Environment assessments

Under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999, environment assessments are undertaken to enable environment and heritage protection and biodiversity conservation.

Before taking an action that could have a significant impact on a matter protected by the EPBC Act, you must refer your proposed action to the Australian Government Minister for the Environment and Heritage (the Minister).

The Minister may exempt a person proposing to take action under certain circumstances.

The Minister may agree to conduct an assessment of actions that may be carried out under a proposed policy, program or plan.

Strategic approaches

Strategic approaches are detailed in the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (national environment law) as important tools for high level environmental management and assessment. They allow the Australian Government to work closely with state and territory governments in the planning and assessment process. Strategic approaches allow for the alignment of state/territory and federal policies and frameworks. They provide a sensible, streamlined and consistent approach to achieving good environmental outcomes.

Strategic assessments

Strategic assessments allow for a 'whole of government' approach to assessing environmental impacts under a policy, plan or program. They allow the Australian Government to work closely with state and territory governments in the early stages of planning to ensure environmental issues, including matters of national environmental significance, are considered from the start. Actions taken in accordance with an endorsed policy, plan or program may not require a separate referral and/or approval.

Conservation agreements

Conservation agreements allow individuals to protect and conserve biodiversity and the character of certain matters of national environmental significance. This can occur on land or in the sea.

Bilateral agreements

Bilateral agreements give state and territory governments the responsibility for undertaking environmental assessments and/or approvals for certain issues. Bilateral agreements exist between the commonwealth and all other Australian jurisdictions.

Bioregional planning

Bioregional planning is done in partnership with state and territory governments and involves developing a plan for a bioregion that is not wholly within a commonwealth area. Such planning provides for a landscape based approach to biodiversity conservation, including matters of national environmental significance. The Australian Government may provide financial assistance for its implementation. At present, bioregional plans exist for the Commonwealth marine environment.

See also