5. Legislative reporting Operation of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999



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Legislative amendments

Autumn and Spring Omnibus Bills

The Omnibus Repeal Day (Autumn 2015) Bill 2015 was introduced to the House of Representatives on 18 March 2015 and to the Senate on 12 October 2015. It included technical amendments to the EPBC Act to abolish the Biological Diversity Advisory Committee and remove spent provisions. The Bill passed on 4 May 2016 and received royal assent on 5 May 2016.

The Omnibus Repeal Day (Spring 2015) Bill 2015 was introduced to the House of Representatives on 12 November 2015 and to the Senate on 2 February 2016. It included technical amendments to the EPBC Act to correct minor inaccuracies and to remove a redundant publishing requirement. The Bill was before the Senate when it lapsed at the prorogation of the 44th Parliament on 17 April 2016.


One Stop Shop Bill

The Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Amendment (Bilateral Agreement Implementation) Bill 2014 (One Stop Shop Bill) was introduced to the House of Representatives on 14 May 2014 and to the Senate on 19 June 2014. It included amendments to the EPBC Act to enable the One Stop Shop policy and the operation of bilateral agreements.

On 14 September 2015, the Government moved amendments in the Senate to exclude the ‘water trigger’ from the scope of approval bilateral agreements and to make some other minor technical amendments.

The Bill was before the Senate when it lapsed at the prorogation of the 44th Parliament on 17 April 2016.

Standing Bill

The Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Amendment (Standing) Bill 2015 was introduced to the House of Representatives on 20 August 2015 and to the Senate on 14 September 2015. It included an amendment to repeal section 487 of the EPBC Act, which provides extended standing to seek review of decisions made under the Act.

The Bill was before the Senate when it lapsed at the prorogation of the 44th Parliament on 17 April 2016.


Appendix A: Statistics and other information

This appendix comprises statistics on the operation of the EPBC Act in 2015–16.

Environmental referrals, assessments and approvals

Table 5.1: Overview of EPBC Act referrals and approval of actions, 2015–16






2015–16

Total since EPBC Act commenced in 2000

Referral decisions







Total referrals received

209

5574

Referrals withdrawn before (controlled action) decision

9

255

Referrals where a decision has been made (including reconsiderations)

196

5244

Approval required—controlled action

72

1528

Approval not required—action to be taken in a particular manner



30

1042

Approval not required—no conditions on action

94

2665

Action clearly unacceptable

0

9

Referrals lapsed

1

66

Referrals withdrawn after (controlled action) decision

11

313

Approval of actions







Action approved

55

854

Action not approved

0

11

Awaiting approval as at 30 June 2016

45

N/A

Awaiting further information from proponents

19

N/A

Notes: As at 30 June 2016, 66 referrals were still being processed. With the upgrade of environment assessment databases, differences in total figures may appear when compared to previous years as data integrity has been improved.

Table 5.2: Decisions on EPBC Act referrals made in 2015–16, by jurisdiction






Decisions made in 2015–16

Action clearly unacceptable

Approval required

Approval not required

Total decisions

CA

PM

NCA

ACT

0

1

2

1

4

Commonwealth marine

0

0

3

1

4

NSW

0

21

9

10

40

Norfolk Island

0

0

0

1

1

NT

0

5

1

1

7

QLD

0

18

6

28

52

SA

0

1

1

6

8

TAS

0

0

0

2

2

VIC

0

9

4

15

28

WA

0

17

4

29

50

Total

0

72

30

94

196

Notes: CA = controlled action; PM = action to be taken in a particular manner; NCA = not controlled action. Total decisions includes three reconsiderations.

Table 5.3: Decisions on EPBC Act referrals made in 2015–16, by activity category






Decisions made in 2015–16

Action clearly unacceptable

Approval required

Approval not required

Total decisions

CA

PM

NCA

Aquaculture

0

1

0

0

1

Commercial development

0

12

1

15

28

Commonwealth

0

0

2

1

3

Commonwealth development

0

1

0

0

1

Energy generation and supply (non-renewable)

0

1

1

4

6

Energy generation and supply (renewable)

0

1

1

5

7

Exploration (mineral, oil and gas—marine)

0

0

2

0

2

Exploration (mineral, oil and gas—non-marine)

0

0

1

0

1

Mining

0

24

3

6

33

Natural resources management

0

2

0

4

6

Residential development

0

13

3

13

29

Science and research

0

0

1

2

3

Telecommunications

0

0

2

2

4

Tourism and recreation

0

3

0

4

7

Transport—land

0

10

6

22

38

Transport—water

0

0

3

3

6

Waste management (non-sewerage)

0

1

2

2

5

Waste management (sewerage)

0

1

0

2

3

Water management and use

0

2

2

9

13

Total

0

72

30

94

196

Notes: CA = controlled action; PM = action to be taken in a particular manner; NCA = not controlled action. Total decisions includes three reconsiderations.

