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A Bill for an Act to restrict activities in relation to thermal coal, and for related purposes
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Registered 19 Feb 2019
Introduced HR 18 Feb 2019
Table of contents.

2016‑2017‑2018‑2019

 

The Parliament of the

Commonwealth of Australia

 

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

 

 

 

 

Presented and read a first time

 

 

 

 

Coal Prohibition (Quit Coal) Bill 2019

 

No.      , 2019

 

(Mr Bandt)

 

 

 

A Bill for an Act to restrict activities in relation to thermal coal, and for related purposes

  

  


Contents

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

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

3............ Schedules............................................................................................ 2

Schedule 1—Amendments                                                                                                3

Part 1—Amendments                                                                                                    3

Customs Act 1901                                                                                                        3

Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999                   8

Part 2—Consequential amendments                                                                    15

Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999                 15

Part 3—Application of amendments                                                                   16

 

 


A Bill for an Act to restrict activities in relation to thermal coal, and for related purposes

The Parliament of Australia enacts:

1  Short title

                   This Act is the Coal Prohibition (Quit Coal) Act 2019.

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

Provisions

Commencement

Date/Details

1.  The whole of this Act

The day after this Act receives the Royal Assent.

 

Note:          This table relates only to the provisions of this Act as originally enacted.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  Schedules

                   Legislation 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

Part 1Amendments

Customs Act 1901

1  Subsection 4(1)

Insert:

thermal coal means coal that is not coking coal.

2  Section 50 (heading)

Repeal the heading, substitute:

50  Regulations may prohibit the importation of goods

3  After section 50

Insert:

50A  Prohibition of the importation of thermal coal

             (1)  The importation into Australia of thermal coal is prohibited unless:

                     (a)  an authority of the Commonwealth, a State or a Territory provides a confirmation that states that the thermal coal is being imported for research, analysis or display; and

                     (b)  a copy of the confirmation is produced to a Collector at or before the time of importation.

             (2)  For the purposes of subsection (1), thermal coal is not imported for research, analysis or display if the thermal coal is to be used for the purpose of, or for purposes that include the purposes of:

                     (a)  establishing, expanding, operating or modifying (or research relating to the establishment, expansion, operation or modification of) a coal mine at which thermal coal is, or is to be, extracted (whether or not anything else is, or is to be, extracted at the mine); or

                     (b)  establishing, expanding, operating or modifying (or research relating to the establishment, expansion, operation or modification of) a power station that generates, or is to generate, electricity from thermal coal (whether or not the power station also generates, or is also to generate, electricity from anything other than thermal coal).

4  Subsection 51(1)

After “section 50”, insert “or 50A”.

5  Section 112 (heading)

Repeal the heading, substitute:

112  Regulations may prohibit the exportation of goods

6  After section 112

Insert:

112AA  Prohibition of the exportation of thermal coal

Prohibition of the exportation of thermal coal

             (1)  The exportation of thermal coal from Australia is prohibited unless:

                     (a)  either:

                              (i)  the thermal coal is exported before 2030 in accordance with a permission granted under subsection (3); or

                             (ii)  an authority of the Commonwealth, a State or a Territory provides a confirmation that states that the thermal coal is being exported for research, analysis or display; and

                     (b)  the permission or a copy of the confirmation is produced to a Collector at or before the time of exportation.

             (2)  For the purposes of subparagraph (1)(a)(ii), thermal coal is not exported for research, analysis or display if the thermal coal is to be used for the purpose of, or for purposes that include the purposes of:

                     (a)  establishing, expanding, operating or modifying, or research relating to the establishment, expansion, operation or modification of, a coal mine at which thermal coal is, or is to be, extracted (whether or not anything else is, or is to be, extracted at the mine); or

                     (b)  establishing, expanding, operating or modifying, or research relating to the establishment, expansion, operation or modification of, a power station that generates, or is to generate, electricity from thermal coal (whether or not the power station also generates, or is also to generate, electricity from anything other than thermal coal).

Grant of permissions to export thermal coal

             (3)  The Minister may, on application in accordance with the regulations, grant a written permission to export thermal coal from Australia.

             (4)  A permission under subsection (3):

                     (a)  must specify the quantity of thermal coal that may be exported in accordance with the permission in a specified calendar year (being a year earlier than 2030); and

                     (b)  may specify any conditions or requirements to which the permission is subject.

             (5)  Subject to subsection (6), the quantity of thermal coal to be specified in a permission under subsection (3) in relation to a particular calendar year is the quantity specified in, or worked out in accordance with, the regulations.

             (6)  A permission under subsection (3) must not specify a quantity of thermal coal in relation to a particular calendar year if the total quantity of thermal coal specified in relation to that calendar year in permissions under subsection (3) will exceed the thermal coal exportation limit for that calendar year.

