Department of the Environment

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Key departmental publications, e.g. annual reports, budget papers and program guidelines are available in our online archive.

Much of the material listed on these archived web pages has been superseded, or served a particular purpose at a particular time. It may contain references to activities or policies that have no current application. Many archived documents may link to web pages that have moved or no longer exist, or may refer to other documents that are no longer available.

The Commonwealth Coastal Policy Annexe

Commonwealth of Australia, May 1995

Annexe C: Commonwealth legislation relevant to the coastal zone

Legislation Lead agency Objectives Comments
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Heritage Protection Act 1984 ATSIC To preserve and protect places, areas and objects of particular significance to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples The legislation complements existing State and Territory laws and is intended to be used only as a last resort where those laws are considered not to provide significant protection or where there is unwillingness to invoke these laws
Aboriginal Land Grant (Jervis Bay Territory) Act 1986 ATSIC Granted an area of land at Jervis Bay to the Wreck Bay community and established a council and administrative arrangements to manage the area. The Act also makes provisions for mining, protection of the environment and protection of significant sites  
Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act 1976 ATSIC To make provision for traditional Aboriginal owners to gain inalienable freehold title to unalienated crown land in the Northern Territo ry and to exercise control over mining and other activities on their land The Act provides for the establishment of Aboriginal land councils to assist in the management of Aboriginal land and to protect the interests of traditional landowners
Australian Maritime Safety Authority Act 1990 Transport–AMSA Establishes AMSA to combat pollution in the marine environment, to provide search and rescue services, to provide services to the maritime industry, and to provide services relating to Australia's international maritime obligations  
Antarctic Marine Living Resources Conservation Act 1981 DEST To give effect to the Convention on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources  
Antarctic Treaty Act 1960 DEST To give effect to the Antarctic Treaty  
Antarctic Treaty (Environmental Protection) Act 1980 DEST Provides for the protection of Antarctic wildlife and for the protection of areas of outstanding ecological and scientific importance This Act gives effect to the Agreed Measures for the Conservation of Antarctic Flora and Fauna and the Convention on Conservation of Antarctic Seals 1972. Further amendments, which commenced in June 1993, give effect to recommendations on environmental protection measures agreed at Antarctic Consultative Meeting and to much of the Protocol to the Antarctic Treaty on Environmental Protection
Ashmore and Cartier Islands Acceptance Act 1933 DEST Allows for the government of the Territory  
Australian Heritage Commission Act 1975 AHC Established AHC to identify the National Estate for present and future generations and to assist in its conservation and presentation Requires Commonwealth Ministers and agencies to take into account effects on National Estate places of any proposed actions for which they have a decision-making role
Australian Institute of Marine Science Act 1972 AIMS Established the Australian Institute of Marine Science to carry out research in marine science  
Australian Tourist Commission Act 1987 Australian Tourist Commission (ATC) The ATC’s prime task is to market Australia internationally as a tourist destination  
Biological Control Act 1984 Joint AQIS/ANCA To maximise community benefit when making decisions about the use of biological control agents through close inter-agency cooperation AQIS works in Australia. Arrangements exist to facilitate inter-agency, Commonwealth–State and community co-operation
Christmas Island Act 1958 DEST Allows for the government of the Territory  
Coastal Waters (State Powers) Act 1980 and Coastal Waters (Northern Territory Powers) Act 1980 Attorney-General's To extend the legislative powers of the States and of the Northern Territory in and in relation to coastal waters Part of the offshore Constitutional Settlement
Coastal Waters (State Title) Act 1980 and Coastal Waters (Northern Territory Title) Act 1980 Attorney-General's To grant the States and the Northern Territory title to the seabed of coastal waters Part of the offshore Constitutional Settlement
Cocos (Keeling) Islands Act 1955 DEST Act allows for the government of the Territory.  
Control of Naval Waters Act Defence To regulate activities such as the mooring or anchoring of vessels within naval waters so as to ensure proper protection of naval vessels and establishments and property of the Commonwealth. To control the movement of dangerous cargoes through naval waters Regulations promulgated under the Act apply to areas that have been defined as naval waters, including the sea bed up to and including the high-water mark
Coral Sea Islands Act 1969 DEST Allows for the government of the Territory  
Defence Act 1903 and Regulations Defence To declare areas where defence operations or practice may be carried out and to enable the Minister to promulgate by-laws to control use of such areas Regulations under the Act can be applied to natural area management and public access to defence land
