1. Protecting the environment
This section reports on the operation of the EPBC Act in protecting matters of national environmental significance and the work of statutory committees that advise on EPBC Act matters.
Two statutory committees currently operate under the EPBC Act—the Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC) and the Indigenous Advisory Committee (IAC). The work of the TSSC is reported under relevant sections of this report. The IAC in particular has a broad role advising the minister on the wider operation of the EPBC Act, taking into account Indigenous peoples’ knowledge of land management and the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity.
The IAC held two meetings, one in the Torres Strait in October 2010 and another in Canberra in April 2011.
The IAC is committed to improving EPBC Act processes to support the involvement of Indigenous peoples, and is working with the TSSC and the Australian Heritage Council to develop protocols to guide the way these committees engage with Indigenous communities.
The IAC is also advising the department and the minister on the Caring for our Country program review. The IAC’s experience in natural resource management, views on the right settings to support the involvement of Indigenous peoples, and lessons learned from previous activities help inform future directions for the initiative. The review continues into the 2011–12 financial year.
World and National Heritage
The Australian Government provides protection under the EPBC Act for World Heritage sites and National Heritage places. The EPBC Act contains provisions for listing and protecting Commonwealth owned or controlled heritage places. Under the EPBC Act the minister’s approval must be obtained before any action takes place that may have a significant impact on the heritage values of a listed place.
The Australian Heritage Council was established under the Australian Heritage Council Act 2003 as the government’s principal advisory body on heritage matters. It has responsibility under the EPBC Act for assessing heritage values for places nominated for possible inclusion on the National and Commonwealth Heritage lists and advising the minister.
Listing World Heritage properties
On 24 June 2011, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation inscribed the Ningaloo Coast, Western Australia in the World Heritage List. Koongarra, an area in the Kakadu National Park, was also added to the World Heritage List. Eleven Convict Sites located across Australia were also inscribed in the World Heritage List in July 2010. Australia now has 19 places in the World Heritage List protected under the EPBC Act with associated management requirements. Some properties have multiple sites.
Under the EPBC Act the government must make a written plan for managing a property lying entirely within one or more Commonwealth areas. Where a property is in a state or self-governing territory, the Commonwealth must use its best endeavours to ensure a plan is prepared and implemented cooperatively with the relevant state or territory. The plan must be consistent with Australia’s obligations under the World Heritage Convention and the Australian World Heritage management principles for managing a World Heritage property.
All Australian properties in the World Heritage List have management plans. In 2010 a revised Conservation Management Plan and a World Heritage Environs Area Strategy Plan were finalised for the World Heritage Listed Royal Exhibition Building and Carlton Gardens.
Listing and managing National Heritage places
In 2010–11 the minister added seven places to the National Heritage List, bringing the total number to 95 places on the list. Six were added through the standard listing provisions of the EPBC Act:
- Great Ocean Road and Scenic Environs (Victoria)
- Ngarrabullgan (Queensland)
- Wilgie Mia Aboriginal Ochre Mine (Western Australia)
- HMAS Sydney II and HSK Kormoran Shipwreck Sites (Western Australia)
- Coranderrk (Victoria)
- the Goldfields Water Supply Scheme (Western Australia).
The minister added the Jordan River levee site (Tasmania) to the National Heritage List under the emergency listing provisions of the EPBC Act.
The Tarkine was added to the National Heritage List under the emergency provisions of the EPBC Act in 2009. The emergency listing lapsed in December 2010.
The EPBC Act provides for the preparation of a management plan for each place in the National and Commonwealth Heritage Lists. In 2010–11 the department commented on three management plans for National Heritage List places.
Listing and managing Commonwealth Heritage places
In 2010–11 two places were added to the Commonwealth Heritage List: Llandilo International Transmitting Station, and HMAS Sydney II and HSK Kormoran Shipwreck Sites. The Bushmead Rifle Range Commonwealth Area, in Western Australia became ineligible and was removed from the Commonwealth list after it was sold. At 30 June 2011 there were 338 places on the Commonwealth Heritage List.