Thermal coal exportation limit

             (7)  For the purposes of this section, the thermal coal exportation limit for a calendar year specified in column 1 of an item in the following table is the quantity of thermal coal specified in column 2 of that item.

 

Thermal coal exportation limits

Item

Column 1

Calendar year

Column 2

Thermal coal exportation limit

Quantity of thermal coal in kilotonnes per year

1

2019

185,500

2

2020

170,000

3

2021

153,500

4

2022

137,000

5

2023

120,500

6

2024

104,000

7

2025

87,500

8

2026

71,000

9

2027

54,500

10

2028

38,000

11

2029

21,500

 

Revocation of permissions

             (8)  The Minister may, in accordance with the regulations, revoke a permission granted under subsection (3) if the holder of the permission contravenes a condition or requirement referred to in paragraph (4)(b).

Review of decisions

             (9)  Applications may be made to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal for review of a decision of the Minister:

                     (a)  not to grant a permission under subsection (3); or

                     (b)  to grant a permission specifying a condition or requirement; or

                     (c)  to revoke a permission granted under subsection (3).

Offences

           (10)  A person commits an offence if:

                     (a)  a permission is granted under subsection (3); and

                     (b)  the permission is subject to a condition or requirement to be complied with by the person; and

                     (c)  the person engages in conduct; and

                     (d)  the person’s conduct contravenes the condition or requirement.

Penalty:  100 penalty units.

           (11)  Subsection (10) is an offence of strict liability.

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

           (12)  Absolute liability applies to paragraph (10)(a), despite subsection (11).

Note:          For absolute liability, see section 6.2 of the Criminal Code.

           (13)  A person commits an offence if:

                     (a)  a permission is granted under subsection (3); and

                     (b)  the permission is subject to a condition or requirement to be complied with by the person; and

                     (c)  the person engages in conduct; and

                     (d)  the person’s conduct contravenes the condition or requirement.

Penalty:  Imprisonment for 2 years or 20 penalty units, or both.

           (14)  Absolute liability applies to paragraph (13)(a).

Note:          For absolute liability, see section 6.2 of the Criminal Code.

Definition

           (15)  In this section:

engage in conduct means:

                     (a)  do an act; or

                     (b)  omit to perform an act.

112AB  Prohibited exports

                   Goods, the exportation of which is prohibited under section 112 or 112AA, are prohibited exports.

Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999

7  After Subdivision FB of Division 1 of Part 3

Insert:

Subdivision FCThermal coal

24F  Requirement for approval of thermal coal activities

             (1)  A constitutional corporation, the Commonwealth or a Commonwealth agency must not take an action if the action involves thermal coal activity.

Civil penalty:

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

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

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

                     (a)  the action involves thermal coal activity; 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.

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 if:

                     (a)  the action involves thermal coal activity; and

                     (b)  the action is taken in:

                              (i)  a Commonwealth area; or

                             (ii)  a Territory.

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, Commonwealth agency or person is in operation under Part 9 for the purposes of this section; or

                     (b)  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.

             (5)  A person who wishes to rely on subsection (4) in proceedings for a contravention of a civil penalty provision bears an evidential burden in relation to the matters in that subsection.

24G  What is thermal coal activity?

             (1)  A thermal coal activity means any of the following:

                     (a)  establishing, expanding, operating or modifying a coal mine at which thermal coal is, or is to be, extracted (whether or not anything else is, or is to be, extracted at the mine);

                     (b)  handling, stockpiling, processing or transporting thermal coal extracted from a mine;

                     (c)  establishing, expanding, operating or modifying a power station that generates, or is to generate, electricity from thermal coal (whether or not the power station also generates, or is also to generate, electricity from anything other than thermal coal);

                     (d)  any other action prescribed by the regulations.

             (2)  Despite subsection (1), an action referred to in that subsection is not a thermal coal activity if the primary purpose of the action is the rehabilitation of a mine.

             (3)  In this Act:

thermal coal means coal that is not coking coal.

24H  Offences relating to thermal coal activity

             (1)  A constitutional corporation, or a Commonwealth agency that does not enjoy the immunities of the Commonwealth, commits an offence if the corporation or agency takes an action involving thermal coal activity.

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

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

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

             (2)  A person commits an offence if:

                     (a)  the person takes an action involving thermal coal activity; 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 a Territory; or

                            (iv)  between 2 Territories.

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

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

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

             (3)  A person commits an offence if:

                     (a)  the person takes an action involving thermal coal activity; and

                     (b)  the action is taken in:

                              (i)  a Territory; or

                             (ii)  a Commonwealth area.

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

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

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

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

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

8  Section 34 (after table item 13J)

Insert:

 

13K

section 24F

the environment

13L

section 24H

the environment

 

9  After section 34E

Insert:

34EA  No declarations relating to thermal coal activity

                   The Minister must not make a declaration under section 33 relating to an action consisting of, or involving, thermal coal activity.

