 if, after considering the information and having received and considered any further information he or she required, the magistrate is satisfied that:

                     (a)  a warrant in the terms of the application should be issued urgently; or

                     (b)  the delay that would occur if an application were made in person would frustrate the effective execution of the warrant.

Notification

             (5)  If the magistrate decides to issue the warrant, the magistrate must inform the applicant, by telephone, telex, facsimile or other electronic means, of the terms of the warrant and the day on which and the time at which it was signed.

Form of warrant

             (6)  The applicant must then complete a form of warrant in terms substantially corresponding to those given by the magistrate, stating on the form the name of the magistrate and the day on which and the time at which the warrant was signed.

Completed form of warrant to be given to magistrate

             (7)  The applicant must, not later than the day after the day of expiry of the warrant or the day after the day on which the warrant was executed, whichever is the earlier, give or transmit to the magistrate:

                     (a)  the form of warrant completed by the applicant; and

                     (b)  if the information referred to in subsection (3) was not sworn or affirmed—that information duly sworn or affirmed.

Attachment

             (8)  The magistrate must attach to the documents provided under subsection (7) the form of warrant completed by the magistrate.

Presumption

             (9)  If:

                     (a)  it is material, in any proceedings, for a court to be satisfied that the exercise of a power under a warrant issued under this section was duly authorised; and

                     (b)  the form of warrant signed by the magistrate is not produced in evidence;

the court is to assume, unless the contrary is proved, that the exercise of the power was not duly authorised.

118  Identity cards

             (1)  The Minister may cause to be issued to a commissioner or a person authorised by a commissioner an identity card:

                     (a)  in a form approved by the Minister; and

                     (b)  containing a recent photograph of the person to whom it is issued.

             (2)  As soon as practicable after the commission to which the commissioner was appointed has reported to the Minister on its inquiry, the commissioner or authorised person must return his or her identity card to the Minister.

             (3)  A person must not contravene subsection (2).

Penalty:  1 penalty unit.

119  Contempt

             (1)  A person is guilty of an offence punishable on conviction by a fine of not more than 30 penalty units if:

                     (a)  the person insults, disturbs or uses insulting language towards another person; and

                     (b)  the person knows the other person is a commissioner exercising the powers or performing the functions or duties of a commissioner.

             (2)  A person is guilty of an offence punishable on conviction by a fine of not more than 30 penalty units if:

                     (a)  the person creates a disturbance, or takes part in creating or continuing a disturbance, in or near a place; and

                     (b)  the person knows the place is a place where a commission is holding an inquiry.

             (3)  A person must not:

                     (a)  interrupt an inquiry by a commission; or

                     (b)  do any other act or thing that would, if a commission were a court of record, constitute a contempt of that court.

Penalty:  30 penalty units.

120  Protection of commissioners and witnesses

Protection of commissioners

             (1)  In performing his or her duties as a commissioner, a commissioner has the same protection and immunity as a Justice of the High Court.

Rights and obligations of witnesses

             (2)  A person appearing before a commission as a witness at an inquiry:

                     (a)  has the same protection as a witness in proceedings in the High Court; and

                     (b)  is subject to the same liabilities in any civil or criminal proceedings as such a witness (in addition to the penalties provided by this Division).

Interfering with witness is an offence

             (3)  A person must not:

                     (a)  use violence to or inflict injury on; or

                     (b)  cause or procure violence, damage, loss or disadvantage to; or

                     (c)  cause or procure the punishment of;

another person (the witness) because the witness will appear or did appear as a witness at an inquiry or because of any submission or evidence the witness gave to a commission.

Interference with a witness’ employment

             (4)  An employer must not dismiss an employee, or prejudice an employee in his or her employment, because the employee appeared as a witness or gave any submission or evidence at an inquiry by a commission.

Interference with employee who proposes to give evidence

             (5)  An employer must not dismiss or threaten to dismiss an employee or prejudice, or threaten to prejudice, an employee in his or her employment, because the employee proposes to appear as a witness or to give a submission or evidence at an inquiry by a commission.

Offences

             (6)  A person who contravenes subsection (3), (4) or (5) is guilty of an offence punishable on conviction by imprisonment for not more than 6 months, a fine of not more than 30 penalty units, or both.

Note:          Subsection 4B(3) of the Crimes Act 1914 lets a court fine a body corporate up to 5 times the maximum amount the court could fine a person under this subsection.

Burden of proof in proceedings relating to witness

             (7)  In proceedings arising out of subsection (4), the employer has the burden of proving that the employee was not dismissed or prejudiced because the employee appeared as a witness or gave a submission or evidence at an inquiry by a commission, if it is established that:

                     (a)  the employee was dismissed from, or prejudiced in, his or her employment; and

                     (b)  before the employee was dismissed or prejudiced, the employee appeared as a witness, or gave any submission or evidence, at an inquiry by a commission.

Burden of proof in proceedings relating to employee proposing to give evidence

             (8)  In any proceedings arising out of subsection (5), the employer has the burden of proving that the employee was not dismissed, prejudiced in his or her employment or threatened with dismissal or prejudice because the employee proposed to appear as a witness or give evidence at an inquiry by a commission, if it is established that:

                     (a)  the employee was dismissed, prejudiced or threatened; and

                     (b)  the employee made the proposal before the employee was dismissed, prejudiced or threatened.

Relationship of subsections (3), (4) and (5)

             (9)  Subsections (4) and (5) do not limit subsection (3).

Subdivision DInquiry reports

121  Timing of report

                   The commission must report to the Minister on the inquiry within the period specified by the Minister in the terms of reference.

122  Publication of report

             (1)  After reporting to the Minister, the commission must publish the report in accordance with the regulations.

             (2)  However, the commission must not publish the report so far as it sets out any submission or evidence whose publication the commission prohibited or restricted by a direction under paragraph 110(3)(b).

Subdivision ECommissioners’ terms and conditions

123  Basis of appointment

             (1)  A commissioner is to be appointed on a full‑time basis or a part‑time basis.

             (2)  A commissioner appointed on a full‑time basis must not engage in paid employment outside the duties of the commissioner’s office without the Minister’s approval.

             (3)  A commissioner appointed on a part‑time basis must not engage in any paid employment that, in the Minister’s opinion, conflicts or may conflict with the proper performance of the commissioner’s duties.

124  Remuneration

             (1)  A commissioner who is not appointed or engaged under the Public Service Act 1999 is to be paid the remuneration that is determined by the Remuneration Tribunal. If no determination of that remuneration is in operation, the commissioner is to be paid the remuneration that is prescribed.

             (2)  A commissioner is to be paid the allowances that are prescribed.

             (3)  This section has effect subject to the Remuneration Tribunal Act 1973.

125  Leave of absence

             (1)  A commissioner appointed on a full‑time basis has the recreation leave entitlements that are determined by the Remuneration Tribunal.

             (2)  The Minister may grant a commissioner appointed on a full‑time basis leave of absence, other than recreation leave, on the terms and conditions as to remuneration or otherwise that the Minister determines.

             (3)  The commissioner (the presiding commissioner) appointed to preside at an inquiry may grant leave of absence to any other commissioner for the inquiry on the terms and conditions that the presiding commissioner determines, if the other commissioner has been appointed on a part‑time basis.

126  Resignation

                   A commissioner may resign his or her appointment by giving the Minister a written resignation.

127  Termination of appointment

             (1)  The Minister may terminate a commissioner’s appointment for misbehaviour or physical or mental incapacity.

             (2)  The Minister must terminate the appointment of a commissioner if:

                     (a)  the commissioner:

                              (i)  becomes bankrupt; or

                             (ii)  applies to take the benefit of any law for the relief of bankrupt or insolvent debtors; or

                            (iii)  compounds with his or her creditors; or

                            (iv)  makes an assignment of his or her remuneration for the benefit of his or her creditors; or

                     (b)  the commissioner fails, without reasonable excuse, to comply with section 128 (about disclosure of interests); or

                     (c)  the Minister becomes aware that the commissioner has a pecuniary or other interest in the subject‑matter of the inquiry and the Minister considers that the commissioner should not continue to participate in the conduct of the inquiry.

             (3)  The Minister must terminate the appointment of a commissioner on a full‑time basis if:

                     (a)  the commissioner is absent, except on leave of absence, for 14 consecutive days or for 28 days in any 12 months; or

                     (b)  the commissioner engages, except with the Minister’s approval, in paid employment outside the duties of his or her office.

             (4)  The Minister must terminate the appointment of a commissioner on a part‑time basis if:

                     (a)  the commissioner is absent, except on leave of absence, from 3 consecutive meetings of his or her commission (if it consists of 2 or more commissioners); or

                     (b)  the commissioner engages in paid employment that, in the Minister’s opinion, conflicts or could conflict with the proper performance of the duties of his or her office.

128  Disclosure of interests

             (1)  A commissioner must give written notice to the Minister of all direct and indirect pecuniary interests that he or she has or acquires in a business or in a body corporate carrying on a business.

             (2)  If a commissioner has or acquires an interest, pecuniary or otherwise, that could conflict with the proper performance of his or her duties, he or she must:

                     (a)  inform the Minister of the interest; and

                     (b)  ensure that the interest is disclosed in the report of his or her inquiry.

129  Other terms and conditions

                   A commissioner holds office on the terms and conditions (if any) in relation to matters not covered by this Act that are determined by the Minister.


 

Part 9Approval of actions

Division 1Decisions on approval and conditions

Subdivision AGeneral

130  Timing of decision on approval

Basic rule

             (1)  The Minister must decide whether or not to approve, for the purposes of each controlling provision for a controlled action, the taking of the action.

          (1A)  The Minister must make the decision within the relevant period specified in subsection (1B) that relates to the controlled action, or such longer period as the Minister specifies in writing.

          (1B)  The relevant period, in relation to a controlled action, is as follows:

                     (a)  if the action is the subject of an assessment report—the period of 30 business days beginning on the first business day after the Minister receives the assessment report;

                     (b)  if Division 3A of Part 8 (assessment on referral information) applies to the action—the period of 20 business days beginning on the first business day after the Minister receives the finalised recommendation report under subsection 93(5);

                     (c)  if Division 4 of Part 8 (assessment on preliminary documentation) applies to the action—the period of 40 business days beginning on the first business day after the Minister receives the documents under subsection 95B(1) or the statement under subsection 95B(3), as the case requires;

                     (d)  if Division 5 (public environment reports) or Division 6 (environmental impact statements) of Part 8 applies to the action—the period of 40 business days beginning on the first business day after the Minister receives the finalised public environment report or the finalised environmental impact statement, as the case requires;

                     (e)  if a commission has conducted an inquiry relating to the action—the period of 40 business days beginning on the first business day after the Minister receives the report of the commission.

What is an assessment report?

             (2)  An assessment report is a report given to the Minister as described in:

                     (a)  subsection 47(4) (about assessments under a bilateral agreement); or

                     (b)  subsection 84(3) (about assessments in a manner specified in a declaration); or

                     (c)  subsection 87(4) (about assessments by accredited assessment processes).

Notice of extension of time

             (4)  If the Minister specifies a longer period for the purposes of subsection (1A), he or she must:

                     (a)  give a copy of the specification to the person proposing to take the action; and

                     (b)  publish the specification in accordance with the regulations.

Time does not run while further information is sought

             (5)  If, under section 132, the Minister has requested more information for the purposes of making a decision whether or not to approve the taking of an action, a day is not to be counted as a business day for the purposes of subsection (1B) if it is:

                     (a)  on or after the day the Minister requested the information; and

                     (b)  on or before the day on which the Minister receives the last of the information requested.

131  Inviting comments from other Ministers before decision

             (1)  Before the Minister (the Environment Minister) decides whether or not to approve, for the purposes of a controlling provision, the taking of an action, and what conditions (if any) to attach to an approval, he or she must:

                     (a)  inform any other Minister whom the Environment Minister believes has administrative responsibilities relating to the action of the decision the Environment Minister proposes to make; and

                     (b)  invite the other Minister to give the Environment Minister comments on the proposed decision within 10 business days.

             (2)  A Minister invited to comment may make comments that:

                     (a)  relate to economic and social matters relating to the action; and

                     (b)  may be considered by the Environment Minister consistently with the principles of ecologically sustainable development.

This does not limit the comments such a Minister may give.

