Proposal to grant permits for export of plants harvested in Queensland under exceptional circumstances

Invitation to comment

The Australian Government Department of the Environment has responsibility for regulating the import and export of plants and animals. As delegate for the Minister for the Environment, the Department is considering granting export permits for plants harvested in Queensland under the exceptional circumstances provision (section 303GB) of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act).

The Queensland Government has introduced a new framework for protected plants which amends Queensland’s licensing system for the harvest and trade of native plants. The adoption of this framework requires the Queensland Wildlife Trade Management Program for Protected Plants in Queensland 2011 – 2015 to be revised.

It is proposed that exceptional circumstance permits may be issued to exporters who harvest plants in Queensland, and only until such time as a new Wildlife Trade Management Program for Protected Plants is adopted. This is to ensure that exporters are not disadvantaged during the revision of the Queensland Wildlife Trade Management Program. Once the new Program is adopted, exporters may continue to apply for standard export permits under the EPBC Act.

Under section 303GB (1A) of the EPBC Act the Minister (or delegate) may only issue a permit under exceptional circumstances if the granting of that permit is consistent with the EPBC Act.Under section 303GB 1(c) of the EPBC Act, in order to issue a permit under exceptional circumstances, the Minister (or delegate) must be satisfied that:

  1. the export of the specimen(s) would not be contrary to the objects of the Act; and
  2. exceptional circumstances exist that justify the proposed export or import of the specimen; and
  3. the export or import of the specimen(s), as the case may be, would not adversely affect biodiversity.

In applying for an exceptional circumstances permit, exporters will be required to pay a fee of up to $306. This fee is higher than that for standard permits but is unavoidable due to prescriptions under Part 18 and Schedule 11 of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Regulations 2000.

Written comments are invited on the proposal to issue export permits for plants harvested in Queensland under the exceptional circumstances provision of the EPBC Act until such time as a new Queensland Wildlife Trade Management Program for Protected Plants is adopted. The comment period for this proposal closes five business days after the publication of this notice. All comments postmarked within the five day public comment period will be considered.

Please submit your written comments by AEST 5pm 2 May 2014.

Please address any comments to;
The Director
Wildlife Trade Regulation
Department of the Environment
GPO Box 787
CANBERRA ACT 2601
wildlifetrade@environment.gov.au