Table 5.4: Decisions on assessment approach made in 2015–16, by type






Assessments active

Assessments completed

Assessments withdrawn

Assessments lapsed

Total decisions on assessment

Commonwealth assessments




Preliminary documentation

42

2

0

0

44

Public environment report

3

0

0

0

3

Referral information

0

0

0

0

0

Environmental impact statement

1

0

0

0

1

State/territory assessments




Bilateral assessment

18

1

0

0

19

Accredited process

0

0

0

0

0

Total

64

3

0

0

67

Table 5.5: Matters of national environmental significance under the EPBC Act considered in relation to impacts of proposed action, 2015–16




Matter protected

Not controlled action—particular manner

Controlled action

Division 1

Matters of national environmental significance

Section 12

World Heritage values of a World Heritage listed property

3

3

Section 15B

National Heritage values of a National Heritage listed place

3

3

Section 16

Ecological character of a declared Ramsar wetland

3

2

Section 18

Listed threatened species or ecological community

24

70

Section 20

Listed migratory species

8

10

Section 21

Nuclear activities with a significant impact on the environment

1

1

Section 23

Commonwealth marine environment

5

1

Section 24B

Activities in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park

1

1

Section 24D

Affects at least one water resource

0

6

Division 2




Section 26

Commonwealth land

2

2

Section 27B

Activities involving Commonwealth Heritage listed places overseas

1

0

Section 28

Commonwealth or Commonwealth agency activity

3

1

Total




54

100

Note: This table refers to matters of national environmental significance considered in 2015–16 by section and decision. There is no relationship between the totals in this table and the number of referrals considered during 2015–16 because proposed actions may impact more than one matter of national environmental significance.

Access to biological resources and benefit sharing

Table 5.6: Applications received and permits granted for cetacean research or impacts under the EPBC Act, 2015–16



Section of EPBC Act

Applications received

Permits granted

Conditions varied or revoked

Suspended or cancelled

238(3)(a) cetacean conservation; or (b) incidental interference

5

5

2 permits had conditions varied

0

238(3)(c) whale watching

0

0

0

0

Total

5

5

2

0

Protection of natural and cultural places and values

Table 5.7: Compliance and enforcement under the EPBC Act in terrestrial reserves during 2015–16



Compliance and enforcement actions

Visitors

Tour operators

Other commercial operators

EPBC Act and Regulations incidents detecteda

76

10

0

Verbal cautions issued

16

7

0

Warning notices issued

39

2

0

Infringement notices issuedb

23

1

0

Permit/approval suspensions/cancellations

0

0

0

Court actions commenced (criminal)

2

0

0

Court actions completed (criminal: successful)

2

0

0

Court actions ongoing at 30 June (criminal)

0

0

0

a Excludes notices of charges payable issued

b Multiple infringement notices may be issued for each reported incident

Table 5.8: Compliance and enforcement under the EPBC Act in marine reserves during 2015–16

Compliance and enforcement actions

Number

EPBC Act and Regulations incidents detecteda

128

Warnings notices issued

21

Infringement notices issued

10

Permit/approval suspensions/cancellations

0

Court actions commenced (31 criminal; 1 civil)b

32

Court actions completed (32 criminal: successful; 0 civil)c

32

Court actions ongoing at 30 June 2016 (2 criminal; 1 civil)

3

a Incidents detected refers to all incidents in marine reserves, including those where no enforcement actions were required.

b Large number of court actions reflects the prosecution of the masters and 28 crew of two Vietnamese fishing vessels for offences against section 354A(5) of the EPBC Act.

c Some court actions completed or ongoing as at 30 June 2016 began before 1 July 2015.

Protection of species and ecological communities

Table 5.9: Species and ecological communities listing outcomes under the


EPBC Act, 2015–16


Species and ecological communities

Status

Listings (scientific name or name of ecological community)

Eucalypt woodlands of the Western Australian wheatbelt

Listed as critically endangered
(4 ecological communities,
10 species)

Natural temperate grassland of the South Eastern Highlands

Southern Highlands shale forest and woodland in the Sydney Basin Bioregion

Warkworth Sands woodland of the Hunter Valley

Acacia leptoneura

Calidris tenuirostris

Callistemon megalongensis

Calochilus cupreus

Galaxias rostratus

Limosa lapponica menzbieri

Ordtrachia septentrionalis

Phyllurus gulbaru

Pterostylis psammophila

Thelymitra hygrophila

Amytornis dorotheae

Listed as endangered
(13 species)

Atriplex yeelirrie

Calidris canutus

Charadrius mongolus

Dasyurus viverrinus

Eucalyptus macarthurii

Hipposideros inornatus

Paralucia pyrodiscus lucida

Petrogale coenensis

Petrogale concinna canescens

Petrogale concinna monastria

Stylidium ensatum

Veronica parnkalliana

Acanthiza iredalei rosinae

Listed as vulnerable
(17 species)


Antechinus bellus

Antechinus minimus maritimus

Charadrius leschenaultii

Eucalyptus aggregata

Grantiella picta

Limosa lapponica baueri

Macroderma gigas

Mastacomys fuscus mordicus

Mirafra javanica melvillensis

Petauroides volans

Petrogale sharmani

Petrogale xanthopus celeris

Probosciger aterrimus macgillivrayi

Platycercus caledonicus brownii

Strepera fuliginosa colei

Zoothera lunulata halmaturina

Transferred species: uplistings

Anthochaera phrygia

Transferred from endangered to critically endangered (2 species)