131AA  Inviting comments before decision from person proposing to take action and designated proponent

             (1)  Before the Minister decides whether or not to approve, for the purposes of a controlling provision, the taking of an action, and what conditions (if any) to attach to an approval, he or she must:

                     (a)  inform the person proposing to take the action, and the designated proponent of the action (if the designated proponent is not the person proposing to take the action), of:

                              (i)  the decision the Minister proposes to make; and

                             (ii)  if the Minister proposes to approve the taking of the action—any conditions the Minister proposes to attach to the approval; and

                     (b)  invite each person informed under paragraph (a) to give the Minister, within 10 business days (measured in Canberra), comments in writing on the proposed decision and any conditions.

             (2)  If the Minister proposes not to approve, for the purposes of a controlling provision, the taking of the action, the Minister must provide to each person informed under paragraph (1)(a), with the invitation given under paragraph (1)(b):

                     (a)  a copy of whichever of the following documents applies to the action:

                              (i)  an assessment report;

                             (ii)  a finalised recommendation report given to the Minister under subsection 93(5);

                            (iii)  a recommendation report given to the Minister under section 95C, 100 or 105; and

                     (b)  any information relating to economic and social matters that the Minister has considered; and

                     (c)  any information relating to the history of a person in relation to environmental matters that the Minister has considered under subsection 136(4); and

                     (d)  a copy of any document, or part of a document, containing information of a kind referred to in paragraph 136(2)(e) that the Minister has considered.

             (3)  The Minister is not required to provide under subsection (2):

                     (a)  information that is in the public domain; or

                     (b)  a copy of so much of a document as in the public domain; or

                     (c)  in the case of information referred to in paragraph (2)(b) or (c)—any conclusions or recommendations relating to that information included in documents or other material prepared by the Secretary for the Minister.

             (4)  The Minister must not provide under subsection (2):

                     (a)  a copy of so much of a document as:

                              (i)  is an exempt document under the Freedom of Information Act 1982 on the grounds of the security of the Commonwealth or its providing advice to the Minister; or

                             (ii)  the Minister is satisfied contains information that is commercial‑in‑confidence; or

                     (b)  information that:

                              (i)  is of such a nature that its inclusion in a document would cause that document to be an exempt document of the kind referred to in subparagraph (a)(i); or

                             (ii)  the Minister is satisfied is commercial‑in‑confidence.

             (5)  The Minister must not be satisfied that information (including information in a document) is commercial‑in‑confidence unless a person demonstrates to the Minister that:

                     (a)  release of the information would cause competitive detriment to the person; and

                     (b)  the information is not in the public domain; and

                     (c)  the information is not required to be disclosed under another law of the Commonwealth, a State or a Territory; and

                     (d)  the information is not readily discoverable.

             (6)  In deciding whether or not to approve, for the purposes of a controlling provision, the taking of the action, the Minister must take into account any relevant comments given to the Minister in response to an invitation given under paragraph (1)(b).

             (7)  This section is taken to be an exhaustive statement of the requirements of the natural justice hearing rule in relation to:

                     (a)  the Minister’s decision under section 133 whether or not to approve, for the purposes of a controlling provision, the taking of the action; and

                     (b)  if the decision is to approve, for the purposes of a controlling provision, the taking of the action, and the Minister decides, under section 134, to attach conditions to the approval—the Minister’s decision under section 134 to attach those conditions to the approval.

131A  Inviting public comment before decision

                   Before the Minister decides whether or not to approve, for the purposes of a controlling provision, the taking of an action, and what conditions (if any) to attach to an approval, he or she may publish on the Internet:

                     (a)  the proposed decision and, if the proposed decision is to approve the taking of the action, any conditions that the Minister proposes to attach to the approval; and

                     (b)  an invitation for anyone to give the Minister, within 10 business days (measured in Canberra), comments in writing on the proposed decision and any conditions.

132  Requesting further information for approval decision

                   If the Minister believes on reasonable grounds that he or she does not have enough information to make an informed decision whether or not to approve for the purposes of a controlling provision the taking of an action, the Minister may request any of the following to provide specified information relevant to making the decision:

                     (a)  the person proposing to take the action;

                     (b)  the designated proponent of the action;

                     (c)  if a commission has conducted an inquiry under Division 7 of Part 8 relating to the action—the commission;

                     (d)  if:

                              (i)  the action is to be taken in a State or self‑governing Territory; and

                             (ii)  a controlling provision for the action is in Division 1 of Part 3 (about matters of national environmental significance); and

                            (iii)  the relevant impacts of the action have been assessed under a law of the State or Territory;

                            the appropriate Minister of that State or Territory;

                     (e)  any other person the Minister considers appropriate.

132A  Requesting notice from appropriate State or Territory Minister about certain actions

             (1)  This section applies to an action that is to be taken in a State or self‑governing Territory only if the action:

                     (a)  is to be taken by a person for the purposes of trade or commerce:

                              (i)  between Australia and another country; or

                             (ii)  between 2 States; or

                            (iii)  between a State and a Territory; or

                            (iv)  between 2 Territories; or

                     (b)  is to be taken by a constitutional corporation; or

                     (c)  is an action whose regulation is appropriate and adapted to give effect to Australia’s obligations under an agreement with one or more other countries.

Note:          This section also applies in relation to actions to be taken in an area offshore from a State or the Northern Territory. See section 157.

             (2)  However, this section does not apply to an action if:

                     (a)  the action:

                              (i)  is a nuclear action; or

                             (ii)  is to be taken entirely in a Commonwealth marine area; or

                            (iii)  is to be taken entirely on Commonwealth land; or

                            (iv)  is to be taken by the Commonwealth or a Commonwealth agency; and

                     (b)  the relevant impacts of the action have been assessed under Part 8.

             (3)  Before the Minister (the Environment Minister) decides whether or not to approve for the purposes of a controlling provision the taking of the action, and what conditions (if any) to attach to an approval, the Environment Minister may request the appropriate Minister of the State or Territory to give the Environment Minister a notice stating the method that has been used to assess the certain and likely impacts of the action on things other than matters protected by the controlling provisions for the action.

133  Grant of approval

Approval

             (1)  After receiving the assessment documentation relating to a controlled action, or the report of a commission that has conducted an inquiry relating to a controlled action, the Minister may approve for the purposes of a controlling provision the taking of the action by a person.

          (1A)  If the referral of the proposal to take the action included alternative proposals relating to any of the matters referred to in subsection 72(3), the Minister may approve, for the purposes of subsection (1), one or more of the alternative proposals in relation to the taking of the action.

Content of approval

             (2)  An approval must:

                     (a)  be in writing; and

                     (b)  specify the action (including any alternative proposals approved under subsection (1A)) that may be taken; and

                     (c)  name the person to whom the approval is granted; and

                     (d)  specify each provision of Part 3 for which the approval has effect; and

                     (e)  specify the period for which the approval has effect; and

                      (f)  set out the conditions attached to the approval.

Note:          The period for which the approval has effect may be extended. See Division 5.

Persons who may take action covered by approval

          (2A)  An approval granted under this section is an approval of the taking of the action specified in the approval by any of the following persons:

                     (a)  the holder of the approval;

                     (b)  a person who is authorised, permitted or requested by the holder of the approval, or by another person with the consent or agreement of the holder of the approval, to take the action.

Notice of approval

             (3)  The Minister must:

                     (a)  give a copy of the approval to the person named in the approval under paragraph 133(2)(c); and

                     (b)  provide a copy of the approval to a person who asks for it (either free or for a reasonable charge determined by the Minister).

Limit on publication of approval

             (4)  However, the Minister must not provide under subsection (3) a copy of so much of the approval as:

                     (a)  is an exempt document under the Freedom of Information Act 1982 on the grounds of commercial confidence; or

                     (b)  the Minister believes it is in the national interest not to provide.

The Minister may consider the defence or security of the Commonwealth when determining what is in the national interest. This does not limit the matters the Minister may consider.

Notice of refusal of approval

             (7)  If the Minister refuses to approve for the purposes of a controlling provision the taking of an action by the person who proposed to take the action, the Minister must give the person notice of the refusal.

Note:          Under section 13 of the Administrative Decisions (Judicial Review) Act 1977, the person may request reasons for the refusal, and the Minister must give them.

Definition

             (8)  In this section:

assessment documentation, in relation to a controlled action, means:

                     (a)  if the action is the subject of an assessment report—that report; or

                     (b)  if Division 3A of Part 8 (assessment on referral information) applies to the action:

                              (i)  the referral of the proposal to take the action; and

                             (ii)  the finalised recommendation report relating to the action given to the Minister under subsection 93(5); or

                     (c)  if Division 4 of Part 8 (assessment on preliminary documentation) applies to the action:

                              (i)  the documents given to the Minister under subsection 95B(1), or the statement given to the Minister under subsection 95B(3), as the case requires, relating to the action; and

                             (ii)  the recommendation report relating to the action given to the Minister under section 95C; or

                     (d)  if Division 5 of Part 8 (public environment reports) applies to the action:

                              (i)  the finalised public environment report relating to the action given to the Minister under section 99; and

                             (ii)  the recommendation report relating to the action given to the Minister under section 100; or

                     (e)  if Division 6 of Part 8 (environmental impact statements) applies to the action:

                              (i)  the finalised environmental impact statement relating to the action given to the Minister under section 104; and

                             (ii)  the recommendation report relating to the action given to the Minister under section 105.

134  Conditions of approval

Condition to inform persons taking action of conditions attached to approval

          (1A)  An approval of the taking of an action by a person (the first person) is subject to the condition that, if the first person authorises, permits or requests another person to undertake any part of the action, the first person must take all reasonable steps to ensure:

                     (a)  that the other person is informed of any condition attached to the approval that restricts or regulates the way in which that part of the action may be taken; and

                     (b)  that the other person complies with any such condition.

For the purposes of this Chapter, the condition imposed by this subsection is attached to the approval.

Generally

             (1)  The Minister may attach a condition to the approval of the action if he or she is satisfied that the condition is necessary or convenient for:

                     (a)  protecting a matter protected by a provision of Part 3 for which the approval has effect (whether or not the protection is protection from the action); or

                     (b)  repairing or mitigating damage to a matter protected by a provision of Part 3 for which the approval has effect (whether or not the damage has been, will be or is likely to be caused by the action).

Conditions to protect matters from the approved action

             (2)  The Minister may attach a condition to the approval of the action if he or she is satisfied that the condition is necessary or convenient for:

                     (a)  protecting from the action any matter protected by a provision of Part 3 for which the approval has effect; or

                     (b)  repairing or mitigating damage that may or will be, or has been, caused by the action to any matter protected by a provision of Part 3 for which the approval has effect.

This subsection does not limit subsection (1).

Examples of kinds of conditions that may be attached

             (3)  The conditions that may be attached to an approval include:

                    (aa)  conditions requiring specified activities to be undertaken for:

                              (i)  protecting a matter protected by a provision of Part 3 for which the approval has effect (whether or not the protection is protection from the action); or

                             (ii)  repairing or mitigating damage to a matter protected by a provision of Part 3 for which the approval has effect (whether or not the damage may or will be, or has been, caused by the action); and

                    (ab)  conditions requiring a specified financial contribution to be made to a person for the purpose of supporting activities of a kind mentioned in paragraph (aa); and

                     (a)  conditions relating to any security to be given by the holder of the approval by bond, guarantee or cash deposit:

                              (i)  to comply with this Act and the regulations; and

                             (ii)  not to contravene a condition attached to the approval; and

                            (iii)  to meet any liability of a person whose taking of the action is approved to the Commonwealth for measures taken by the Commonwealth under section 499 (which lets the Commonwealth repair and mitigate damage caused by a contravention of this Act) in relation to the action; and

                     (b)  conditions requiring the holder of the approval to insure against any specified liability of the holder to the Commonwealth for measures taken by the Commonwealth under section 499 in relation to the approved action; and

                     (c)  conditions requiring a person taking the action to comply with conditions specified in an instrument (including any kind of authorisation) made or granted under a law of a State or self‑governing Territory or another law of the Commonwealth; and

                     (d)  conditions requiring an environmental audit of the action to be carried out periodically by a person who can be regarded as being independent from any person whose taking of the action is approved; and

                     (e)  conditions requiring the preparation, submission for approval by the Minister, and implementation of a plan for managing the impacts of the approved action on a matter protected by a provision of Part 3 for which the approval has effect such as a plan for conserving habitat of a species or ecological community; and

                      (f)  conditions requiring specified environmental monitoring or testing to be carried out; and

                     (g)  conditions requiring compliance with a specified industry standard or code of practice; and

                     (h)  conditions relating to any alternative proposals in relation to the taking of the action covered by the approval (as permitted by subsection 133(1A)).