The EPBC Act requires Australian Government agencies that own or lease places with listed or potential Commonwealth Heritage values, to prepare written heritage strategies to protect, conserve and manage those values. In 2010–11 three agencies completed heritage strategies. Sixteen strategies are now finalised, 14 are in preparation and a further 15 agencies are liaising with the department on strategy preparation.
The EPBC Act also requires each Commonwealth agency to undertake an assessment process to identify the places it owns or controls that might have Commonwealth Heritage values. In September 2010 the Australian Heritage Council published a document on the department’s website titled ‘Identifying Commonwealth Heritage Values and Establishing a Heritage Register’. This set out the steps needed to fulfil statutory requirements. Australia Post and AirServices Australia used the tool to assess and submit nominations for their Australia-wide heritage assets. Other Commonwealth agencies have been encouraged to assess and submit nominations for their Australia-wide heritage assets.
Wetlands of international importance
The EPBC Act enhances the management and protection of Australia’s Ramsar wetlands. The EPBC Act also establishes a process for identifying Ramsar wetlands and encourages best practice management through nationally consistent management principles. A ‘declared Ramsar wetland’ is an area that has been designated under Article 2 of the Ramsar Convention, or one that has been declared by the minister to be a declared Ramsar wetland under the EPBC Act.
The Ramsar Convention encourages the designation of sites containing representative, rare or unique wetlands, or wetlands that are important for conserving biological diversity. In designating a wetland as a Ramsar site, countries agree to manage the area to ensure that its ecological character is maintained.
At 30 June 2011 Australia had 64 Ramsar wetlands that cover around 8.1 million hectares. No Ramsar sites were added in 2010–11. However, in 2010 Kakadu National Park was merged and extended from two separate Ramsar sites into a single Ramsar site that encompasses the entire National Park. This changed the number of Ramsar sites in Australia from 65 to 64 and increased the Ramsar estate by approximately 600 000 hectares.
The department provided funding to update ecological character descriptions at three Ramsar sites. Fifteen ecological character descriptions funded by the Australian Government in previous years were completed during 2010–11, or were in the last stages of completion.
Ecological character descriptions will help implement the EPBC Act by:
- providing the baseline description of the ecological character of Ramsar wetlands
- making it easier to assess the likely impacts of proposed actions on the ecological character of Ramsar wetlands
- guiding the development of management plans to provide a basis for evaluating the results of monitoring.
Threatened species, ecological communities and migratory species
The EPBC Act protects Australia’s native species and ecological communities by providing for:
- identification and listing of threatened species and ecological communities
- development of conservation advice and recovery plans for listed species and ecological communities
- recognition of key threatening processes and, where appropriate, reduction of the impacts of these processes through threat abatement plans
- permits being issued for certain actions involving protected species.
Threatened fauna and flora may be listed in categories defined by the EPBC Act. Species listed as extinct in the wild, critically endangered, endangered, or vulnerable are matters of national environmental significance.
Ecological communities are unique and naturally occurring groups of plants, animals and other organisms that interact in a unique habitat. Their structure, composition and distribution are determined by factors such as soil type, position in the landscape, climate and water availability. Threatened ecological communities listed as critically endangered and endangered are matters of national environmental significance. Threatened ecological communities may also be listed as vulnerable.
Listed threatened species and ecological communities
The Threatened Species Scientific Committee advised the minister on amending and updating lists of threatened species, threatened ecological communities and key threatening processes. The committee also advised on the development or adoption of recovery and threat abatement plans.
The committee had four major meetings in 2010–11, and undertook a number of assessments of the conservation status of priority species, ecological communities and key threatening processes. The committee also continued its work on reviewing the status of listed species and aligning lists of nationally threatened species and ecological communities with state and territory listings.
Assessment period commencing 1 October 2010
For the assessment period commencing 1 October 2010, the minister decided to continue one theme from the previous year ‘terrestrial, estuarine and near-shore environments of Australia’s coasts’ and added one new theme ‘heathlands and mallee woodlands’.
