Overview of Cost Recovery under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act)

On 14 May 2014 the Australian Government introduced legislation into Parliament to facilitate the one stop shop policy and to allow for cost recovery for environmental assessments under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (the EPBC Act). This represents a significant milestone in the implementation of these reforms to improve the efficiency of environmental regulation while maintaining high environmental standards.

The Australian Government will shortly implement cost recovery arrangements for environmental assessments and some strategic assessments under the EPBC Act. These arrangements are consistent with the Australian Government Cost Recovery Guidelines which establishes that those who create the need for regulation should incur the costs, rather than the costs being borne by the wider community.

The actual commencement date of cost recovery is subject to the passage of the necessary legislation through Parliament and the making of regulations. The legislation passed Parliament on 24 June 2014. As the regulations have not yet been made, the commencement of cost recovery will be delayed from the previously scheduled commencement date of 1 July 2014.

The intent is that the new arrangements will apply to any project referred on or after 14 May 2014. Charges will apply to assessment activities taken from the commencement date for cost recovery. If an action is referred on or after the commencement date then cost recovery will apply to the referral and any assessment activities undertaken. No fees are payable prior to the commencement of cost recovery, or for any activities which occur prior to the commencement of cost recovery.

The Department will update this webpage with information regarding the progress of making regulations to implement cost recovery.

Frequently Asked Questions

Overview of cost recovery - frequently asked questions (PDF - 121.38 KB)
Overview of cost recovery - frequently asked questions (DOCX - 388.39 KB)

Cost Recovery Impact Statement

The Department has published a provisional Cost Recovery Impact Statement (July 2014 – June 2015) (CRIS) for information purposes.

The provisional CRIS (2014-2015) includes details of charges, methods for calculating fees, and exemptions, waivers and refunds. Exemptions for cost recovery fees are available for individuals and small businesses with less than $2 million annual turnover. The provisional CRIS (2014-15) contains the final fee structure for cost recovery as agreed by the Minister for the Environment and is not subject to change.

The Department will finalise the CRIS following the making of regulations implementing the cost recovery arrangements. It is intended that the CRIS will be operational for one year and that it will be revised once the ‘one stop shop’ reforms are implemented.

Each project will be subject to the following fees:

  • a referral fee of $7,352 at the time of submitting an EPBC referral form
  • base costs due at each statutory stage in the assessment process, if the project proceeds to assessment
  • complexity costs due at each statutory stage in the assessment process, if applicable.

Cost recovery for Wildlife Trade Activities

Cost recovery commenced from 1 July 2013 for some wildlife trade activities under the EPBC Act, such as wildlife trade permits. Cost recovery will continue for these activities.

Further information about wildlife trade cost recovery is available below:

For further information on cost recovery please call the Department's Community Information Unit on 1800 803 772 or email your query to the Cost Recovery Mailbox at: epbc.costrecovery@environment.gov.au

If you wish to subscribe to the Department’s Cost Recovery mailing list please email epbc.costrecovery@environment.gov.au