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Department of the Environment and Heritage annual report 2004-05

Volume two
Department of the Environment and Heritage, 2005
ISSN 1441 9335

Legislation annual reports 2004-05 (continued)

Operation of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999

Appendix 4 - Compliance with timeframes - section 518 report

The EPBC Act and Regulations specify timeframes within which decisions must be made and other actions completed. If the timeframes are not met, then in accordance with section 518 of the EPBC Act a statement must be provided setting out the reasons for the delay. Things that were not done within the statutory timeframes during 2004-05 are listed in Tables 15 and 16 below.

Table 15: Referrals, assessments and approvals 2004-05
Section Total Late Reasons
75(1) Decision on referral 346 37 Delays in obtaining sufficient information to make decision; need to address questions of legal interpretation in processing referrals; need for additional internal consultations on referral decisions. Average delay only 1.6 business days.
77(1)(b) Publishing notice of decision on referral 346 4 Delay or error in data entry.
77(4) Providing reasons for decision 12 5 Absence of decision maker; need to obtain legal advice/review.
88(1) Decision on assessment approach 38 8 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) Publishing notice of decision on assessment approach 38 5 Delay in notification that level of assessment had been made; proponents notified in writing by decision date but database not updated.
95(1) Preparation of assessment reports for preliminary documentation 24 12 Need to adequately consider complex technical issues raised by assessment process; further research required on issues raised; non-availability of key decision makers; further detailed information sought from proponent.
97(1) Preparation of assessment guidelines for public environment report 3 1 Joint assessment with state requiring publication of draft guidelines; need to ensure both jurisdictions satisfied with alterations to guidelines.
100(1) Preparation of assessment report for public environment report 2 1 Complexity of issues in particular case.
102(1) Preparation of assessment guidelines for environmental impact statement 2 0 Included for completeness.
105(1) Preparation of assessment report for environmental impact statement 3 1 Complexity of issues in particular case.
130(1) Approval decision 28 12 Need for ongoing consultation with proponents over content of final approval conditions; requirement to analyse available social and economic information; need for adequate consideration of complex legal and environmental issues; need for discussions with state governments; need to seek peer review of information provided by proponent.
Table 16: Other provisions 2004-05
Section Total Late Reasons
Part 13 Species and communities
273(1) Making recovery plans for listed threatened species and ecological communities in Commonwealth areas 94 (a) 7 (b) All overdue plans are in advanced stages of development. Delays have occurred due to reassessment of the conservation status and distribution of some species, and the need to ensure adequate time for stakeholder consultation and incorporation of comments from public exhibition processes.
273(4) Making threat abatement plans for key threatening processes 5 2 (b) Of the five threat abatement plans under development there are two plans in the final stage of development that are overdue. Delays occurred due to the need to ensure adequate time for stakeholder consultation and incorporation of comments from the public consultation process.
279(2) Reviewing threat abatement plans 6 5 (b) Of the six threat abatement plans under review there are five that are overdue. Review processes were advanced for all overdue threat abatement plans, with revised plans expected to be provided for stakeholder consultation prior to finalisation in 2005-06.
279(2) Reviewing recovery plans 20 20 (b) Of the 20 recovery plans due for review all are underway. Delays have occurred due to the volume of recovery plans becoming due for review, and the need to ensure adequate time for stakeholder consultation and incorporation of comments from public exhibition processes.
Part 13A International movement of wildlife specimens
303CI Decision on permit for CITES species and specimens 1151 2 Late decisions resulted from the complexity of issues and additional research required in those cases.
303DH Decision on export permit for regulated native specimens 2002 0 Included for completeness.
303EG Decision on proposed amendment to the list of specimens suitable for live import 27 6 Three late due to caretaker period; three late due to administrative delays but signed within four days of required signature date.
303EO Decision on import permit for regulated live specimens 29 0 Included for completeness.
Part 15 Protected areas - managing national heritage places
324E(3) Requesting the Chair of the Australian Heritage Council to assess a nomination for the National Heritage List 45 1 One day late due to administrative error.
324F(6) Publishing on the Internet advise that emergency listing will not occur (including reasons) 20 2 Administrative delay relating to Christmas holiday period.
324G(2) Providing assessment on nomination or emergency listing (Australian Heritage Council requirement) 36 1 Request for extension being considered by the minister.
324H(2) Publishing notice seeking additional comments after assessment 2 1 Relevant notices not prepared in time for decision.
324J(2) Decision on nomination for national heritage listing after receipt of assessment report 21 1 Administrative error.
324J(4) Providing to relevant persons and publishing on the Internet advise that nomination rejected (including reasons) 11 1 Legal issues concerning release of council’s report required resolution.
Part 15 Protected areas - managing Commonwealth heritage places
341E(3) Requesting the Chair of the Australian Heritage Council to assess a nomination for the Commonwealth Heritage List 11 6 Single referral one day late; administrative error.
341J(2) Decision on nomination for Commonwealth heritage listing after receipt of assessment report 16 7 Complex assessments.
341ZD (3) Providing written advice to a Commonwealth agency seeking advice on an action likely to have a significant impact on a Commonwealth heritage place 9 1 Extension of time agreed to by Commonwealth agency to adequately consider complex proposal and associated documentation.
(a) Total number of species and ecological communities for which plans are required to be made, based on species currently known to occur in Commonwealth areas.
(b) Outstanding as at 30 June 2005, based on the 2, 3 or 5 year timeframe applicable in each case.