This subsection does not limit the kinds of conditions that may be attached to an approval.

Certain conditions require consent of holder of approval

          (3A)  The following kinds of condition cannot be attached to the approval of an action unless the holder of the approval has consented to the attachment of the condition:

                     (a)  a condition referred to in paragraph (3)(aa), if the activities specified in the condition are not reasonably related to the action;

                     (b)  a condition referred to in paragraph (3)(ab).

          (3B)  If the holder of the approval has given consent, for the purposes of subsection (3A), to the attachment of a condition:

                     (a)  the holder cannot withdraw that consent after the condition has been attached to the approval; and

                     (b)  any person to whom the approval is later transferred under section 145B is taken to have consented to the attachment of the condition, and cannot withdraw that consent.

Conditions attached under paragraph (3)(c)

          (3C)  A condition attached to an approval under paragraph (3)(c) may require a person taking the action to comply with conditions specified in an instrument of a kind referred to in that paragraph:

                     (a)  as in force at a particular time; or

                     (b)  as is in force or existing from time to time;

even if the instrument does not yet exist at the time the approval takes effect.

Considerations in deciding on condition

             (4)  In deciding whether to attach a condition to an approval, the Minister must consider:

                     (a)  any relevant conditions that have been imposed, or the Minister considers are likely to be imposed, under a law of a State or self‑governing Territory or another law of the Commonwealth on the taking of the action; and

                    (aa)  information provided by the person proposing to take the action or by the designated proponent of the action; and

                     (b)  the desirability of ensuring as far as practicable that the condition is a cost‑effective means for the Commonwealth and a person taking the action to achieve the object of the condition.

Effect of conditions requiring compliance with conditions specified in another instrument

          (4A)  If:

                     (a)  a condition (the principal condition) attached to an approval under paragraph (3)(c) requires a person taking the action to comply with conditions (the other conditions) specified in an instrument of a kind referred to in that paragraph; and

                     (b)  the other conditions are in excess of the power conferred by subsection (1);

the principal condition is taken to require the person to comply with the other conditions only to the extent that they are not in excess of that power.

Validity of decision

             (5)  A failure to consider information as required by paragraph (4)(aa) does not invalidate a decision about attaching a condition to the approval.

135  Certain approvals and conditions must not give preference

             (1)  This section deals with the approval:

                     (a)  for the purposes of section 21 or 22A of a nuclear action:

                              (i)  by a person for the purposes of trade or commerce between Australia and another country or between 2 States; or

                             (ii)  by a constitutional corporation; or

                     (b)  for the purposes of section 25 of an action that is prescribed for the purposes of subsection 25(1) and is taken:

                              (i)  by a person for the purposes of trade or commerce between Australia and another country or between 2 States; or

                             (ii)  by a constitutional corporation.

             (2)  The Minister must not grant the approval, or attach a condition to the approval, that has the effect of giving preference (within the meaning of section 99 of the Constitution) to one State or part of a State over another State or part of a State.

135A  Publication of recommendation reports

             (1)  This section applies in relation to the following reports:

                     (a)  a finalised recommendation report given to the Minister under subsection 93(5);

                     (b)  a recommendation report given to the Minister under section 95C, 100 or 105.

             (2)  Subject to subsections (3) and (4), the Secretary must provide a copy of a report to which this section applies to a person who asks for it (either at no charge or at a reasonable charge determined by the Secretary).

             (3)  The Secretary is not required to provide a copy of the report under subsection (2) to anyone until after the Minister has decided, for the purposes of each controlling provision, whether or not to approve the taking of the action concerned.

             (4)  The Secretary may refuse to provide, under subsection (2), a copy of so much of the report as:

                     (a)  is an exempt document under the Freedom of Information Act 1982 on the grounds of the security of the Commonwealth or its providing advice to the Minister; or

                     (b)  the Secretary is satisfied is commercial‑in‑confidence.

             (5)  The Secretary must not be satisfied that a part of the report is commercial‑in‑confidence unless a person demonstrates to the Secretary that:

                     (a)  release of the information in that part would cause competitive detriment to the person; and

                     (b)  the information in that part is not in the public domain; and

                     (c)  the information in that part is not required to be disclosed under another law of the Commonwealth, a State or a Territory; and

                     (d)  the information in that part is not readily discoverable.

Subdivision BConsiderations for approvals and conditions

136  General considerations

Mandatory considerations

             (1)  In deciding whether or not to approve the taking of an action, and what conditions to attach to an approval, the Minister must consider the following, so far as they are not inconsistent with any other requirement of this Subdivision:

                     (a)  matters relevant to any matter protected by a provision of Part 3 that the Minister has decided is a controlling provision for the action;

                     (b)  economic and social matters.

Factors to be taken into account

             (2)  In considering those matters, the Minister must take into account:

                     (a)  the principles of ecologically sustainable development; and

                     (b)  the assessment report (if any) relating to the action; and

                    (ba)  if Division 3A of Part 8 (assessment on referral information) applies to the action—the finalised recommendation report relating to the action given to the Minister under subsection 93(5); and

                    (bc)  if Division 4 of Part 8 (assessment on preliminary documentation) applies to the action:

                              (i)  the documents given to the Minister under subsection 95B(1), or the statement given to the Minister under subsection 95B(3), as the case requires, relating to the action; and

                             (ii)  the recommendation report relating to the action given to the Minister under section 95C; and

                     (c)  if Division 5 (public environment reports) of Part 8 applies to the action:

                              (i)  the finalised public environment report relating to the action given to the Minister under section 99; and

                             (ii)  the recommendation report relating to the action given to the Minister under section 100; and

                    (ca)  if Division 6 (environmental impact statements) of Part 8 applies to the action:

                              (i)  the finalised environmental impact statement relating to the action given to the Minister under section 104; and

                             (ii)  the recommendation report relating to the action given to the Minister under section 105; and

                     (d)  if an inquiry was conducted under Division 7 of Part 8 in relation to the action—the report of the commissioners; and

                     (e)  any other information the Minister has on the relevant impacts of the action (including information in a report on the impacts of actions taken under a policy, plan or program under which the action is to be taken that was given to the Minister under an agreement under Part 10 (about strategic assessments)); and

                      (f)  any relevant comments given to the Minister in accordance with an invitation under section 131 or 131A; and

                     (g)  if a notice relating to the action was given to the Minister under subsection 132A(3)—the information in the notice.

Note:          The Minister must also take into account any relevant comments given to the Minister in response to an invitation under paragraph 131AA(1)(b). See subsection 131AA(6).

Person’s environmental history

             (4)  In deciding whether or not to approve the taking of an action by a person, and what conditions to attach to an approval, the Minister may consider whether the person is a suitable person to be granted an approval, having regard to:

                     (a)  the person’s history in relation to environmental matters; and

                     (b)  if the person is a body corporate—the history of its executive officers in relation to environmental matters; and

                     (c)  if the person is a body corporate that is a subsidiary of another body or company (the parent body)—the history in relation to environmental matters of the parent body and its executive officers.

Minister not to consider other matters

             (5)  In deciding whether or not to approve the taking of an action, and what conditions to attach to an approval, the Minister must not consider any matters that the Minister is not required or permitted by this Division to consider.

137  Requirements for decisions about World Heritage

                   In deciding whether or not to approve, for the purposes of section 12 or 15A, the taking of an action and what conditions to attach to such an approval, the Minister must not act inconsistently with:

                     (a)  Australia’s obligations under the World Heritage Convention; or

                     (b)  the Australian World Heritage management principles; or

                     (c)  a plan that has been prepared for the management of a declared World Heritage property under section 316 or as described in section 321.

137A  Requirements for decisions about National Heritage places

                   In deciding whether or not to approve for the purposes of section 15B or 15C the taking of an action, and what conditions to attach to such an approval, the Minister must not act inconsistently with:

                     (a)  the National Heritage management principles; or

                     (b)  an agreement to which the Commonwealth is party in relation to a National Heritage place; or

                     (c)  a plan that has been prepared for the management of a National Heritage place under section 324S or as described in section 324X.

138  Requirements for decisions about Ramsar wetlands

                   In deciding whether or not to approve for the purposes of section 16 or 17B the taking of an action, and what conditions to attach to such an approval, the Minister must not act inconsistently with Australia’s obligations under the Ramsar Convention.

139  Requirements for decisions about threatened species and endangered communities

             (1)  In deciding whether or not to approve for the purposes of a subsection of section 18 or section 18A the taking of an action, and what conditions to attach to such an approval, the Minister must not act inconsistently with:

                     (a)  Australia’s obligations under:

                              (i)  the Biodiversity Convention; or

                             (ii)  the Apia Convention; or

                            (iii)  CITES; or

                     (b)  a recovery plan or threat abatement plan.

             (2)  If:

                     (a)  the Minister is considering whether to approve, for the purposes of a subsection of section 18 or section 18A, the taking of an action; and

                     (b)  the action has or will have, or is likely to have, a significant impact on a particular listed threatened species or a particular listed threatened ecological community;

the Minister must, in deciding whether to so approve the taking of the action, have regard to any approved conservation advice for the species or community.

140  Requirements for decisions about migratory species

                   In deciding whether or not to approve for the purposes of section 20 or 20A the taking of an action relating to a listed migratory species, and what conditions to attach to such an approval, the Minister must not act inconsistently with Australia’s obligations under whichever of the following conventions and agreements because of which the species is listed:

                     (a)  the Bonn Convention;

                     (b)  CAMBA;

                     (c)  JAMBA;

                     (d)  an international agreement approved under subsection 209(4).

140A  No approval for certain nuclear installations

                   The Minister must not approve an action consisting of or involving the construction or operation of any of the following nuclear installations:

                     (a)  a nuclear fuel fabrication plant;

                     (b)  a nuclear power plant;

                     (c)  an enrichment plant;

                     (d)  a reprocessing facility.


 

Division 2Requirement to comply with conditions

142  Compliance with conditions on approval

             (1)  A person whose taking of an action has been approved under this Part must not contravene any condition attached to the approval.

Civil penalty:           

                     (a)  for an individual—1,000 penalty units, or such lower amount as is prescribed by the regulations;

                     (b)  for a body corporate—10,000 penalty units, or such lower amount as is prescribed by the regulations.

          (1A)  Subsection (1) does not apply to a person who is not the holder of the approval if:

                     (a)  the person was not informed of the condition; and

                     (b)  the person could not reasonably have been expected to be aware of the condition.

Note:          The defendant bears an evidential burden in relation to the matter in subsection (1A). See subsection 13.3(3) of the Criminal Code.

             (2)  A contravention of a condition attached to an approval under this Part does not invalidate the approval.

142A  Offence of breaching conditions on approval

             (1)  A person whose taking of an action has been approved under this Part is guilty of an offence if:

                     (a)  the person takes an action or omits to take an action; and

                     (b)  the action or omission contravenes a condition attached to the approval and the person is reckless as to that fact; and

                     (c)  the action or omission results or will result in a significant impact on a matter protected by a provision of Part 3.

Note:          Chapter 2 of the Criminal Code sets out the general principles of criminal responsibility.

             (2)  Strict liability applies to paragraph (1)(c).

Note:          For strict liability, see section 6.1 of the Criminal Code.

             (3)  A person whose taking of an action has been approved under this Part is guilty of an offence if:

                     (a)  the person takes an action or omits to take an action; and

                     (b)  the action or omission contravenes a condition attached to the approval and the person is reckless as to that fact; and

                     (c)  the action or omission is likely to have a significant impact on a matter protected by a provision of Part 3 and the person is reckless as to that fact.

Note:          Chapter 2 of the Criminal Code sets out the general principles of criminal responsibility.

             (4)  An offence against subsection (1) or (3) is punishable on conviction by imprisonment for a term not more than 2 years, a fine not more than 120 penalty units, or both.

Note 1:       Subsection 4B(3) of the Crimes Act 1914 lets a court fine a body corporate up to 5 times the maximum amount the court could fine a person under this subsection.

Note 2:       An executive officer of a body corporate convicted of an offence against this section may also be guilty of an offence against section 495.

Note 3:       If a person takes an action on land that contravenes this section, a landholder may be guilty of an offence against section 496C.

142B  Strict liability offence for breach of approval condition

             (1)  A person whose taking of an action has been approved under this Part is guilty of an offence if:

                     (a)  the person takes an action or omits to take an action; and

                     (b)  the action or omission contravenes a condition attached to the approval.