For this assessment period new nominations were received for 18 species, two key threatening processes and 10 ecological communities. Several nominations from the previous year were also eligible for reconsideration. In June 2010 the Threatened Species Scientific Committee prioritised the public nominations received and determined its proposed priority assessment list for consideration by the minister. The finalised list is expected to be made public in the first quarter of 2011–12.
Assessment period commencing 1 October 2011
For this assessment period new nominations were received for 11 species, three key threatening processes and five ecological communities. Several nominations from the previous year were also eligible for reconsideration for inclusion on the assessment list. The finalised list is expected to be made public in mid 2011–12 after the minister considers the committee’s recommended priorities for assessment.
Listing assessment outcomes
The minister made listing decisions on the assessments for 47 species and two ecological communities. Fifteen species were from the Finalised Priority Assessment Lists and 32 were under arrangements to align state/territory and national lists. For species, as set out in Table 1, there were 28 new listings, 13 de-listings, four transfers between categories (three down-listings and one up-listing) and two proposed listings deemed as ineligible.
|Aipysurus foliosquama (leaf-scaled sea snake)||Critically Endangered|
|Aipysurus apraefrontalis (short-nosed sea snake)||Critically Endangered|
|Antipodia chaostola leucophaea (heath sand skipper)||Endangered|
|Azorella macquariensis (Macquarie azorella)||Critically Endangered|
|Botaurus poiciloptilus (Australasian bittern)||Endangered|
|Callistemon wimmerensis (Wimmera bottlebrush)||Critically Endangered|
|Ceyx azureus diemenensis (Tasmanian azure kingfisher)||Endangered|
|Corunastylis littoralis (Tuncurry midge orchid)||Critically Endangered|
|Euastacus bispinosus (Glenelg spiny freshwater crayfish)||Endangered|
|Hibbertia tenuis||Critically Endangered|
|Hoplogonus simsoni (Simson’s stag beetle)||Vulnerable|
|Hoplogonus vanderschoori (Vanderschoor’s stag beetle)||Vulnerable|
|Hyridella glenelgensis (Glenelg freshwater mussel)||Critically Endangered|
|Leucopogon spectabilis (ironstone beard-heath)||Critically Endangered|
|Liopholis guthega (Guthega skink)||Endangered|
|Oreisplanus munionga larana (Marrawah skipper)||Vulnerable|
|Phascogale pirata (northern brush-tailed phascogale)||Vulnerable|
|Pityrodia axillaris (native foxglove)||Critically Endangered|
|Prasophyllum pruinosum (plum leek-orchid)||Endangered|
|Pseudomys novaehollandiae (New Holland mouse)||Vulnerable|
|Scaevola macrophylla (large flowered scaevola)||Critically Endangered|
|Sternula nereis nereis (fairy tern)||Vulnerable|
|Stiphodon semoni (opal cling goby)||Critically Endangered|
|Thaumatoperla alpina (alpine stonefly)||Endangered|
|Thunnus maccoyii (southern bluefin tuna)||Conservation Dependent|
|Tyto novaehollandiae castanops (Tasmanian masked owl)||Vulnerable|
|Verticordia apecta (Hay River feather flower)||Critically Endangered|
|Transferred species – down listings|
|Thelymitra jonesii (sky-blue sun orchid)||Transferred from Critically Endangered to Endangered|
|Caladenia dienema (windswept spider orchid)||Transferred from Critically Endangered to Endangered|
|Euphrasia arguta||Transferred from Extinct to Critically Endangered|
|Transferred species – up listings|
|Eucalyptus canobolensis (silver-leaf ironbark)||Transferred from Vulnerable to Endangered|
|Ineligible for listing|
|Cardamine gunnii (spade-leaf bitter-cress)||Ineligible|
|Sepia sp. nov. (Spencer Gulf) (Spencer Gulf giant cuttlefish)||Ineligible|
|Acacia chinchillensis||Deleted from Vulnerable|
|Apatophyllum constablei||Deleted from Endangered|
|Austrostipa nullanulla (club spear-grass)||Deleted from Vulnerable|
|Callistemon sp. Boulia (L.Pedley 5297)||Deleted from Vulnerable|
|Conospermum toddii (Victoria Desert smokebush)||Deleted from Endangered|
|Dillwynia tenuifolia||Deleted from Vulnerable|
|Diuris sheaffiana (tricolour diuris)||Deleted from Vulnerable|
|Eucalyptus blaxellii (Howatharra mallee)||Deleted from Vulnerable|
|Ipomoea sp. Stirling (P.K.Latz 10408)||Deleted from Vulnerable|