Endangered Species Protection Act 1992 ANCA Provides the legislative basis for Commonwealth responsibilities with regard to the conservation of endangered species and communities and the amelioration of the processes that threaten them. Eight marine species listed Entry into force 30 April 1993
Environment (Financial Assistance) Act 1977 DEST Provides for financial assistance to be granted to the States for environmental planning  
Environment Protection (Impact of Proposals) Act 1974 DEST To ensure, to the greatest extent practicable, that matters requiring Commonwealth decision making and with the potential to affect the environment to a significant effect are fully examined and taken into account Commonwealth proposals or decisions with potential environmental impact to be referred to DEST by the Action Minister or agency
Environment Protection (Nuclear Codes) Act 1978 DEST Makes provision for protecting the health and safety of the Australian people and environment from possible harmful effects associated with nuclear activities in Australia  
Environment Protection (Sea Dumping) Act 1981 DEST To control dumping from ships, aircraft, platforms or other man-made structures in Australian waters and from Australian ships/aircraft in any sea Convention on the Gives effect to Australia’s obligations under the International Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping of Wastes and Other Matter (London Dumping Convention)
Fisheries Management Act 1991 and Fisheries Administration Act 1991 AFMA To implement efficient and cost-effective fisheries management, to ensure that fisheries activities are conducted according to the principles of ecologically sustainable development, and to maximise economic efficiency in exploitation of fisheries All fisheries management plans are now prepared under this Act
Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Act 1975 GBRMPA To provide for protection, wise use, understanding and enjoyment of the Great Barrier Reef in perpetuity through the Authority care and development of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Act established the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park
Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Amendment Act 1991   To provide for compulsory pilotage for all vessels carrying oil or toxic chemicals as a cargo and for other large vessels navigating within the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park  
Great Barrier Reef Marine Park (Environmental Management Charge) Act 1993 GBRMPA Imposes a change on the grant or transfer of certain permissions under the GBRMP Regulations and section 39 of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Act  
Heard Island and McDonald Islands Act 1953 DEST Provides for the government of the Territory of Heard Island and McDonald Islands  
Environment Protection and Management Ordinance 1987 DEST Provides for the protection and management of the environment and wildlife of the Territory of Heard Island and McDonald Islands  
Income Assessment Act 1936 Australian Taxation Office: Commissioner for Taxation Tax incentives are available where primary producers incur expenditure on a variety of conservation measures, including prevention of soil erosion  
Industrial Chemicals (Notification and Assessment) Act 1989 DIR (Worksafe Australia) Warwick Pearse (02) 565 9458 To establish a national system of notification and assessment of industrial chemicals, and for related purposes  
Jervis Bay Territory Acceptance Act 1915 DEST Allows for the government of the Territory  
Lands Acquisition Act 1989 DAS Provides for acquisition, leasing and disposal of Commonwealth lands  
Meteorology Act 1955 Bureau of Meteorology Provision of meteorological services to navigation and shipping  
National Parks and Wildlife Conservation Act 1975 ANCA To protect and conserve nature conservation values of the Australian natural environment and wildlife, to increase knowledge, appreciation of and access to Australian biota, and to enhance awareness of and access to the natural environment Provides for the establishment of parks and reserves, including marine parks and reserves in Commonwealth waters to the edge of the continental shelf
National Water Resources (Financial Assistance) Act 1978 DPIE Provides for financial assistance to be given to States for projects with the purpose of conservation of water resources or water environment, management of water quality, distribution or reticulation of water, drainage and desalination of agricultural land or mitigation of flooding  
Native Title Act 1993 ATSIC To provide for the recognition and protection of native title, to establish ways in which future dealings affecting native title may proceed and to set standards for those dealings, to establish a mechanism for determining claims to native title, and to provide for, or permit, the validation of past Acts invalidated because of the existence of native title  
Natural Resources Management (Financial Assistance) Act 1992 DPIE Provides funding to facilitate the development and implementation of integrated approaches to natural resources management in Australia to achieve efficient, sustainable and equitable management of natural resources in Australia that is consistent with the principles of ecologically sustainable development Promotes community, industry and government participation in natural resources management, assists in enhancing long-term productivity of natural resources, and assists in the resolution of conflicts over access to natural resources