Penalty:  60 penalty units.

Note 1:       Chapter 2 of the Criminal Code sets out the general principles of criminal responsibility.

Note 2:       Subsection 4B(3) of the Crimes Act 1914 lets a court fine a body corporate up to 5 times the maximum amount the court could fine a person under this subsection.

Note 3:       An executive officer of a body corporate convicted of an offence against this section may also be guilty of an offence against section 495.

Note 4:       If a person takes an action on land that contravenes this section, a landholder may be guilty of an offence against section 496C.

             (2)  Subsection (1) does not apply to a person who is not the holder of the approval if:

                     (a)  the person was not informed of the condition; and

                     (b)  the person could not reasonably have been expected to be aware of the condition.

Note:          The defendant bears an evidential burden in relation to the matter in subsection (2). See subsection 13.3(3) of the Criminal Code.

             (3)  Subsection (1) is an offence of strict liability.

Note:          For strict liability, see section 6.1 of the Criminal Code.


 

Division 3Variation of conditions and suspension and revocation of approvals

143  Variation of conditions attached to approval

             (1)  The Minister may, by written instrument, revoke, vary or add to any conditions (other than the condition referred to in subsection 134(1A)) attached to an approval under this Part of an action if:

                     (a)  any condition attached to the approval has been contravened; or

                     (b)  both of the following conditions are satisfied:

                              (i)  the action has had a significant impact that was not identified in assessing the action on any matter protected by a provision of Part 3 for which the approval has effect, or the Minister believes the action will have such an impact;

                             (ii)  the Minister believes it is necessary to revoke, vary or add a condition to protect the matter from the impact; or

                    (ba)  all of the following conditions are satisfied:

                              (i)  the action has had a significant impact on a matter protected by a provision of Part 3 for which the approval has effect, or the Minister believes the action will have such an impact;

                             (ii)  the Minister is satisfied that the impact is substantially greater than the impact that was identified in assessing the action;

                            (iii)  the Minister believes it is necessary to revoke, vary or add a condition to protect the matter from the impact; or

                     (c)  the holder of the approval agrees to the proposed revocation, variation or addition, or the Minister has extended the period for which the approval has effect under section 145D, and the Minister is satisfied that any conditions attached to the approval after the proposed revocation, variation or addition are necessary or convenient for:

                              (i)  protecting a matter protected by any provision of Part 3 for which the approval has effect; or

                             (ii)  repairing or mitigating damage to a matter protected by a provision of Part 3 for which the approval has effect (whether or not the damage has been, will be or is likely to be caused by the action).

             (2)  The Minister may, by written instrument, revoke any condition (other than the condition referred to in subsection 134(1A)) attached to an approval under this Part of an action if the Minister is satisfied that the condition is not needed to protect any matter protected by a provision of Part 3 for which the approval has effect.

             (3)  In deciding whether or not to revoke, vary or add to any conditions attached to the approval of the taking of an action by a person, the Minister may have regard to:

                     (a)  the person’s history in relation to environmental matters; and

                     (b)  if the person is a body corporate—the history of its executive officers in relation to environmental matters; and

                     (c)  if the person is a body corporate that is a subsidiary of another body or company (the parent body)—the history in relation to environmental matters of the parent body and its executive officers.

             (4)  The revocation, variation or addition takes effect on the day specified in the instrument. The Minister must not specify a day earlier than the day the instrument is made.

             (5)  As soon as possible after making the instrument, the Minister must:

                     (a)  give a copy of it to the holder of the approval; and

                     (b)  publish the instrument in accordance with the regulations.

Note:          If the holder is not satisfied with changed conditions attached to the approval of the holder’s action, he or she can ask the Minister to reverse the change by making another change to the conditions under this section.

             (6)  However, the Minister must not publish so much of the instrument as:

                     (a)  is an exempt document under the Freedom of Information Act 1982 on the grounds of commercial confidence; or

                     (b)  the Minister believes it is in the national interest not to publish.

The Minister may consider the defence or security of the Commonwealth when determining what is in the national interest. This does not limit the matters the Minister may consider.

144  Suspension of approval

             (1)  The Minister may, by written instrument, suspend the effect of an approval under this Part for the purposes of a specified provision of Part 3 for a specified period (which must not start before the day on which the instrument is made) if the Minister believes on reasonable grounds that:

                     (a)  a significant impact on the matter protected by the provision has occurred because of the contravention of a condition attached to the approval; or

                     (b)  the conditions specified in subsection (2) are satisfied.

             (2)  The conditions are that:

                     (a)  the action has had, or the Minister believes that the action will have, a significant impact that was not identified in assessing the action on a matter protected by a provision of Part 3 for which the approval has effect; and

                     (b)  the approval would not have been granted if information that the Minister has about that impact had been available when the decision to approve the action was made.

          (2A)  The Minister may, by written instrument, suspend the effect of an approval under this Part for the purposes of a specified provision of Part 3 for a specified period (which must not start before the day on which the instrument is made) if:

                     (a)  either:

                              (i)  the Minister believes on reasonable grounds that there has been a contravention of a condition attached to the approval; or

                             (ii)  if a condition attached to the approval is to the effect that the approval is subject to a thing being done within a particular time—the Minister believes on reasonable grounds that the thing has not been done within that time; and

                     (b)  the Minister is satisfied that:

                              (i)  the approval would not have been granted without that condition being attached; or

                             (ii)  because of the failure to comply with the requirement, the suspension is reasonably necessary to protect a matter protected by a provision of Part 3 for which the approval has effect.

             (3)  In deciding whether or not to suspend an approval of the taking of an action by a person, the Minister may have regard to:

                     (a)  the person’s history in relation to environmental matters; and

                     (b)  if the person is a body corporate—the history of its executive officers in relation to environmental matters; and

                     (c)  if the person is a body corporate that is a subsidiary of another body or company (the parent body)—the history in relation to environmental matters of the parent body and its executive officers.

             (4)  During the specified period, the specified provision of Part 3 applies as if the Minister had not given the approval.

             (5)  As soon as possible after making the instrument, the Minister must:

                     (a)  give a copy of it to the holder of the approval; and

                     (b)  publish the instrument in accordance with the regulations.

145  Revocation of approval

             (1)  The Minister may, by written instrument, revoke an approval under this Part for the purposes of a specified provision of Part 3 if:

                     (a)  a significant impact on the matter protected by the provision has occurred because of the contravention of a condition attached to the approval; or

                     (b)  the conditions specified in subsection (2) are satisfied.

             (2)  The conditions are that:

                     (a)  the action has had, or the Minister believes that the action will have, a significant impact that was not identified in assessing the action on a matter protected by a provision of Part 3 for which the approval has effect; and

                     (b)  the approval would not have been granted if information that the Minister has about that impact had been available when the decision to approve the action was made.

          (2A)  The Minister may, by written instrument, revoke an approval under this Part of an action for the purposes of a specified provision of Part 3 if he or she believes that:

                     (a)  the impacts that the action has had, will have or is likely to have were not accurately identified in information available to the Minister when the approval was given; and

                     (b)  the information did not accurately identify those impacts because of negligence or a deliberate act or omission by the person proposing to take the action or the designated proponent of the action.

          (2B)  The Minister may, by written instrument, revoke an approval under this Part for the purposes of a specified provision of Part 3 if:

                     (a)  either:

                              (i)  the Minister believes on reasonable grounds that there has been a contravention of a condition attached to the approval; or

                             (ii)  if a condition attached to the approval is to the effect that the approval is subject to a thing being done within a particular time—the Minister believes on reasonable grounds that the thing has not been done within that time; and

                     (b)  the Minister is satisfied that:

                              (i)  the approval would not have been granted without that condition being attached; or

                             (ii)  because of the failure to comply with the requirement, the revocation is reasonably necessary to protect a matter protected by a provision of Part 3 for which the approval has effect.

             (3)  In deciding whether or not to revoke an approval of the taking of an action by a person, the Minister may have regard to:

                     (a)  the person’s history in relation to environmental matters; and

                     (b)  if the person is a body corporate—the history of its executive officers in relation to environmental matters; and

                     (c)  if the person is a body corporate that is a subsidiary of another body or company (the parent body)—the history in relation to environmental matters of the parent body and its executive officers.

             (4)  The revocation takes effect on the day specified in the instrument. The Minister must not specify a day earlier than the day the instrument is made.

             (5)  As soon as possible after making the instrument, the Minister must:

                     (a)  give a copy of it to the person who was the holder of the approval; and

                     (b)  publish the instrument in accordance with the regulations.

145A  Reinstating suspended or revoked approval

Application

             (1)  This section applies if the Minister has, by written instrument:

                     (a)  suspended an approval under this Part of the taking of an action by a person; or

                     (b)  revoked an approval under this Part of the taking of an action by a person.

Requesting reinstatement of approval

             (2)  Within 2 months after receiving a copy of the instrument under this Division, the person who was the holder of the approval may request the Minister to reinstate the approval.

Deciding whether to reinstate approval

             (3)  Within 20 business days of receiving the request, the Minister must decide whether or not to reinstate the approval.

Considerations for decision

             (4)  Subdivision B of Division 1 applies to the decision whether or not to reinstate the approval in the same way as it applies to a decision whether or not to approve the taking of an action.

Extra time for decision

             (5)  A day is not to be counted for the purposes of subsection (3) if:

                     (a)  the Minister and the person who was the holder of the approval agree in writing that it should not be counted; or

                     (b)  the Minister has requested the person to provide information under subsection (6) and the day is on or before the day on which the Minister receives the last of the information requested.

Requesting information for decision

             (6)  If the Minister believes on reasonable grounds that he or she does not have enough information to make an informed decision whether or not to reinstate the approval, the Minister may request the person who was the holder of the approval to provide specified information relevant to making the decision.

Reversal of decision to suspend or revoke approval

             (7)  If the Minister decides to reinstate the approval, it and any conditions attached to it immediately before the suspension or revocation have effect on and after the day of the decision (subject to any future suspension or revocation under this Division).

Notice of decision about reversal

             (8)  The Minister must:

                     (a)  give the person who was the holder of the approval written notice of the Minister’s decision; and

                     (b)  publish notice of the decision in accordance with the regulations.


 

Division 4Transfer of approvals

145B  Transfer with Minister’s consent

Transfer by written agreement

             (1)  A person (the transferor) who is the holder of an approval under this Part for the purposes of a provision of Part 3 may transfer the approval to another person (the transferee) by written agreement, subject to the Minister’s consent.

Transfer ineffective until Minister consents

             (2)  The transfer does not have effect for the purposes of this Act until the Minister consents in writing to the transfer. To avoid doubt, the Minister’s consent to a transfer cannot take effect before the Minister gives the consent.

Effect of consent

             (3)  If the Minister consents to the transfer:

                     (a)  this Act (except Division 3) operates in relation to the transferor as if the Minister had revoked the approval when the Minister’s consent took effect; and

                     (b)  this Act operates in relation to the transferee as if, when the Minister’s consent to the transfer took effect, he or she:

                              (i)  had approved under this Part for the purposes of the provision of Part 3 the taking of the action by the transferee; and

                             (ii)  had attached to the approval the conditions that were attached to the approval of the taking of the action by the transferor.

Considerations in deciding whether to consent

             (4)  In deciding whether or not to consent to the transfer, the Minister may consider:

                     (a)  whether the transferee would be a suitable person to be granted the approval, having regard to:

                              (i)  the transferee’s history in relation to environmental matters; and

                             (ii)  if the transferee is a body corporate—the history of its executive officers in relation to environmental matters; and

                            (iii)  if the transferee is a body corporate that is a subsidiary of another body or company (the parent body)—the history in relation to environmental matters of the parent body and its executive officers; and

                     (b)  whether the transferee can comply with the conditions attached to the approval.

Giving copies of consents to transferor and transferee

             (5)  The Minister must give the transferor and the transferee a copy of the consent each.


 

Division 5Extension of period of effect of approval

145C  Application to Minister to extend period of effect of approval

             (1)  Subject to subsection (2), the holder of an approval under this Part may apply, in writing, to the Minister to extend the period (the approval period) for which the approval has effect.

             (2)  Subsection (1) does not apply if:

                     (a)  the approval has been suspended or revoked under this Part and has not been reinstated; or

                     (b)  the approval has otherwise ceased to have effect.

             (3)  An application under subsection (1) must include the information (if any) prescribed by the regulations.