Lathamus discolor

Malurus coronatus coronatus

Transferred from vulnerable to endangered

Oberonia attenuata

Transferred from extinct to critically endangered

Pedionomus torquatus

Transferred from vulnerable to critically endangered

Retained in the same category

Ptilotus pyramidatus

Retained as critically endangered

Isoodon obesulus obesulus

Retained as endangered
(2 species)

Streblus pendulinus

Erythrotriorchis radiatus

Retained as vulnerable
(5 species)

Falcunculus frontatus whitei

Geophaps scripta scripta

Polytelis swainsoni

Turnix melanogaster

Deletions

Argyreia soutteri

Deleted from extinct
(2 species)

Diplocaulobium masonii

Natural temperate grassland of the Southern Tablelands
(NSW and ACT)

Deleted from endangered
(1 ecological community, 8 species)

Caladenia carnea var. subulata

Centrolepis caespitosa

Corybas sp. Finniss (R. Bates 28794)

Epiblema grandiflorum var. cyaneum K.W. Dixon nom. inval.

Phaius tancarvilleae

Prasophyllum uroglossum

Rytidosperma popinensis

Verticordia plumosa var. pleiobotrya

Bosistoa selwynii

Deleted from vulnerable
(9 species)

Cacatua pastinator pastinator

Callitriche cyclocarpa

Carex paupera

Carex tasmanica

Egernia stokesii aethiops

Notoryctes caurinus

Notoryctes typhlops

Sarcochilus roseus

Table 5.10: Number of nominations and changes to the lists of threatened species, ecological communities and key threatening processes under the EPBC Act in 2015–16




Species

Ecological communities

Key threatening processes

Items on which the Threatened Species Scientific Committee has provided advice to the Ministera

72

5

0

Ministerial decisions made on Threatened Species Scientific Committee advice

72

5

0

Ministerial decisions pending Threatened Species Scientific Committee advice

0

0

0

Ministerial decisions made on Threatened Species Scientific Committee advice in the following categories:

Uplisted

5

0

N/A

Downlisted

0

0

N/A

New

40

4

0

Deleted

19

1

0

Amendments to the list

64

5

0

Rejected/ineligible

0

0

0

No change in status

8

0

0

a Includes assessments in progress from the 2014 and 2015 Finalised Priority Assessment List.

Table 5.11: EPBC Act listed threatened species and ecological communities covered by recovery plans, as at 30 June 2016






Species

Ecological communities

Total

Total number of listed threatened entities

1794

75

1869

Number of listed threatened entities covered by recovery plans in force

729

25

754

Number of listed threatened entities requiring recovery plans but not covered by a recovery plan in forcea

148

32

180

a The Minister determines whether listed threatened entities require a recovery plan. An approved conservation advice is required for listed threatened entities that do not require a recovery plan.

Table 5.12: Recovery plans made or adopted under the EPBC Act in 2015–16



Recovery plan

Date made or adopted

Listed threatened entities covered

National Recovery Plan for the Alpine Sphagnum Bogs and Associated Fens ecological community

21 December 2015

Alpine Sphagnum Bogs and Associated Fens Ecological Community

White-bellied and Orange-bellied Frogs (Geocrinia alba and Geocrinia vitellina) Recovery Plan

21 August 2015

Geocrinia alba

Geocrinia vitellina

Blue Whale Conservation Management Plan

3 October 2015

Balaenoptera musculus

Sawfish and River Sharks Multispecies Recovery Plan

7 November 2015

Glyphis garricki

Glyphis glyphis

Pristis clavata

Pristis pristis

Pristis zijsron

Recovery Plan for Three Handfish Species: Spotted Handfish (Brachionichthys hirsutus), Red Handfish (Thymichthys politus), and Ziebell’s Handfish (Brachiopsilus ziebelli)

12 March 2016

Brachionichthys hirsutus

Thymichthys politus

Brachiopsilus ziebelli

National Recovery Plan for the Regent Honeyeater (Anthochaera phrygia)

4 May 2016

Anthochaera phrygia

National Recovery Plan for the Mallee Emu-Wren (Stipiturus mallee), Red-lored Whistler (Pachycephala rufogularis), Western Whipbird (Psophodes nigrogularis leucogaster)

6 May 2016

Stipiturus mallee

Pachycephala rufogularis

Psophodes nigrogularis leucogaster

National Recovery Plan for the Orange-bellied Parrot (Neophema chrysogaster)

6 May 2016

Neophema chrysogaster

National Recovery Plan for the Spotted-tailed Quoll (Dasyurus maculatus)

6 May 2016

Dasyurus maculatus gracilis

Dasyurus maculatus maculatus (south-east mainland population)

Dasyurus maculatus maculatus (Tasmanian population)

National Recovery Plan for the Plains-wanderer (Pedionomus torquatus)

28 June 2016

Pedionomus torquatus


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