Navigation Act 1912 Transport–AMSA    
Navigation (Protection of the Sea) Amendment Act 1983 Transport–AMSA Regulates the construction, size and location of oil cargo tanks in tankers in accordance with the requirements of the 1973 International Convention for the Prevention of Marine Pollution from Ships  
Norfolk Island Act 1979 DEST Allows for the government of the Territory  
Offshore Minerals Act 1994 DPIE Sets up a licensing system for mining and exploration in particular offshore areas, and applies State laws to those offshore areas so far as those laws concern mining and exploration activities  
Petroleum (Submerged Lands) Act 1967 DPIE To permit, under government supervision, the exploration for and production of petroleum within offshore areas under Commonwealth jurisdiction Establishes an offshore regime for the exploration and development of petroleum resources
Protection of Movable Cultural Heritage Act 1986 DCA Provides for the protection of Australia’s heritage of important movable cultural objects by export controls and extends protection to the cultural heritage of other countries through import controls  
Protection of the Sea (Civil Liability) Act 1981 Transport–AMSA The owner of a ship is liable for any pollution damage caused by oil that escapes or is discharged from that ship Implements Civil Liability Convention
Protection of the Sea (Oil Pollution Convention Fund) Act 1993 Transport–AMSA The 1971 fund established under the Convention on Oil Pollution Damage is liable to provide compensation and indemnification for certain oil pollution damage. Certain persons who receive oil in Australian ports and terminals are liable to contribute to the fund  
Protection of the Sea (Powers of Intervention) Act 1981 Transport–AMSA Authorises the Commonwealth to take measures to protect the sea from pollution by oil and other noxious substances discharged from ships Implements Intervention Convention
Protection of the Sea (Prevention of Pollution from Ships) Act 1983 Transport–AMSA Protects the sea from pollution by oil and other harmful substances discharged from ships Implements MARPOL Convention
Quarantine Act 1908 DHSH–human health AQIS (DPIE)–agriculture Prevention of the introduction or spread of exotic diseases or pests affecting humans, animals or plants  
Seas and Submerged Lands Act 1973 Attorney-General's Provides for establishing the baseline and breadth of the territorial sea and the declaration of the continental shelf. It also asserts Australia’s sovereignty over the territorial sea and sovereign rights over the continental shelf and the Exclusive Economic Zone Implements maritime zones under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea
Sea Installations Act 1987 and Sea Installations Amendment Act 1987 DEST To extend Australian law to installations outside the territorial sea  
Sea Installations Levy Act 1987 (The Sea Installations Act 1987 is incorporated and shall be read as one, with this Act) DEST To provide for a levy to be paid to the Commonwealth by a permit holder in relation to the operation of a sea installation  
Soil Conservation (Financial Assistance) Act 1985 DPIE To grant financial assistance in connection with projects  
States Grants (Nature Conservation) Act 1974 DEST Provides for financial assistance to the States for purposes connected with nature conservation  
Urban and Regional Development (Financial Assistance) Act 1974 DEST Provides for financial assistance to the States for purposes connected with urban and regional development  
Wet Tropics of Queensland World Heritage Area Conservation Act 1994 DEST In conjunction with relevant Queensland legislation, provide for joint management of the Wet Tropics of Queensland World Heritage Area  
Whale Protection Act 1980 ANCA Provides for the preservation, conservation and protection of whales and other cetacea in the Australian Exclusive Economic Zone Provides protection to all cetaceans (whales, dolphins and porpoises)
Wildlife Protection (Regulation of Exports and Imports)Act 1982 ANCA To regulate the export and import of many species of animals and plants, including sea shells, clams, sea-weed and most marine invertebrates Regulates and controls the export of animals and plants that are or may become endangered by trade, and Australian native wildlife
World Heritage Properties Conservation Act 1983 DEST To provide for protection and conservation of properties in Australia inscribed or listed for inscription on the World Heritage List Authorises the Commonwealth to prevent damage or destruction of a property through prohibition of certain acts. Does not automatically control activities on properties with World Heritage value


AFMA Australian Fisheries Management Agency DAS Department of Administrative Services
AHC Australian Heritage Commission DCA Department of Communication and the Arts
AIMS Australian Institute of Marine Science DEST Department of the Environment, Sport and Territories
AMSA Australian Maritime Safety Authority DFAT Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
ANCA Australian Nature Conservation Agency DHSH Department of Health Services and Human
AQIS Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service DIR Department of Industrial Relations
ATC Australian Tourist Commission DPIE Department of Primary Industries and Energy
ATSIC Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission GBRMPA Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority