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Department of the Environment and Heritage Annual Report 2003-04

Department of the Environment and Heritage, 2004
ISSN 1441 9335

Operation of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (continued)

Appendix 4 - Compliance with timeframes

The EPBC Act contains specific timeframes within which decisions must be made. If things were not done within the period required by the EPBC Act or the EPBC regulations then in accordance with section 518 of the EPBC Act a statement must be provided setting out the reasons why. Things that were not done within the period required by the EPBC Act and Regulations are provided below.

Table 15: Referral, assessment and approval
Section Total Late Reasons
75(1) Decision on referral 286 40 The average days late is 1.9 business days (cf 2.7 days since commencement). Reasons include delay in obtaining sufficient information to make a decision, need to address questions of legal interpretation in processing referrals and need for additional internal consultations on referral decisions.
77(1)(b) Publish decision notice 286 4 As a consequence of particularly late decisions under section 75.
77(4) Reasons for decision 9 1 Administrative error.
88(1) Decision on assessment approach 35 6 Additional assurances sought from state that accredited assessment process would meet requirements; need to clarify and consult on information in preliminary documentation; unavailability of key decision makers.
91(1) Notice of decision on assessment approach 35 5 Delay in notification that the level of assessment had been made; proponents notified in writing by decision date but database not updated.
93(1)(a) Publish information and invite comment 21 3 This is a requirement of proponents. Some failed to meet publication deadlines.
95(1) Preparation of assessment reports for preliminary documentation 21 7 Need to adequately consider complex technical issues raised by the assessment process; further research required issues raised; non-availability of key decision makers; further detailed information sought from proponent.
102(1) Preparation of assessment guidelines for environmental impact statement 2 2 Joint assessment with the state requiring publication of draft and ensuring that both jurisdictions were satisfied with alterations to guidelines meant that finalisation was protracted.
130(1) Approval decision 27 5 Complexity of issues, complex condition setting including the need for a number of management plans for different species in various locations, detailed consideration of state or territory conditions which apply to Commonwealth land, and the need for added consultation with the landholders, proponents, and state or territory governments.
Table 16: Other provisions
Section Total Late Reasons
189(5) Decision on listing 61 2 The Minister's decisions were delayed pending the provision of additional information relevant to the listings.
273(1) A recovery plan 93(a) 13 All overdue recovery plans are in advanced stages of development. Delays have occurred due to re-assessment of the conservation status and distribution, the need to ensure adequate time for stakeholder consultation and incorporation of comments from public exhibition processes.
273(4) A threat abatement plan 11 1 The overdue threat abatement plan is in advanced stage of development. Delays have occurred due to the need to ensure adequate time for stakeholder consultation and incorporation of comments from the public consultation process.
279(2) Review of recovery plan or threat abatement plan 11 5 Review processes have commenced for each threat abatement plan due for review. Delays have occurred in engaging consultants to perform review processes and in performing consultation processes.
324E(3) Chair to assess a nominated National Heritage place 35 2 Additional information was required.
324E(3A) Publish on the Internet a description of the nomination 35 2 Additional information was required.
324F(6) Publish on the Internet, advise that National Heritage Emergency listing will not occur 4(b) 1 Applicant requested additional time to consider third party comments sought in the interest of natural justice.
341E(3) Request the Chair of the Australian Heritage Commission to assess nomination for Commonwealth Heritage list 18 1 Administrative error.
341E(3A) Publish on the Internet a brief description of the nomination to the Commonwealth Heritage List 18 1 Administrative error.

(a) Based on species currently known to occur in Commonwealth areas. A more detailed analysis of the information recently compiled for the inventory of Commonwealth land is currently under way to identify other species which may fall into this category.
(b) One withdrawn.

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