|Petrogale lateralis pearsoni (Pearson Island rock wallaby)||Deleted from vulnerable|
|Pleurophascum occidentale (western giant-leaved moss)||Deleted from Vulnerable|
|Pultenaea campbellii (New England bush-pea)||Deleted from Vulnerable|
|Pultenaea stuartiana (a shrub)||Deleted from Vulnerable|
The two threatened ecological community listings in 2010–11 were:
- Coolibah Black Box Woodlands of the Darling Riverine Plains and the Brigalow Belt South Bioregions
- New England Peppermint (Eucalyptus nova-anglica) Grassy Woodlands.
Assessments for three other ecological communities were also completed in June 2011, with listing decisions expected to be made by the minister in 2011–12. At the time of listing, extensive information is published in listing and conservation advices on distribution, key diagnostic characteristics, condition, relationship to state vegetation classifications, threats, and priority conservation actions.
Managing threatened species and ecological communities
The listing of species and ecological communities triggers the protection mechanisms of the EPBC Act. This makes them a priority for funding and management to assist with their recovery and conservation, such as through the Caring for our Country initiative. For example, several listed woodlands and native grasslands are key targets under the Environmental Stewardship Program, which provides funds and information to support landholders in protecting threatened native vegetation on their properties.
Conservation advices for all new listings of species and ecological communities were prepared and published on the department’s website. Conservation advices provide guidance on immediate recovery and threat abatement activities that can be undertaken to ensure the conservation of newly-listed species or ecological community. The minister approved conservation advices for 32 newly-listed threatened species and two newly listed threatened ecological communities.
The EPBC Act provides for the making or adopting of recovery plans and conservation advices when a species is listed. Recovery plans set out the research and management actions needed to stop the decline and support the recovery of listed threatened species or threatened ecological communities.
The department, with the relevant state and territory government environment agencies, made substantial investment in the recovery of threatened species and ecological communities through developing and implementing recovery plans. Eighty-two recovery plans covering 173 species and one ecological community were approved by the minister or his delegate. Reviews of 31 recovery plans due for review were completed. The Threatened Species Scientific Committee continues to work with the department on national monitoring and reporting on significant species and ecological communities.
Substantial progress was made on a further seven recovery plans. The threatened species covered by the plans are: Litoria booroolongensis (Booroolong frog), Miniopterus schreibersii bassanii (Southern bent-wing bat), Nangura spinosa (Nangur spiny skink) and Pristis zijsron (green sawfish). The threatened ecological communities covered are: Iron-grass Natural Temperate Grassland of South Australia, Natural Temperate Grassland of the Victorian Volcanic Plain and Peppermint Box (Eucalyptus odorata) Grassy Woodland of South Australia.
Key threatening processes
The EPBC Act provides for the listing of key threatening processes. A threatening process is one that threatens or may threaten the survival, abundance or evolutionary development of a native species or ecological community. The Threatened Species Scientific Committee advises the minister on the listing of key threatening processes and whether a threat abatement plan or other actions are needed to abate key threatening processes.
There were no key threatening processes added to the list during 2010–11.
In June 2011 a threat abatement plan for the biological effects, including lethal toxic ingestion caused by cane toads came into effect. The minister also approved the release of a draft threat abatement plan to reduce the impacts on northern Australia’s biodiversity by five pest grass species, and its background document, for a three-month public consultation period.