145D  Minister must decide whether or not to extend approval period

             (1)  Within 20 business days after receiving an application under subsection 145C(1), the Minister must decide, in writing, whether or not to extend the approval period.

Note:          The Minister may request further information for the purpose of making a decision under this subsection. See section 145E.

             (2)  The Minister may decide to extend the approval period only if the Minister is satisfied that the extension will not result in a substantial increase in, or substantial change in the nature of, the adverse impacts (if any) the action:

                     (a)  has or will have; or

                     (b)  is likely to have;

on the matter protected by each provision of Part 3 for which the approval has effect.

             (3)  In considering the matter referred to in subsection (2), the Minister must consider the following, so far as they are not inconsistent with any other requirement of this Division:

                     (a)  matters relevant to any matter protected by a provision of Part 3 for which the approval has effect;

                     (b)  economic and social matters.

             (4)  As soon as possible after deciding whether or not to extend the approval period, the Minister must:

                     (a)  give a copy of the decision to the holder of the approval; and

                     (b)  if the decision is to extend the approval period—publish the decision in accordance with the regulations.

145E  Minister may request further information for making decision

             (1)  If the Minister believes on reasonable grounds that he or she does not have enough information to decide whether or not to extend the approval period, the Minister may request the holder of the approval to provide specified information relevant to making the decision.

             (2)  If the Minister has requested more information under subsection (1), a day is not to be counted as a business day for the purposes of subsection 145D(1) if it is:

                     (a)  on or after the day the Minister requested the information; and

                     (b)  on or before the day on which the Minister receives the last of the information requested.


 

Part 10Strategic assessments

Division 1Strategic assessments generally

Subdivision AAssessment of actions to be taken in accordance with policy, plan or program

146  Minister may agree on strategic assessment

             (1)  The Minister may agree in writing with a person responsible for the adoption or implementation of a policy, plan or program that an assessment be made of the impacts of actions under the policy, plan or program on a matter protected by a provision of Part 3.

          (1A)  The agreement may also provide for the assessment of other certain and likely impacts of actions under the policy, plan or program if:

                     (a)  the actions are to be taken in a State or self‑governing Territory; and

                     (b)  the appropriate Minister of the State or Territory has asked the Minister administering this section to ensure that the assessment deal with those other impacts to help the State or Territory, or an agency of the State or Territory, make decisions about the actions; and

                     (c)  the actions:

                              (i)  are to be taken by any person for the purposes of trade or commerce between Australia and another country, between 2 States, between a State and a Territory or between 2 Territories or by a constitutional corporation; or

                             (ii)  are actions whose regulation is appropriate and adapted to give effect to Australia’s obligation under an agreement with one or more other countries.

Note:          Paragraph (1A)(a) also applies to actions to be taken in an area offshore from a State or the Northern Territory. See section 157.

          (1B)  The agreement must provide for:

                     (a)  the preparation of terms of reference for a report on the impacts to which the agreement relates; or

                     (b)  all of the following:

                              (i)  the preparation of draft terms of reference for a report on the impacts to which the agreement relates;

                             (ii)  the publication of the draft terms of reference for public comment for a period of at least 28 days that is specified by the Minister;

                            (iii)  the finalisation of the terms of reference, to the Minister’s satisfaction, taking into account the comments (if any) received on the draft terms of reference.

             (2)  The agreement must provide for:

                     (a)  the preparation of a draft of a report on the impacts to which the agreement relates; and

                     (b)  the publication of the draft report for public comment for a period of at least 28 days that is specified by the Minister; and

                     (c)  the finalisation of the report, taking into account the comments (if any) received after publication of the draft report; and

                     (d)  the provision of the report to the Minister; and

                     (e)  the making of recommendations by the Minister to the person about the policy, plan or program (including recommendations for modification of the policy, plan or program); and

                      (f)  the endorsement of the policy, plan or program by the Minister if he or she is satisfied that:

                              (i)  the report adequately addresses the impacts to which the agreement relates; and

                             (ii)  either the recommended modifications of the policy, plan or program (if any) have been made or any modifications having the same effect have been made; and

                     (g)  any other matter prescribed by the regulations.

Note 1:       If the impacts of actions under a policy, plan or program are assessed under an agreement under this Part, the Minister may decide on a less onerous approach for an assessment relating to an individual action under the policy, plan or program. See section 87.

Note 2:       If the Minister endorses a policy, plan or program embodied in a management arrangement or an authorisation process, the Minister may declare under section 33, or make a bilateral agreement declaring, that actions approved in accordance with the management arrangement or authorisation process do not need approval for the purposes of a specified provision of Part 3.

             (3)  If the agreement relates to actions to be taken in a State or self‑governing Territory, the Minister must tell the appropriate Minister of the State or Territory:

                     (a)  that the agreement has been made; and

                     (b)  what those actions are (in general terms).

Subdivision BApproval of taking of actions in accordance with endorsed policy, plan or program

146A  Definition

                   In this Subdivision and Subdivision C:

endorsed policy, plan or program means a policy, plan or program that has been endorsed by the Minister in accordance with an agreement as mentioned in paragraph 146(2)(f).

146B  Minister may approve taking of actions in accordance with endorsed policy, plan or program

             (1)  Subject to Subdivision C, the Minister may approve the taking of an action or a class of actions in accordance with an endorsed policy, plan or program.

Note:          Subdivision C sets out matters that the Minister must take into account in deciding whether or not to approve the taking of an action or a class of actions in accordance with an endorsed policy, plan or program.

             (2)  An approval of the taking of an action or a class of actions in accordance with an endorsed policy, plan or program must:

                     (a)  be in writing; and

                     (b)  specify the action or class of actions that may be taken in accordance with the endorsed policy, plan or program; and

                     (c)  specify each provision of Part 3 for which the approval has effect; and

                     (d)  specify the period for which the approval has effect; and

                     (e)  set out the conditions attached to the approval.

          (2A)  An approval of the taking of an action or a class of actions in accordance with an endorsed policy, plan or program may specify the person or persons who may take the action or an action in the class of actions.

             (3)  The Minister must:

                     (a)  give a copy of the approval to the person responsible for the adoption or implementation of the endorsed policy, plan or program; and

                     (b)  provide a copy of the approval to a person who asks for it (either at no charge or for a reasonable charge determined by the Minister).

             (4)  However, the Minister must not provide under subsection (3) a copy of so much of the approval as:

                     (a)  is an exempt document under the Freedom of Information Act 1982 on the grounds of commercial confidence; or

                     (b)  the Minister believes it is in the national interest not to provide.

The Minister may consider the defence or security of the Commonwealth when determining what is in the national interest. This does not limit the matters the Minister may consider.

             (5)  An approval given under subsection (1) is not a legislative instrument.

146C  Inviting comments from other Ministers before deciding whether or not to approve taking of actions in accordance with endorsed policy, plan or program

             (1)  Before the Minister (the Environment Minister) decides whether or not to approve the taking of an action or a class of actions in accordance with an endorsed policy, plan or program, he or she must:

                     (a)  inform any other Minister whom the Environment Minister believes has administrative responsibilities relating to the action or class of actions of the decision the Environment Minister proposes to make; and

                     (b)  invite each Minister informed to give the Environment Minister, within 10 business days, comments on the proposed decision.

             (2)  A Minister who is invited to comment may make comments:

                     (a)  that relate to economic and social matters relating to the action or class of actions to which the proposed decision relates; and

                     (b)  that may be considered by the Environment Minister consistently with the principles of ecologically sustainable development.

This does not limit the comments such a Minister may give.

146D  Effect of approval of taking of actions in accordance with endorsed policy, plan or program

             (1)  If an approval under section 146B is in force, the following provisions have effect:

                     (a)  the Minister is taken to have decided under Division 2 of Part 7 that:

                              (i)  each action specified in the approval under paragraph 146B(2)(b), or each action in a class of actions specified in the approval under that paragraph, is a controlled action; and

                             (ii)  each provision of Part 3 specified in the approval under paragraph 146B(2)(c) is a controlling provision for each such controlled action;

                     (b)  the Minister is taken to have approved under Part 9, for the purposes of each controlling provision for each controlled action, the taking of the action by any of the following:

                              (i)  the person or persons (if any) specified in the approval under subsection 146B(2A) as the person or persons who may take the action;

                             (ii)  any other person who may take the action in accordance with the endorsed policy, plan or program.

             (2)  Parts 7 and 8 and paragraph 170A(c) do not apply in relation to an action if an approval of the taking of the action, or an approval of the taking of a class of actions that includes the action, in accordance with an endorsed policy, plan or program is in force under section 146B.

             (3)  Subject to subsection (4), section 134 and Divisions 2, 3 and 4 of Part 9 apply in relation to an approval of the taking of an action that is taken to have been given under Part 9 because of paragraph (1)(b).

Note:          Section 134 deals with conditions of approvals, Division 2 of Part 9 deals with compliance with conditions, Division 3 of Part 9 deals with variation of conditions and suspension and revocation of approvals and Division 4 of Part 9 deals with transfer of approvals.

             (4)  Subsection 145A(4) applies in relation to a decision whether or not to reinstate an approval of the taking of an action that is taken to have been given under Part 9 because of paragraph (1)(b), as if:

                     (a)  the reference to Subdivision B of Division 1 of Part 9 were a reference to Subdivision C of this Division; and

                     (b)  the reference to a decision whether or not to approve the taking of an action were a reference to a decision whether or not to approve, under this Subdivision, the taking of an action in accordance with an endorsed policy, plan or program.

Subdivision CConsiderations for approving taking of actions in accordance with endorsed policy, plan or program

146E  Minister must comply with this Subdivision

                   The Minister must comply with this Subdivision in deciding:

                     (a)  whether or not to approve, under section 146B, the taking of an action or a class of actions in accordance with an endorsed policy, plan or program; and

                     (b)  in the case of a decision to approve the taking of such an action or class of actions, what conditions (if any) to attach to the approval.

Note:          For the meaning of endorsed policy, plan or program, see section 146A.

146F  General considerations

             (1)  The Minister must consider the following, so far as they are not inconsistent with any other requirements of this Subdivision:

                     (a)  matters relevant to any matter protected by a provision of Part 3 that the Minister considers is relevant to the approval;

                     (b)  economic and social matters.

             (2)  In considering those matters, the Minister must take into account the principles of ecologically sustainable development.

146G  Approvals relating to declared World Heritage properties

                   If the approval relates to a declared World Heritage property, the Minister must not act inconsistently with:

                     (a)  Australia’s obligations under the World Heritage Convention; or

                     (b)  the Australian World Heritage management principles; or

                     (c)  a plan that has been prepared for the management of the declared World Heritage property under section 316 or as described in section 321.

146H  Approvals relating to National Heritage places

                   If the approval relates to a National Heritage place, the Minister must not act inconsistently with:

                     (a)  the National Heritage management principles; or

                     (b)  an agreement to which the Commonwealth is party in relation to the National Heritage place; or

                     (c)  a plan that has been prepared for the management of the National Heritage place under section 324S or as described in section 324X.

146J  Approvals relating to declared Ramsar wetlands

                   If the approval relates to a declared Ramsar wetland, the Minister must not act inconsistently with Australia’s obligations under the Ramsar Convention.

146K  Approvals relating to listed threatened species and ecological communities

             (1)  This section applies if the approval relates to a listed threatened species or a listed threatened ecological community.

             (2)  The Minister must not act inconsistently with:

                     (a)  Australia’s obligations under:

                              (i)  the Biodiversity Convention; or

                             (ii)  the Apia Convention; or

                            (iii)  CITES; or

                     (b)  a recovery plan for the species or community or a threat abatement plan.

             (3)  The Minister must have regard to any approved conservation advice for the species or community.

146L  Approvals relating to listed migratory species

                   If the approval relates to a listed migratory species, the Minister must not act inconsistently with whichever of the following conventions or agreements because of which the species is listed:

                     (a)  the Bonn Convention;

                     (b)  CAMBA;

                     (c)  JAMBA;

                     (d)  an international agreement approved under subsection 209(4).

146M  No approvals relating to nuclear actions

                   The Minister must not approve the taking of an action or a class of actions in accordance with an endorsed policy, plan or program if the action, or an action in the class of actions, consists of, or involves the construction or operation of, any of the following nuclear installations:

                     (a)  a nuclear fuel fabrication plant;

                     (b)  a nuclear power plant;

                     (c)  an enrichment plant;

                     (d)  a reprocessing facility.


