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A Bill for an Act to amend the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999, and for related purposes
For authoritative information on the progress of bills and on amendments proposed to them, please see the House of Representatives Votes and Proceedings, and the Journals of the Senate as available on the Parliament House website.
Registered 04 Nov 2011
Introduced Senate 01 Nov 2011
Table of contents.

2010‑2011

 

The Parliament of the

Commonwealth of Australia

 

THE SENATE

 

 

 

 

Presented and read a first time

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Amendment (Protecting Australia’s Water Resources) Bill 2011

 

No.      , 2011

 

(Senator Waters)

 

 

 

A Bill for an Act to amend the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999, and for related purposes

  

  


Contents

1............ Short title............................................................................................. 1

2............ Commencement................................................................................... 1

3............ Schedule(s)......................................................................................... 2

Schedule 1—Amendments                                                                                                3

Environment Protection and Biodiversity Act 1999                                             3

 


A Bill for an Act to amend the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999, and for related purposes

The Parliament of Australia enacts:

1  Short title

                   This Act may be cited as the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Amendment (Protecting Australia’s Water Resources) Act 2011.

2  Commencement

             (1)  Each provision of this Act specified in column 1 of the table commences, or is taken to have commenced, in accordance with column 2 of the table. Any other statement in column 2 has effect according to its terms.

 

Commencement information

Column 1

Column 2

Column 3

 

Provision(s)

Commencement

Date/Details

 

1.  Sections 1 to 3 and anything in this Act not elsewhere covered by this table

The day this Act receives the Royal Assent.

 

 

2.  Schedule 1

1 November 2011.

1 November 2011

 

Note:          This table relates only to the provisions of this Act as originally enacted. It will not be amended to deal with any later amendments of this Act.

             (2)  Any information in column 3 of the table is not part of this Act. Information may be inserted in this column, or information in it may be edited, in any published version of this Act.

3  Schedule(s)

                   Each Act that is specified in a Schedule to this Act is amended or repealed as set out in the applicable items in the Schedule concerned, and any other item in a Schedule to this Act has effect according to its terms.


 

Schedule 1Amendments

  

Environment Protection and Biodiversity Act 1999

1  After Subdivision FA of Division 1 of Part 3

Insert:

Subdivision FBProtection of water resources from mining operations

24D  Requirement for approval of mining operations with a significant impact on water resources

             (1)  A constitutional corporation, the Commonwealth or a Commonwealth agency must not take an action in the course of mining operations that has, will have or is likely to have a significant impact on the quality, structural integrity or hydraulic balance of a water resource.

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 in the course of mining operations that has, will have or is likely to have a significant impact on the quality, structural integrity or hydraulic balance of a water resource.

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 the course of mining operations in:

                     (a)  a Commonwealth area; or

                     (b)  a Territory;

that has, will have or is likely to have a significant impact on the quality, structural integrity or hydraulic balance of a water resource.

Civil Penalty:

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

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

             (4)  Subsections (1) to (3) (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).

24E  What are mining operations?

             (1)  The following are mining operations:

                     (a)  operations or activities connected with, or incidental to, the mining or recovery of minerals (including petroleum or gas) or the production of material from minerals, including:

                              (i)  prospecting and exploration for minerals; and

                             (ii)  milling, refining, treatment and processing of minerals; and

                            (iii)  storage and disposal of minerals and materials produced from minerals;

                     (b)  the construction and use of towns, camps, dams, pipelines power lines or other structures for the purposes of operations or activities described in paragraph (a);

                     (c)  the performance of any other work for the purposes of operations or activities described in paragraph (a).

             (2)  A mineral is any non‑living substance that can be extracted from the ground, whether naturally occurring or created by or during the process of extraction:

                     (a)  including, but not limited to, coal, ores, petroleum, natural gas, coal seam gas, rock, sand and gravel; but

                     (b)  not including water, except where water is extracted as a part of the process of extracting another substance.

24F  What is a water resource?

A water resource is:

                     (a)  the whole or any part of a river, lake, aquifer or other place where water occurs naturally on or below the surface of the ground, whether permanently, seasonally or during unusually wet seasons; or

                     (b)  any recharge zone or system for such a place.

24G  Offences relating to mining operations

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

                     (a)  the corporation or agency takes an action in the course of mining operations; and

                     (b)  the action results or will result in a significant impact on the quality, structural integrity or hydraulic balance of a water resource.

Penalty:  Imprisonment for 7 years or 420 penalty units, or both.

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

                     (a)  the corporation or agency takes an action in the course of mining operations; and

                     (b)  the action is likely to have a significant impact on the quality, structural integrity or hydraulic balance of a water resource.

Penalty:  Imprisonment for 7 years or 420 penalty units, or both.

             (3)  A person commits an offence if:

                     (a)  the person takes an action in the course of mining operations; 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 quality, structural integrity or hydraulic balance of a water resource.

Penalty:  Imprisonment for 7 years or 420 penalty units, or both.

             (4)  A person commits an offence if:

                     (a)  the person takes an action in the course of mining operations; 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 quality, structural integrity or hydraulic balance of a water resource.

Penalty:  Imprisonment for 7 years or 420 penalty units, or both.

             (5)  A person commits an offence if:

                     (a)  the person takes an action in the course of mining operations; 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 quality, structural integrity or hydraulic balance of a water resource.

Penalty:  Imprisonment for 7 years or 420 penalty units, or both.

             (6)  A person commits an offence if:

                     (a)  the person takes an action in the course of mining operations; 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 quality, structural integrity or hydraulic balance of a water resource.

Penalty:  Imprisonment for 7 years or 420 penalty units, or both.

Note 1:       An executive officer of a body corporate convicted of an offence against this section may also commit an offence against section 495.

Note 2:       If a person takes an action on land that contravenes this section, a landholder may commit an offence against section 496C.

             (7)  Subsections (1) to (6) (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.

2  At the end of subsection 25AA(2)

Add:

                    ; (i)  subsections 24G(1) to (6).

3  At the end of subsection 25AA(3)

Add:

                    ; (i)  subsections 24D(1) to (3).

4  Section 34 (after table item 13G)

Insert:

 

13H

section 24D

water resources

13I

section 24G

water resources

5  At the end of Division 6 of Part 4

Add:

43C  Mining operations with prior authorisation

                   A person may take an action described in a provision of Subdivision FB of Division 1 of Part 3 without an approval under Part 9 for the purposes of the provision if taking the action:

                     (a)  was, or would have been, lawful immediately before the commencement of Subdivision FB of Division 1 of Part 3; and

                     (b)  would be lawful at the time it is taken if Subdivision FB of Division 1 of Part 3 had not been enacted.

6  At the end of subsection 355(1)

Add:

Note:          For mining operations, see section 24E.              

7  Subsections 355(2) and (3)

Repeal the subsections.

8  After subparagraph 495(2)(a)(vi)

Insert:

                          (vib)  section 24G (Offences relating to mining operations); or

9  After subparagraph 496C(1)(a)(vii)

Insert:

                         (viib)  section 24G (Offences relating to mining operations); or

10  Section 528 (definition of mineral)

Omit “355(3)”, substitute “24E(2)”.

11  Section 528 (definition of mining operations)

Omit “355(2)”, substitute “24E(1)”.

12  Section 528

Insert:

water resource has the meaning given by section 24F.