The key threatening processes and threat abatement plans listed under the EPBC Act are at Appendix D.
The Memorandum of Understanding on the Conservation of Migratory Sharks came into effect in March 2010 and Australia became the 14th signatory to this agreement on 4 February 2011.
This global memorandum of understanding is the first of its kind for sharks and aims to conserve migratory sharks throughout the world. It currently covers seven shark species: white shark, whale shark, basking shark, porbeagle, shortfin mako, longfin mako, and the northern hemisphere populations of spiny dogfish. All except the spiny dogfish inhabit Australian waters.
An intergovernmental dugong task force between the Australian and Queensland Governments was established to address the ongoing sustainability of dugong populations in the waters off Queensland. Its primary role was to establish a comprehensive understanding of the existing programs of dugong conservation and management and associated community engagement in waters off Queensland and identify areas for improvement.
Australia was represented at the first official signatory state meeting of the Memorandum of Understanding on the Conservation and Management of Dugongs and their Habitats throughout their Range. It was held in the United Arab Emirates between 4 and 6 October 2010 under the auspices of the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species. Australia provided a voluntary contribution of $20 000 to support the 2011 Pacific Year of the Dugong, which aimed to undertake awareness raising activities to ensure the long term conservation of dugong populations in the Pacific Ocean.
This section reports on the operation of the EPBC Act in regulating the import and export of Australia’s native flora and fauna and of species restricted through international trade controls, and the development of wildlife and fisheries conservation and management plans.
The import of live animals into Australia is controlled by the EPBC Act and the Quarantine Act 1908, administered by the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service. These laws apply to all imports of live animals.
Only species that are included in the live import list can be legally imported as live specimens into Australia. Any live specimen of a species that does not appear on the live import list cannot legally enter Australia, irrespective of whether the species is already known to be in this country. Anyone is eligible to apply to the minister to amend the live import list to include a new species. The applicant needs to provide a report against the standard terms of reference. Each species proposed for inclusion on the live import list is the subject of a detailed risk assessment, including public consultation.
In 2010–11, seven applications to amend the live import list were received. From those applications, the minister decided to make one addition to the list: the radiated tortoise (Astrochelys radiata) for non-commercial purposes only. One amendment was made to the listing of the red rainbowfish (Glossolepis incisus) to increase the size limit from 1.5cm to 4cm. Siganus rivulatus and Siganus luridus were excluded from the part 1 listing for rabbit fishes (Siganus spp.)—an action initiated by the department as these species were identified as being a potential pest risk. An application for the Brazilian agouti (Dasyprocta leporine) was withdrawn and three applications are still being processed.
Several applications for live import listing received in previous years were finalised this year. The minister decided to make four additions to the list: the leaf-feeding beetle (Plectonycha correntina) was added to part 1 of the list, while the pea aphid (Acyrthosiphon pisum) and the grey nurse shark (Carcharias taurus) were added to part 2 of the list for non-commercial purposes only. The axolotl (Ambystoma mexicanum) was also added to part 2 of the list, but import is restricted to its use for research purposes only.
Sustainable wildlife industries
The international movement of wildlife and wildlife products is regulated under the EPBC Act. Trade in specimens derived from regulated native species, species listed under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), or the import of regulated live plants and animals may be allowed.
Approval can be given provided the specimens have been derived from an approved captive breeding program, artificial propagation program, aquaculture program, wildlife trade operation, or a wildlife trade management plan.
The following wildlife programs were approved in 2010–11:
- four cooperative conservation programs to help protect CITES Appendix I listed species
- eight new and one revised artificial propagation program
- three aquaculture programs
- five individual wildlife trade operations (non-fisheries)
- three Wildlife Trade Management Plans:
- Management Plan for the Commercial Harvest and Export of Brushtail Possums in Tasmania 2010–2015 on 27 October 2010
- Management Program for the Freshwater Crocodile (Crocodylus johnstoni) in the Northern Territory of Australia 2010–2015 on 12 January 2011
- Management Plan for Protected Plants in Queensland 2011–2015 on 18 April 2011 which outlines a system to facilitate and regulate the sustainable
- harvesting of plants in Queensland.