 

Division 2Assessment of Commonwealth‑managed fisheries

147  Simplified outline of this Division

                   The following is a simplified outline of this Division:

The Australian Fisheries Management Authority must make agreements under Division 1 for the assessment of actions in fisheries managed under the Fisheries Management Act 1991. An agreement must be made whenever it is proposed to make a management plan or a determination not to have a plan. An agreement must be made within 5 years of the commencement of this Act for all fisheries that did not have plans at that commencement.

The Minister administering the Torres Strait Fisheries Act 1984 must make agreements under Division 1 for the assessment of actions permitted by policies or plans for managing fishing in Torres Strait. All policies or plans must be covered by an agreement within 5 years after the commencement of this Act.

A further agreement for assessment must be made if the impact of the actions is significantly greater than assessed under an earlier agreement.

If the Minister endorses a policy or plan assessed under an agreement under Division 1, the Minister must make a declaration that actions under the policy or plan do not need approval under Part 9 for the purposes of section 23 or 24A (which protect the marine environment).

148  Assessment before management plan is determined

Plans under the Fisheries Management Act 1991

             (1)  Before the Australian Fisheries Management Authority determines a plan of management for a fishery under section 17 of the Fisheries Management Act 1991, the Authority must:

                     (a)  make an agreement with the Minister under section 146 for assessment of the impacts of actions under the plan on each matter protected by a provision of Part 3; and

                     (b)  consider any recommendations made by the Minister under the agreement.

Plans under the Torres Strait Fisheries Act 1984

             (2)  Before the Minister administering the Torres Strait Fisheries Act 1984 determines a plan of management for a fishery under section 15A of that Act, he or she must:

                     (a)  make an agreement under section 146 with the Minister (the Environment Minister) administering this section for assessment of the impacts of actions under the plan on each matter protected by a provision of Part 3; and

                     (b)  consider any recommendations made by the Environment Minister under the agreement.

149  Assessment before determination that no plan required

                   Before the Australian Fisheries Management Authority determines under subsection 17(1A) of the Fisheries Management Act 1991 that a plan of management is not warranted for a fishery, the Authority must:

                     (a)  make an agreement with the Minister under section 146 for assessment of the impacts of actions on each matter protected by a provision of Part 3, being actions permitted under the Authority’s policy for managing the fishery; and

                     (b)  consider any recommendations made by the Minister under the agreement.

150  Assessment of all fisheries without plans must be started within 5 years

Fisheries managed under the Fisheries Management Act 1991

             (1)  This section applies to fisheries (as defined in the Fisheries Management Act 1991):

                     (a)  that are managed under that Act (whether as a result of arrangements under section 71 or 72 of that Act or not); and

                     (b)  for which there were not plans of management in force under that Act when this Act commenced.

Two‑thirds of fisheries to be covered by agreements in 3 years

             (2)  Before the day that is the third anniversary of this Act commencing, the Australian Fisheries Management Authority must make agreements with the Minister under section 146 for assessment of the impacts of actions on each matter protected by a provision of Part 3, being actions that are permitted under the Authority’s policies for managing at least 2/3 of the fisheries.

All fisheries to be covered by agreements in 5 years

             (3)  Before the day that is the fifth anniversary of this Act commencing, the Australian Fisheries Management Authority must make agreements with the Minister under section 146 for assessment of the impacts of actions on each matter protected by a provision of  Part 3, being actions that are permitted under the Authority’s policies for managing the fisheries.

Agreement not needed if fishery already subject to agreement

             (4)  However, subsection (3) does not require another agreement to be made in relation to a fishery if an agreement relating to the fishery has been made, before the day mentioned in that subsection, by the Authority and the Minister under section 146 because of subsection 148(1) or section 149.

151  Assessment of all Torres Strait fisheries to be started within 5 years

Fisheries managed under the Torres Strait Fisheries Act 1984

             (1)  This section applies to actions that:

                     (a)  are involved in fishing (as defined in the Torres Strait Fisheries Act 1984) in an area of Australian jurisdiction (as defined in that Act); and

                     (b)  were not covered by a plan of management in force under section 15A of that Act when this Act commenced.

Policies for all actions to be covered by agreements in 5 years

             (2)  Before the day that is the fifth anniversary of this Act commencing, the Minister administering the Torres Strait Fisheries Act 1984 must make agreements under section 146 with the Minister administering this section for assessment of the impacts of the  actions on each matter protected by a provision of Part 3, being actions that are permitted by policies under that Act.

Agreement not needed if fishery already subject to agreement

             (3)  However, subsection (2) does not require another agreement to be made in relation to actions if an agreement covering them has been made under section 146, before the day mentioned in that subsection, by the Ministers mentioned in that subsection because of subsection 148(2).

152  Further assessment if impacts greater than previously assessed

Application

             (1)  This section applies if the Minister (the Environment Minister) and the Minister administering the Fisheries Management Act 1991 agree that the impacts that actions:

                     (a)  included in a fishery managed under that Act; or

                     (b)  permitted under a policy or plan for managing fishing (as defined in the Torres Strait Fisheries Act 1984) in an area of Australian jurisdiction (as defined in that Act);

have, will have or are likely to have on a matter protected by a provision of Part 3 are significantly greater than the impacts identified in the most recent report provided to the Environment Minister under an agreement made under section 146 relating to the fishery, policy or plan.

Further assessment for management arrangements under the Fisheries Management Act 1991

             (2)  The Australian Fisheries Management Authority must make another agreement with the Minister under section 146 in relation to the Authority’s policy for managing the fishery.

Further assessment for policy or plan for Torres Strait fishing

             (3)  The Minister administering the Torres Strait Fisheries Act 1984 must make another agreement under section 146 in relation to the policy or plan for managing fishing (as defined in the Torres Strait Fisheries Act 1984) in an area of Australian jurisdiction (as defined in that Act).

153  Minister must make declaration if he or she endorses plan or policy

             (1)  This section applies if:

                     (a)  the Minister makes an agreement under section 146 as required by this Division and endorses under the agreement:

                              (i)  a plan of management under the Fisheries Management Act 1991 for a fishery; or

                             (ii)  policies of the Australian Fisheries Management Authority for managing a fishery for which there is not a plan of management under the Fisheries Management Act 1991; or

                            (iii)  a plan of management under the Torres Strait Fisheries Act 1984 for a fishery; or

                            (iv)  policies for managing fishing under the Torres Strait Fisheries Act 1984; and

                     (b)  the Minister accredits, under subsection 33(3) of this Act, as an accredited arrangement a management plan or regime consisting of the endorsed plan or policies.

             (2)  The Minister must make a declaration under section 33 that actions approved in accordance with the accredited arrangement do not require an approval under Part 9 for the purposes of subsection 23(1), (2) or (3) or subsection 24A(1), (2), (3), (4), (5) or (6).

Note:          The declaration and accreditation will allow actions that would otherwise be prohibited by sections 23 and 24A to be taken without approval if they are taken in accordance with the accredited arrangement. See section 32.

154  This Division does not limit Division 1

                   This Division does not limit Division 1.


 

Part 11Miscellaneous rules about assessments and approvals

Division 1Rules about timing

155  This Chapter ceases to apply to lapsed proposals

             (1)  If:

                     (a)  a person who proposes to take a controlled action or is the designated proponent of an action is required or requested under this Chapter to do something; and

                     (b)  the person does not do the thing within a period that the Minister believes is a reasonable period;

the Minister may give the person a written notice inviting the person to satisfy the Minister within a specified reasonable period that assessment of the action should continue or that the Minister should make a decision about approving the action.

Note:          Sections 28A and 29 of the Acts Interpretation Act 1901 explain how documents may be served and when they are taken to be served.

             (2)  If, by the end of the specified period, the person fails to satisfy the Minister that assessment of the action should continue or that the Minister should make a decision about approving the action, the Minister may declare in writing that this Chapter no longer applies to the action.

             (3)  This Chapter (apart from this section) ceases to apply in relation to the action on the date specified in the declaration. The Minister must not specify a date earlier than the date of making of the declaration.

             (4)  The Minister must:

                     (a)  give a copy of the declaration to the person and to the Secretary; and

                     (b)  publish the declaration in accordance with the regulations.

156  General rules about time limits

             (1)  If this Chapter specifies a time limit in business days in relation to a controlled action (or an action that the Minister believes may be or is a controlled action), the limit is to be worked out by reference to what is a business day in the place where the action is to be taken.

             (2)  A day is not to be counted as a business day for the purposes of subsection (1) if it is not a business day in all the places in which the action is to be taken.

             (3)  Failure to comply with a time limit set in this Chapter does not affect the validity of:

                     (a)  a decision under this Chapter; or

                     (b)  an assessment or approval under this Chapter.

Note:          The Minister must make a statement to Parliament about some failures to comply with time limits. See section 518.


 

Division 1AVariation of proposals to take actions

156A  Request to vary proposal to take an action

             (1)  If:

                     (a)  a proposal (the original proposal) by a person to take an action has been referred to the Minister under Division 1 of Part 7; and

                     (b)  after the referral is made, the person wishes to change the original proposal;

the person may, subject to subsection (2), request the Minister to accept a variation (a varied proposal) of the original proposal.

             (2)  Subsection (1) does not apply if:

                     (a)  the Minister has made a decision under section 74A to not accept the referral of the original proposal; or

                     (b)  the Minister has made a decision under section 75 that the proposed action is not a controlled action; or

                     (c)  a particular manner for taking the proposed action is identified under subsection 77A(1) in the notice given under section 77 in relation to the action; or

                     (d)  the Minister has made a decision under section 133 approving or refusing to approve the taking of the proposed action; or

                     (e)  the referral of the original proposal has been withdrawn under section 170C.

             (3)  A request under subsection (1) must:

                     (a)  be made in a way prescribed by the regulations; and

                     (b)  include the information prescribed by the regulations.

             (4)  If a request is made under subsection (1), any provisions of this Chapter that would, apart from this subsection, have applied in relation to the original proposal cease to apply to that proposal.

Note:          Provisions that have ceased to apply in relation to the original proposal under subsection (4) will start to apply to that proposal, or to the varied proposal, after the Minister has decided whether or not to accept the varied proposal. See section 156D.

156B  Minister must decide whether or not to accept a varied proposal

             (1)  Within 20 business days after receiving a request under subsection 156A(1) to accept a varied proposal to take an action, the Minister must decide whether or not to accept the varied proposal.

Note:          The Minister may request further information for the purpose of making a decision under this subsection. See section 156C.

             (2)  The Minister must not decide to accept the varied proposal unless the Minister is satisfied that the character of the varied proposal is substantially the same as the character of the original proposal. This subsection does not limit the matters the Minister may consider in deciding whether or not to accept the varied proposal.

             (3)  In considering, for the purposes of subsection (2), whether or not the character of the varied proposal is substantially the same as the character of the original proposal, the Minister must have regard to the change (if any) in:

                     (a)  the nature of the activities proposed to be carried out in taking the action; and

                     (b)  the nature and extent of the impacts (if any) the action:

                              (i)  has or will have; or

                             (ii)  is likely to have;

                            on the matter protected by each provision of Part 3.

156C  Minister may request further information in relation to a varied proposal

             (1)  If the Minister believes on reasonable grounds that a request under subsection 156A(1) to accept a varied proposal to take an action does not include enough information for the Minister to decide whether or not to accept the varied proposal, the Minister may request the person proposing to take the action to provide specified information relevant to making the decision.

             (2)  If the Minister has requested more information under subsection (1), a day is not to be counted as a business day for the purposes of subsection 156B(1) if it is:

                     (a)  on or after the day the Minister requested the information; and

                     (b)  on or before the day on which the Minister receives the last of the information requested.

156D  Effect of Minister’s decision to accept or not accept a varied proposal

             (1)  If the Minister decides to accept a varied proposal to take an action:

                     (a)  any provisions of this Chapter that, because of subsection 156A(4), have ceased to apply in relation to the original proposal start to apply in relation to the varied proposal; and

                     (b)  for the purpose of the application of those provisions, anything done in relation to the original proposal is taken to have been done in relation to the varied proposal.

             (2)  If the Minister decides not to accept a varied proposal to take an action, any provisions of this Chapter that, because of subsection 156A(4), have ceased to apply in relation to the original proposal start to apply in relation to that proposal.

             (3)  For the purpose of the application of the provisions of this Chapter in relation to the varied proposal under subsection (1), or in relation to the original proposal under subsection (2), a day is not to be counted as a business day if it is:

                     (a)  on or after the day the Minister received the request under subsection 156A(1) to accept the varied proposal; and

                     (b)  on or before the day the Minister made the decision under subsection 156B(1).

