Federal Register of Legislation - Australian Government

Primary content

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 Feb 2021
Introduced Senate 04 Feb 2021

 

 

 

 

2019-2021

 

 

 

 

 

THE PARLIAMENT OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA

 

 

 

 

 

SENATE

 

 

 

 

 

Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Amendment (Save the Koala) Bill 2021

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

EXPLANATORY MEMORANDUM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Circulated by authority of Senator Hanson-Young)

 


Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Amendment (Save the Koala) Bill 2021

 

OUTLINE

 

The Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Amendment (Save the Koala) Bill 2021 seeks to amend parts of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act) to introduce a moratorium on the clearing of koala habitat.

 

Habitat loss, degradation and fragmentation is the greatest threat to koalas. Koalas will be extinct in NSW by 2050 unless land clearing is stopped.

 

This Bill prevents the Minister from approving an action under the EPBC Act where that action consists of or involves the clearing of koala habitat.

The Bill also removes the exemption of Regional Forest Agreements from requirements of the EPBC Act where there is, may, or is likely to be a significant impact on koalas.

 

 

NOTES ON CLAUSES

Clause 1: Short Title

1.           Clause 1 is a formal provision specifying the short title of the Bill.

 

Clause 2: Commencement

 

2.           This clause provides for the whole of this Act to commence the day after it receives Royal Assent.

Clause 3: Schedules

3.         This clause gives effect to the schedules. Each Act specified in a Schedule to this Act is amended or repealed as is set out in the applicable items in the Schedule.  Any other item in a Schedule to this Act has effect according to its terms.

Schedule 1— Amendments

Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999

Item 1 - After section 18A

4.         This item inserts a new section 18B into the EPBC Act.

Section 18B - Significant impact in relation to koalas

5.         Section 18B refers to the concept of “significant impact” on koalas (as set out in the new section 527G) and applies this concept to sections 18 and 18A of the EPBC Act. The effect of section 18B, in conjunction with section 18, 18A and 527G, is that taking an action that has, will have, or is likely to have, a significant impact on koalas is prohibited without approval. Section 18 sets out the prohibition, and section 18A is the corresponding offence provision.

Item 2 - After paragraph 42(b)

6.         This item inserts a new paragraph (ba) into section 42 to remove the exemption of Regional Forest Agreements from requirements of the EPBC Act where there is, may, or is likely to be a significant impact on koalas.

Item 3 - At the end of section 42

7.         This item adds a note to the end of section 42 to clarify that for the purposes of the new paragraph (ba) in section 42, significant impact has the meaning affected by the new section 527G to be inserted into the EPBC Act.

Item 4 - At the end of section 139

8.         This item inserts a new subsection to section 139 that has the effect of preventing the Minister from approving an action consisting of or involving the clearing of koala habitat.

Item 5 - At the end of Division 1 of Part 23

9.         This item inserts a new subdivision G to Division 1 of Part 23 of the EPBC Act which comprises definitions.

Subdivision G - Koalas

10.       This is a new subdivision inserted into the EPBC Act which inserts two new sections 527F and 527G into the EPBC Act.

Section 527F - Definitions relating to koalas

11.       This section defines koala, koala habitat and koala habitat tree. These terms are relevant to the meaning of a significant impact on koalas, as set out in section 527G.

Section 527G - Significant impact on koalas

12.       This section defines what is a significant impact on koalas for the purposes of section 18 and section 18A as they relate to koalas and the new section 42(ba).

Item 6 - Section 528

13.       This item inserts definitions for koala, koala habitat, koala habitat tree and significant impact into the Definitions section of the EPBC Act by referring to the definitions in the new sections 527F and 527G.

Statement of Compatibility with Human Rights

Prepared in accordance with Part 3 of the Human Rights (Parliamentary Scrutiny) Act 2011

 

Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Amendment (Save the Koala) Bill 2021

 

This Bill is compatible with the human rights and freedoms recognised or declared in the international instruments listed in section 3 of the Human Rights (Parliamentary Scrutiny) Act 2011.

 

Overview of the Bill

The Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Amendment (Save the Koala) Bill 2021 seeks to amend parts of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act) to introduce a moratorium on the clearing of koala habitat.

 

Habitat loss, degradation and fragmentation is the greatest threat to koalas. Koalas will be extinct in NSW by 2050 unless land clearing is stopped.

 

This Bill prevents the Minister from approving an action under the EPBC Act where that action consists of or involves the clearing of koala habitat.

 

The Bill also removes the exemption of Regional Forest Agreements from requirements of the EPBC Act where there is, may, or is likely to be a significant impact on koalas.

 

Human rights implications

This Bill does not engage any of the applicable rights or freedoms.

 

Conclusion

This Bill is compatible with human rights as it does not raise any human rights issues.

 

Senator Sarah Hanson-Young