The department completed 22 assessments for transfers of live animals for exhibition in zoos and aquaria. The department ensures that live animals only go to appropriate zoological institutions through a review process and facility assessments. The department completed 38 facility assessments for a wide range of animals, including koalas and southern white rhinoceros.
Wildlife trade permits
Under Part 13A of the EPBC Act it is an offence to import/export CITES specimens, export regulated native specimens and import regulated live specimens, unless a permit has been issued or the import/export is covered by an exemption under the EPBC Act.
In 2010–11 the department issued 1 369 permits for the import/export of regulated specimens in the above categories. 1 048 permits were issued for CITES specimens, 288 permits for the export of regulated native specimens and 33 permits for the import of live specimens. The number of personal accompanied baggage permits issued was 15 324.
The department issued 125 non-commercial wildlife trade permits to scientists for a range of research purposes, which included importing blue whale DNA from the United States and exporting echidna tissue samples to Canada.
Mandatory conditions are attached to permits issued by the department authorising international wildlife trade under the EPBC Act. These conditions protect the environment and ensure that international wildlife trade is conducted in accordance with legal requirements and at a level that is not detrimental to the survival of species in the wild.
During 2010–11 four reviews of wildlife permit holder compliance were conducted. Of these reviews, two were completed and two are being finalised.
Fisheries assessment and approvals
Under the EPBC Act the department assesses the environmental performance of management arrangements for fisheries, to ensure that fisheries are managed in an ecologically sustainable way and to identify areas for improvement. All Commonwealth-managed fisheries and all state and territory fisheries with an export component must undergo assessment.
A total of 109 fisheries have been declared as either exempt from the export provisions of the EPBC Act for five years, or as approved wildlife trade operations for periods of up to three years.
Of 22 fisheries comprehensively assessed in 2010–11 seven were Commonwealth-managed and 15 state-managed. All were assessed within statutory timeframes. Twelve fisheries were approved as wildlife trade operations and 10 were exempted from the export provisions of the EPBC Act.
As a result of this assessment process, conditions and recommendations were agreed between the department and the management agencies for these fisheries. The agencies are required to demonstrate improved environmental performance, and to actively enhance the ecologically sustainable management of fisheries in the short to medium term. The outcomes are published in detailed reports on the department’s website.
The department anticipates assessing approximately 40 fisheries under the EPBC Act in 2011–12.
The EPBC Act provides for the establishment and protection of Commonwealth reserves, including marine and terrestrial areas, through the issuing of permits for a range of activities and the development of bioregional plans.
Commonwealth national parks
The Australian Government manages an estate of marine and terrestrial protected areas that are Commonwealth Reserves under the EPBC Act. The Director of National Parks manages terrestrial reserves, while marine reserves are managed by the department under a delegation from the Director of National Parks. The Director of National Parks prepares a separate annual report on the management of these reserves.
Commonwealth terrestrial reserves
Management plans provide for the protection and conservation of Commonwealth terrestrial reserves and they must state how the reserves are to be managed. At 30 June 2011 the Director was responsible for managing seven Commonwealth terrestrial reserves. Management plans are currently in place for Kakadu and Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Parks, and the Norfolk Island National Park and Botanic Gardens. Management Plans are being prepared for Booderee, Christmas Island and Pulu Keeling National Parks, and the Australian National Botanic Gardens.
Permits in Commonwealth terrestrial reserves were issued for a range of activities including scientific research. Studies undertaken included:
- research into the taxonomic and genetic distinctiveness of colonies of Norfolk and Lord Howe providence petrels for possible re-introduction to the Norfolk Island National Park
- sonar surveys of the seabed of Jervis Bay to acquire high resolution bathymetric data for the marine waters of Booderee National Park
- improving understanding of sex determination in reptiles at the Australian National Botanic Gardens, in relation to their vulnerability to global warming.