156E  Notice of decision

             (1)  Within 10 business days after deciding under subsection 156B(1) whether or not to accept a varied proposal to take an action, the Minister must give written notice of the decision to:

                     (a)  the person proposing to take the action; and

                     (b)  the designated proponent of the action (if the designated proponent of the action is not the person proposing to take the action).

             (2)  If:

                     (a)  the request to accept the varied proposal related to an action that is to be taken in a State or self‑governing Territory; and

                     (b)  a controlling provision for the action is in Division 1 of Part 3 (which deals with matters of national environmental significance); and

                     (c)  the Minister decided to accept the varied proposal;

the Minister must also, within the period referred to in subsection (1), give written notice of the decision to the appropriate Minister of the State or Territory.

             (3)  If the Minister decided to accept the varied proposal, the Minister must, within the period referred to in subsection (1), publish the request to accept the varied proposal and notice of the decision in accordance with the regulations.


 

Division 1BChange of person proposing to take action

156F  Change of person proposing to take action

Notice of change of person proposing to take action

             (1)  At any time:

                     (a)  after a proposal by a person to take an action has been referred to the Minister under Division 1 of Part 7; and

                     (b)  before the Minister has approved, or refused to approve, the taking of the action under section 133;

the person (the first person) proposing to take the action and another person (the second person) may notify the Minister, in writing, that:

                     (c)  the first person no longer proposes to take the action; and

                     (d)  the second person proposes to take the action instead.

Note:          A person who is the holder of an approval under Part 9 may transfer the approval to another person under section 145B.

When notice cannot be given

             (2)  Subsection (1) does not apply if:

                     (a)  the Minister has made a decision under section 74A to not accept the referral of the proposal to take the action; or

                     (b)  the Minister has made a decision under section 75 that the action is not a controlled action; or

                     (c)  a particular manner for taking the action is identified under subsection 77A(1) in the notice given under section 77 in relation to the action.

Notice must include prescribed information

             (3)  A notice under subsection (1) must include the information (if any) prescribed by the regulations.

Effect of notice

             (4)  If a notice is given to the Minister under subsection (1):

                     (a)  any provisions of this Chapter that, apart from this paragraph, would have applied to the first person in relation to the action cease to apply to that person and start to apply to the second person; and

                     (b)  for the purposes of the application of those provisions:

                              (i)  the second person is taken to be named in the referral of the proposal to take the action as the person proposing to take the action; and

                             (ii)  the second person is taken to have done anything the first person did in relation to the action; and

                            (iii)  anything done in relation to the first person in relation to the action is taken to have been done in relation to the second person.

Publication of notice

             (5)  Within 10 business days after receiving a notice under subsection (1), the Minister must publish a copy of the notice in accordance with the regulations.


 

Division 2Actions in area offshore from a State or the Northern Territory

157  Actions treated as though they were in a State or the Northern Territory

             (1)  A provision of this Chapter that is expressed to apply in relation to actions taken or to be taken in a State also applies in the same way to actions taken or to be taken on, under or over the seabed vested in the State by section 4 of the Coastal Waters (State Title) Act 1980.

             (2)  So far as a provision of this Chapter that is expressed to apply in relation to actions taken or to be taken in a self‑governing Territory relates to the Northern Territory, the provision also applies in the same way to actions taken or to be taken on, under or over the seabed vested in the Northern Territory by section 4 of the Coastal Waters (Northern Territory Title) Act 1980.


 

Division 3Exemptions

158  Exemptions from Part 3 and this Chapter

             (1)  A person proposing to take a controlled action, or the designated proponent of an action, may apply in writing to the Minister for an exemption from a specified provision of Part 3 or of this Chapter.

             (2)  The Minister must decide within 20 business days of receiving the application whether or not to grant the exemption.

             (3)  The Minister may, by written notice, exempt a specified person from the application of a specified provision of Part 3 or of this Chapter in relation to a specified action.

             (4)  The Minister may do so only if he or she is satisfied that it is in the national interest that the provision not apply in relation to the person or the action.

             (5)  In determining the national interest, the Minister may consider Australia’s defence or security or a national emergency. This does not limit the matters the Minister may consider.

             (6)  A provision specified in the notice does not apply in relation to the specified person or action on or after the day specified in the notice. The Minister must not specify a day earlier than the day the notice is made.

             (7)  Within 10 business days after making the notice, the Minister must:

                     (a)  publish a copy of the notice and his or her reasons for granting the exemption in accordance with the regulations; and

                     (b)  give a copy of the notice to the person specified in the notice.


 

Division 3AApproval process decisions not affected by listing events that happen after section 75 decision made

158A  Approval process decisions not affected by listing events that happen after section 75 decision made

             (1)  In this section:

approval process decision means any of the following decisions:

                     (a)  a decision under section 75 whether an action is a controlled action;

                     (b)  a decision under section 75 whether a provision of Part 3 is a controlling provision for an action;

                     (c)  a decision under section 78 in relation to a decision referred to in paragraph (a) or (b) of this definition;

                     (d)  a decision under section 87 on the approach for the assessment of the impacts of an action;

                     (e)  a decision under section 133 whether to approve an action;

                      (f)  a decision under section 134 to attach conditions to an approval of an action;

                     (g)  a decision under section 143 to revoke, vary or add to conditions attached to an approval of an action;

                     (h)  any other decision made under a provision of this Chapter that is specified in the regulations.

listing event means any of the following events:

                     (a)  a property becoming a declared World Heritage property;

                     (b)  a change in the world heritage values of a declared World Heritage property;

                     (c)  a place becoming a National Heritage place;

                     (d)  a change in the National Heritage values included in the National Heritage List for a National Heritage place;

                     (e)  a place becoming a Commonwealth Heritage place;

                      (f)  a change in the Commonwealth Heritage values included in the Commonwealth Heritage List for a Commonwealth Heritage place;

                     (g)  a wetland becoming a declared Ramsar wetland;

                     (h)  a change in the boundaries of any of the following:

                              (i)  a World Heritage property;

                             (ii)  a National Heritage place;

                            (iii)  a Commonwealth Heritage place;

                            (iv)  a declared Ramsar wetland;

                      (i)  a species becoming a listed threatened species;

                      (j)  an ecological community becoming a listed threatened ecological community;

                     (k)  a listed threatened species or a listed threatened ecological community becoming listed in another category representing a higher degree of endangerment;

                      (l)  a species becoming a listed migratory species;

                    (m)  any other event of a kind specified in the regulations.

             (2)  This section applies if:

                     (a)  the Minister has, before or after the commencement of this section, decided under section 75 (the primary decision) whether an action (the relevant action) is a controlled action (whether the decision is that the action is a controlled action, or that the action is not a controlled action); and

                     (b)  at a time that is after the commencement of this section and after the primary decision was made, a listing event occurs.

             (3)  The validity of the primary decision, or any other approval process decision made in relation to the relevant action before the listing event occurred, is not affected by the listing event, nor can it be revoked, varied, suspended, challenged, reviewed, set aside or called in question because of, or for reasons relating to, the listing event.

             (4)  After the listing event occurs, the listing event is to be disregarded:

                     (a)  in making any further approval process decision in relation to the relevant action; and

                     (b)  in doing anything under this Chapter, in relation to the relevant action, because of the making of an approval process decision in relation to the relevant action (whether that approval process decision is or was made before or after the listing event occurred).

             (5)  This section has effect despite any other provision of this Act and despite any other law.


 

Division 4Application of Chapter to actions that are not controlled actions

Subdivision AMinister’s advice on authorising actions

159  Simplified outline of this Subdivision

                   The following is a simplified outline of this Subdivision:

A Commonwealth agency or employee must consider advice from the Minister before authorising one of the following actions with a significant impact on the environment:

               (a)     providing foreign aid;

               (b)     managing aircraft operations in airspace;

               (c)     adopting or implementing a major development plan for an airport;

               (d)     an action prescribed by the regulations.

The agency or employee must inform the Minister of the proposal to authorise the action.

The environmental impacts of the action must be assessed in accordance with a declaration made by the Minister accrediting a Commonwealth assessment process, or by one of the following methods chosen by the Minister:

               (a)     a specially accredited process;

             (aa)     an assessment on referral information under Division 3A;

               (b)     an assessment on preliminary documentation under Division 4 of Part 8;

               (c)     a public environment report under Division 5 of Part 8;

               (d)     an environmental impact statement under Division 6 of Part 8;

               (e)     an inquiry under Division 7 of Part 8.

The Minister must give the agency or employee advice on protecting the environment from the action, within 30 days of receiving the report of the assessment.

160  Requirement to take account of Minister’s advice

Requirement

             (1)  Before a Commonwealth agency or employee of the Commonwealth gives an authorisation (however described) of an action described in subsection (2), the agency or employee must obtain and consider advice from the Minister in accordance with this Subdivision.

Note:          The giving of an authorisation for an action may be constituted by the renewal of an authorisation of the action or the variation of an authorisation for a different action.

Minister may decide advice is not required

          (1A)  Subsection (1) does not apply in relation to an authorisation of an action if:

                     (a)  the agency or employee has referred a proposal to give the authorisation to the Minister under subsection 161(1); and

                     (b)  the Minister has decided under subsection 161A(1) that this Subdivision does not apply in relation to the referral or the action.

Relevant actions

             (2)  Subsection (1) applies in relation to:

                     (a)  the entry by the Commonwealth, under Australia’s foreign aid program, into a contract, agreement or arrangement for the implementation of a project that has, will have or is likely to have a significant impact on the environment anywhere in the world; and

                     (b)  the adoption or implementation of a plan for aviation airspace management involving aircraft operations that have, will have or are likely to have a significant impact on the environment; and

                     (c)  the adoption or implementation of a major development plan (as defined in the Airports Act 1996); and

                     (d)  any other action prescribed by the regulations for the purposes of this paragraph.

          (2A)  Regulations may prescribe an action for the purposes of paragraph (2)(d):

                     (a)  partly by reference to the action’s having, or being likely to have, a significant impact on the environment; or

                     (b)  partly by reference to a specified person believing that the action has, will have or is likely to have a significant impact on the environment; or

                     (c)  wholly or partly by reference to legislation under which the authorisation of the action is to be granted.

This does not limit the ways in which regulations may prescribe an action.

This section does not apply to actions like those already assessed

             (3)  Subsection (1) does not apply in relation to a particular authorisation (the later authorisation) if the agency or employee has complied with, or is complying with, this Subdivision in relation to another authorisation or proposed authorisation and is satisfied of one or both of the matters in subsection (4).

Which actions are like actions?

             (4)  For the purposes of subsection (3), the agency or employee must be satisfied that:

                     (a)  the Minister’s advice relating to the other authorisation deals or will deal with all the impacts that the action to which the later authorisation relates has, will have or is likely to have on the environment; or

                     (b)  the impacts that the action to which the later authorisation relates has, will have or is likely to have on the environment:

                              (i)  are an extension of the corresponding impacts of the action to which the other authorisation relates; and

                             (ii)  are not significantly different in nature from those corresponding impacts; and

                            (iii)  do not significantly add to those corresponding impacts.

State law excluded in relation to aviation

             (5)  A law of a State or Territory does not apply in relation to the assessment of the certain or likely environmental impacts of an action described in paragraph (2)(b) if subsection (1) applies in relation to authorisation of the action, or would apply apart from subsection (3).

161  Seeking the Minister’s advice

Requirement for referral

             (1)  If a Commonwealth agency or employee of the Commonwealth proposing to give an authorisation (however described) of an action thinks the agency or employee is required by section 160 (disregarding subsection 160(1A)) to obtain and consider the Minister’s advice before giving the authorisation, the agency or employee must:

                     (a)  refer the proposal to the Minister; and

                     (b)  nominate a person to act as designated proponent of the action.

Minister may request referral

             (2)  The Minister may request a Commonwealth agency or employee of the Commonwealth to:

                     (a)  refer to the Minister a proposal to give an authorisation (however described) of an action; and

                     (b)  nominate a person to act as designated proponent of the action;

if the Minister thinks the agency or employee is required by section 160 (disregarding subsection 160(1A)) to obtain and consider the Minister’s advice before giving the authorisation.

Complying with Minister’s request

             (3)  The Commonwealth agency or employee must comply with the Minister’s request.

Content of referral

             (4)  A referral must include the information prescribed by the regulations.