10  At the end of Subdivision C of Division 3 of Part 4

Add:

37K  No declarations relating to thermal coal activity

                   The Minister must not make a declaration under section 37A relating to an action consisting of, or involving, thermal coal activity.

11  Section 37M

After “Part 3”, insert “, other than section 24F or 24H,”.

12  At the end of Division 6 of Part 4

Add:

43C  This Division does not apply to thermal coal activity

                   This Division does not apply to an action consisting of, or involving, thermal coal activity.

13  At the end of section 49

Add:

             (4)  A provision of a bilateral agreement does not have any effect in relation to an action consisting of, or involving, thermal coal activity.

14  After paragraph 135(1)(a)

Insert:

                    (aa)  for the purposes of section 24F or 24H of an action involving thermal coal activity and that 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; or

15  At the end of Subdivision B of Division 1 of Part 9

Add:

141  No approval for action involving thermal coal activity unless for research etc.

             (1)  The Minister must not approve an action for the purposes of section 24F or 24H unless the Minister is satisfied that the action is to be undertaken solely for the purposes of research, analysis or display.

             (2)  For the purposes of subsection (1), an action is not undertaken for the purposes of research, analysis or display if the action is to be taken for the purpose of, or for purposes that include the purpose of:

                     (a)  establishing, expanding, operating or modifying (or research relating to the establishment, expansion, operation or modification of) a coal mine at which thermal coal is, or is to be, extracted (whether or not anything else is, or is to be, extracted at the mine); or

                     (b)  establishing, expanding, operating or modifying (or research relating to the establishment, expansion, operation or modification of) a power station that generates, or is to generate, electricity from thermal coal (whether or not the power station also generates, or is also to generate, electricity from anything other than thermal coal).

             (3)  If the Minister approves an action for the purposes of section 24F or 24H because the Minister is satisfied that the action is to be undertaken solely for the purposes of research, analysis or display, the Minister must attach to the approval the condition that the action is undertaken solely for that purpose.

16  At the end of Subdivision C of Division 1 of Part 10

Add:

146MA  No approvals relating to thermal coal activity

                   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, thermal coal activity.

17  After subparagraph 495(2)(a)(via)

Insert:

                          (vib)  section 24H (Offences relating to thermal coal activity); or

18  After subparagraph 496C(1)(a)(viia)

Insert:

                         (viib)  section 24H (Offences relating to thermal coal activity); or

19  Section 528

Insert:

thermal coal has the meaning given by section 24G.

thermal coal activity has the meaning given by section 24G.

Part 2Consequential amendments

Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999

20  Section 528 (definition of large coal mining development)

After “coal mining activity”, insert “(other than a thermal coal activity)”.

Part 3Application of amendments

21  Application of amendments

(1)       Section 50A of the Customs Act 1901 as inserted by Part 1 of this Schedule applies in relation to the importation of thermal coal on or after 1 January 2030.

(2)       Section 112AA of the Customs Act 1901 as inserted by Part 1 of this Schedule applies in relation to the exportation of thermal coal on or after 1 July 2019.

(3)       Subdivision FC of Division 1 of Part 3 of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999, as inserted by Part 1 of this Schedule, applies in relation to:

                     (a)  an action involving establishing or expanding a coal mine or a power station that is taken on or after the day this item commences; and

                     (b)  an action involving a thermal coal activity other than establishing or expanding a coal mine or a power station that is taken on or after 1 January 2030.

(4)       Sections 34EA and 37K of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999, as inserted by Part 1 of this Schedule, apply in relation to:

                     (a)  a declaration, relating to an action involving establishing or expanding a coal mine or a power station, made on or after the day this item commences; and

                     (b)  a declaration, relating to an action involving a thermal coal activity other than establishing or expanding a coal mine or a power station, made on or after 1 January 2030.

(5)       The amendment of section 49 of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 made by Part 1 of this Schedule applies:

                     (a)  from the commencement of this item in relation to an action involving establishing or expanding a coal mine or a power station; and

                     (b)  from 1 January 2030 in relation to an action involving a thermal coal activity other than establishing or expanding a coal mine or a power station.

(6)       The amendment of section 528 of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 made by Part 2 of this Schedule applies in relation to:

                     (a)  an action involving establishing or expanding a coal mine that is taken on or after the day this item commences; and

                     (b)  an action involving a large coal mining development other than establishing or expanding a coal mine that is taken on or after 1 January 2030.

22  Constitutional matters

The amendments made by this Schedule do not apply to the extent (if any) to which their operation would result in an acquisition of property (within the meaning of paragraph 51(xxxi) of the Constitution) from a person otherwise than on just terms (within the meaning of that paragraph of the Constitution).