Access to biological resources and benefit-sharing
Part 8A of the Regulations to the EPBC Act controls access to biological resources in Commonwealth areas for the purposes of research and development based on their genetic and biochemical properties.
In 2010–11 the department issued 65 permits for access to biological resources in Commonwealth areas. The permits covered a range of research topics including:
- a genetic study of deep sea marine organisms from Bonaparte Gulf for screening of bioactive compounds for future cancer research
- molecular analysis of soil samples from Kakadu National Park to assess the occurrence of the melioidosis causing bacteria (Whitmore’s disease) in soil in northern Australia
- the genetic analysis of blood and feather samples from seabird species on Christmas Island for an ecological study of the seabird community.
The Part 8A Regulations also require the development of benefit-sharing arrangements where commercial or potentially commercial research is undertaken on biological resources from Commonwealth areas. No additional benefit-sharing agreements have been finalised this year.
Commonwealth marine reserves management
In 2010–11 the department continued to implement a management program for the Commonwealth Marine Reserves Network in the South-east Marine Region. Management activities included engaging stakeholders (including liaising with the Commonwealth Fisheries Association), forming partnerships with state and Commonwealth agencies (including making arrangements for compliance and species monitoring) and community education.
It is anticipated that a draft South-east Network Management Plan will be released for public consultation in late 2011.
The Great Australian Bight Marine Park (Commonwealth waters) continued to be managed under a management plan in force under the EPBC Act until 2012.
Ashmore Reef National Nature Reserve, Cartier Island Marine Reserve, Ningaloo Marine Park (Commonwealth waters) and Mermaid Reef National Nature Reserve continued to be managed under interim arrangements after relevant management plans expired.
Elizabeth and Middleton Reefs Marine National Nature Reserve continued to be managed under a management plan in force under the EPBC Act.
Coringa-Herald National Nature Reserve, Lihou Reef National Nature Reserve, Solitary Islands Marine Reserve (Commonwealth waters), Lord Howe Island Marine Park (Commonwealth waters), and the Cod Grounds Commonwealth Marine Reserve continued to be managed under interim arrangements.
General approvals issued under section 359B of the EPBC Act in 2010–11 included:
- a non-commercial fishing general approval for Ashmore Reef National Nature Reserve
- a non-commercial fishing general approval for Lord Howe Island Marine Park (Commonwealth waters)
- two non-commercial fishing general approvals for Ningaloo Marine Park (Commonwealth waters).
One determination was issued under Regulation 12.56 of the EPBC Act prohibiting access to Cod Grounds Commonwealth Marine Reserve by vessels carrying persons with deployed fishing gear. This replaced an existing determination under the Regulations and did not introduce new arrangements.
In 2010–11, 650 authorisations (permits or approvals) were issued or were administered for commercial activities in marine reserves in the Commonwealth marine estate, including commercial fishing, commercial tourism activities and media operations.
In addition, 29 authorisations (permits or approvals) for scientific research activities were issued, including:
- marine surveys at Elizabeth and Middleton Reefs Marine National Nature Reserve and benthic mapping in the Coral Sea Conservation Zone
- several foreshore, bird and coral surveys undertaken to assess effects of the Montara Oil Spill
- plankton distribution research in the Coral Sea Conservation Zone.
The Australian Antarctic Division is currently reviewing the Heard Island and McDonald Islands Marine Reserve Management Plan which is expected to be finalised in 2012.
Antarctic Treaty Environment Protection
The EPBC Act exempts certain actions from requiring permits if a permit for that action has been issued under the Antarctic Treaty (Environment Protection) Act 1980 (ATEP Act). The EPBC Act states that where an action is taken in accordance with a permit issued under the ATEP Act, and the permit is in force, certain actions involving listed threatened species and ecological communities, migratory species and listed marine species, are not offences. The Australian Antarctic Division issued four permits under the ATEP Act in 2010–11.
The Australian Antarctic Division manages access to biological resources through its system of permit approvals, in an approved arrangement declared on 9 January 2007 under Part 8A of the Regulations to the EPBC Act.Back to top