161A  Minister may decide that advice is not required

             (1)  If:

                     (a)  the Minister receives a referral under subsection 161(1) of a proposal by a Commonwealth agency or employee of the Commonwealth to give an authorisation of an action; and

                     (b)  the Minister is satisfied, on the basis of the information in the referral, that the action does not have, will not have or is not likely to have a significant impact on the environment;

the Minister may decide, in writing, that this Subdivision does not apply in relation to the referral or the action.

             (2)  If the Minister decides that this Subdivision does not apply in relation to the referral or the action, this Act (other than Divisions 2 and 3 of Part 7) applies as if the Minister had decided under Division 2 of Part 7 that the action is not a controlled action.

             (3)  If the Minister decides that this Subdivision does not apply in relation to the referral or the action, the Minister must:

                     (a)  give written notice of the decision to the agency or employee who referred the proposal to give an authorisation of the action; and

                     (b)  publish notice of the decision in accordance with the regulations.

161B  Certain provisions of other Acts not to apply if Minister decides that advice is not required

             (1)  This section applies in relation to a provision of another Act that is expressed to apply if:

                     (a)  the advice of the Minister is sought under this Subdivision in relation to a proposal to give an authorisation (however described) of an action; or

                     (b)  a proposal to give an authorisation (however described) of an action is referred to the Minister under this Subdivision.

             (2)  The provision does not apply in relation to an action if:

                     (a)  a proposal to give an authorisation (however described) of the action has been referred to the Minister under section 161; and

                     (b)  the Minister has decided under section 161A that this Subdivision does not apply in relation to the referral or the action.

Note:          See, for example, subsections 94(6A) and 95(3A) of the Airports Act 1996 and subsections 16(5) and 29(5) of the Hazardous Waste (Regulation of Exports and Imports) Act 1989.

162  Assessment of the action

                   Part 8 (except sections 82, 83 and 84) and the other provisions of this Act (so far as they relate to that Part) apply in relation to the action proposed to be authorised as if:

                     (a)  the referral of the proposal to give the authorisation were a referral of a proposal to take the action; and

                     (b)  the Minister had decided under Division 2 of Part 7 that the action was a controlled action when the proposal to give the authorisation was referred to the Minister; and

                     (c)  the person nominated to act as the designated proponent had been designated as the proponent of the action by the Minister under section 75; and

                     (d)  a reference in Part 8 or those provisions to the relevant impacts of the action were a reference to the impact that the action has, will have or is likely to have on the environment; and

                     (e)  a reference in Part 8 or those provisions to making an informed decision on approving under Part 9 (for the purposes of each controlling provision) the taking of the action were a reference to giving informed advice about the proposal to give an authorisation of the action.

163  Providing advice

             (1)  The Minister must give advice on the following matters to the Commonwealth agency or employee of the Commonwealth who referred the proposal to give an authorisation of the action:

                     (a)  whether the agency or employee should give the authorisation;

                     (b)  what conditions (if any) should be attached to the authorisation (if possible) to protect the environment;

                     (c)  any other matter relating to protection of the environment from the action.

             (2)  The Minister must give the advice within 30 business days of receiving:

                     (a)  a report mentioned in subsection 84(3) relating to the action; or

                    (aa)  a finalised recommendation report under Division 3A of Part 8 (as applied by section 162) relating to the action; or

                    (ab)  the documents given to the Minister under subsection 95B(1) (as applied by section 162), or the statement given to the Minister under subsection 95B(3) (as applied by section 162), as the case requires, relating to the action; or

                    (ac)  a finalised public environment report under Division 5 of Part 8 (as applied by section 162) relating to the action; or

                    (ad)  a finalised environmental impact statement under Division 6 of Part 8 (as applied by section 162) relating to the action; or

                     (b)  a report of an inquiry under Division 7 of Part 8 (as applied by section 162) relating to the action.

164  Reporting on response to advice

                   As soon as practicable after considering the Minister’s advice, the Commonwealth agency or employee of the Commonwealth must give the Minister a report stating:

                     (a)  what action has been taken in relation to the Minister’s advice; and

                     (b)  if the agency or employee did not give effect to some or all of the Minister’s advice—why the agency or employee did not do so.

Subdivision CAssessment under agreement with State or Territory

166  This Subdivision applies if Ministers agree it should

             (1)  This Subdivision applies if the Minister and a Minister of a State or self‑governing Territory agree that it should apply in relation to an action that:

                     (a)  is to be taken in the State or Territory by a constitutional corporation; or

                     (b)  if the agreement is with a Minister of a Territory—is to be taken in the Territory; or

                     (c)  is to be taken in the State or Territory by a person for the purposes of trade or commerce:

                              (i)  between Australia and another country; or

                             (ii)  between 2 States; or

                            (iii)  between a State and a Territory; or

                            (iv)  between 2 Territories; or

                     (d)  is to be taken in the State or Territory and is an action whose assessment under this Subdivision is an appropriate means of giving effect to Australia’s obligations under an agreement with one or more other countries.

             (2)  This section applies to the adoption or implementation of a policy, plan or program in the same way as it applies to any other action.

             (3)  Despite subsection (1), this Subdivision does not apply in relation to an action to be taken in 2 or more States or self‑governing Territories unless there is an agreement between the Minister and a Minister of each of those States and Territories that this Subdivision should apply in relation to the action.

167  Making an agreement

Power to make agreement

             (1)  The Minister may make a written agreement with a Minister of a State or self‑governing Territory to apply this Subdivision in relation to an action to be taken in the State or Territory.

Prerequisites for making agreement

             (2)  The Minister may agree only if he or she is satisfied that the action is not a controlled action.

Minister must not make an agreement that gives preference

             (3)  The Minister must not enter into an agreement that has the effect of giving preference (within the meaning of section 99 of the Constitution) to one State or part of a State over another State or part of a State, in relation to the taking of the action:

                     (a)  by a constitutional corporation; or

                     (b)  by a person for the purposes of trade or commerce between Australia and another country or between 2 States.

168  Content of an agreement

Generally

             (1)  An agreement to apply this Subdivision in relation to an action must:

                     (a)  specify that one of the following is to apply in relation to the action:

                              (i)  Division 3A of Part 8;

                             (ii)  Division 4 of Part 8;

                            (iii)  Division 5 of Part 8;

                            (iv)  Division 6 of Part 8;

                             (v)  Division 7 of Part 8;

                            (vi)  Subdivision A of Division 1 of Part 10; and

                     (b)  if it specifies that Division 3A, 4, 5 or 6 of Part 8 is to apply in relation to the action—specify the person who is taken to be the designated proponent of the action for the purposes of that Division.

Agreement applying Division 5 of Part 8

             (3)  An agreement that specifies that Division 5 of Part 8 (about public environment reports) is to apply in relation to an action may deal with how the Minister will exercise his or her power:

                     (a)  under section 97 to prepare tailored guidelines for the preparation of a draft report; or

                     (b)  under section 98 to approve publication of a draft report or specify a period for comment.

Agreement applying Division 6 of Part 8

             (4)  An agreement that specifies that Division 6 of Part 8 (about environmental impact statements) is to apply in relation to an action may deal with how the Minister will exercise his or her power:

                     (a)  under section 102 to prepare tailored guidelines for the preparation of a draft statement; or

                     (b)  under section 103 to approve publication of a draft statement or specify a period for comment.

Agreement applying Division 7 of Part 8

             (5)  An agreement that specifies that Division 7 of Part 8 (about inquiries) is to apply in relation to an action may deal with how the Minister will exercise his or her power under section 107:

                     (a)  to appoint one or more persons as commissioners, and to appoint a person to preside; or

                     (b)  to specify the matters relating to the action that are to be the subject of the inquiry and report; or

                     (c)  to specify the time within which the commission must report to the Minister; or

                     (d)  to specify the manner in which the commission is to carry out the inquiry.

Agreement applying Part 10

             (6)  An agreement that specifies that Subdivision A of Division 1 of Part 10 is to apply may:

                     (a)  be in the same document as an agreement mentioned in that Subdivision; or

                     (b)  specify the manner in which an agreement the Minister makes under that Subdivision is to provide for matters that that Subdivision requires that agreement to provide for.

169  Application of a Division of Part 8

Provisions that apply

             (1)  If the agreement states that a particular Division of Part 8 is to apply in relation to the assessment of an action, the following provisions of this Act (the applied provisions) apply in relation to the action as set out in subsection (2):

                     (a)  that Division;

                     (b)  the other provisions of this Act (except Part 9), so far as they relate to that Division.

Modification of applied provisions

             (2)  The applied provisions apply in relation to the action as if:

                     (a)  the Minister had decided under Division 2 of Part 7 that the action was a controlled action; and

                     (b)  the Minister had decided that the relevant impacts of the action must be assessed under the Division specified in the agreement applying the Division; and

                     (c)  the person specified in the agreement as the person who is taken to be the designated proponent of the action for the purposes of that Division had been designated as the proponent of the action by the Minister under section 75; and

                     (d)  a reference in the applied provisions to the relevant impacts of the action were a reference to the impact that the action has, will have or is likely to have on the environment; and

                     (e)  a reference in the applied provisions to making an informed decision on approving under Part 9 (for the purposes of each controlling provision) the taking of the action were a reference to making an informed report and recommendations relating to the action.

Modification of Division 4 of Part 8

             (3)  Also, if the agreement states that Division 4 of Part 8 is to apply in relation to the action, that Division applies in relation to the action as if paragraphs 95(2)(a) and (b) and 95A(3)(a), (b) and (c) merely referred to specified information relating to the action.

Minister must give copy of report to State or Territory Minister

             (4)  The Minister must give a copy of the report he or she receives from the Secretary or commission of inquiry under the applied provisions in relation to the action to each Minister of a State or Territory who is party to the agreement.

170  Application of Subdivision A of Division 1 of Part 10

                   If an agreement to apply this Subdivision states that Subdivision A of Division 1 of Part 10 is to apply:

                     (a)  that Subdivision applies as if:

                              (i)  the reference in subsection 146(1) to relevant impacts of actions were a reference to the impacts the actions have, will have or are likely to have on the environment; and

                             (ii)  paragraph 146(2)(f) were omitted; and

                     (b)  the Minister must give a copy of the report provided to the Minister under the agreement made under section 146, and of any recommendations made by the Minister under the agreement, to each Minister of a State or Territory who is party to the agreement to apply this Subdivision.


 

Division 5Publication of information relating to assessments

170A  Publication of information relating to assessments

                   The Secretary must publish on the Internet every week notice of the following:

                     (a)  the publication in the immediately preceding week by the Minister under section 45 of a notice of the Minister’s intention to develop a draft bilateral agreement;

                     (b)  each referral (if any) of an action received by the Minister under Division 1 of Part 7 in the immediately preceding week;

                     (c)  each decision (if any) in the immediately preceding week under Division 2 of Part 7 that an action is a controlled action;

                     (d)  each decision (if any) in the immediately preceding week under Division 3 of Part 8 about which approach is to be used for assessment of the relevant impacts of an action;

                    (da)  each draft recommendation report and invitation (if any) published in the immediately preceding week under Division 3A of Part 8 (about assessment on referral information);

                     (e)  the information and invitations (if any) published in the immediately preceding week under Division 4 of Part 8 (about assessment on preliminary documentation);

                      (f)  each set of guidelines (if any) prepared in the immediately preceding week by the Minister under Division 5 or 6 of Part 8 for a report or statement;

                     (g)  each public invitation (if any) issued in the immediately preceding week by the Minister to comment on a draft of guidelines under Division 5 or 6 of Part 8 for a report or statement;

                     (h)  each draft or finalised report or statement published in the immediately preceding week under Division 5 or 6 of Part 8 by a designated proponent;

                      (i)  each finalised recommendation report given to the Minister under Division 3A of Part 8 in the immediately preceding week;

                     (ia)  each recommendation report given to the Minister in the immediately preceding week under section 95C, 100 or 105;

                      (j)  any other matter prescribed by the regulations.

170B  Information critical to protecting matters of national environmental significance not to be disclosed

             (1)  The Minister may, by notice in writing to a person, direct the person not to disclose specified information when publishing a document or material as required or permitted by a specified provision of this Chapter, if the Minister considers that the information is critical to the protection of a matter protected by a provision of Division 1 of Part 3 (about matters of national environmental significance).

             (2)  A provision of this Chapter that is specified in a direction under subsection (1) has effect as if it did not require or permit the publication of the information specified in the direction.