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Department of the Environment and Heritage annual report 2005–06

Volume two
Department of the Environment and Heritage, 2006
ISSN 1441 9335

Legislation annual reports 2005-06 (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 2005–06 are listed in Tables 16 and 17 below.

Table 16: Referrals, assessments and approvals in 2005–06
Section Total Late Reasons
75(1) Decision on referral 329 64 Delays in obtaining sufficient information to make a decision; the need to address questions of legal interpretation in processing referrals; the need for additional internal consultations on referral decisions; availability of decision-maker for some decisions
77(1)(b) Publishing notice of decision on referral 329 22 Delay in automated notification
77(4) Providing reasons for decision 12 1 Availability of decision-maker; need to obtain legal advice/review
88(1) Decision on assessment approach 31 6 Delays in obtaining sufficient information to make decision; need for additional internal consultations on level of assessment decisions; need to consult with the state
91(1) Publishing notice of decision on assessment approach 31 4 Delay in notification that the level of assessment had been made; proponents notified in writing by decision date but delay in automated notification
95(1) Preparation of assessment report for preliminary documentation 18 13 Need to adequately consider complex technical issues raised in both the information provided by proponent and in the assessment process; further research required on issues raised; further detailed information sought from proponent; need for consultations with third parties
100(1) Preparation of assessment report for public environment report 3 3 Availability of decision-makers; need to adequately consider complex technical issues
102(1) Preparation of assessment guidelines for environmental impact statement 4 1 Joint assessment with state; need to ensure both jurisdictions satisfied with guidelines before finalising
105(1) Preparation of assessment report for environmental impact statement 4 2 Complexity of issues; need to seek additional information from proponent
130(1) Approval decision 37 11 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 and additional independent work commissioned to inform decision
Table 17: Other provisions during 2005–06
Section Total Late Reasons
Part 13 Species and communities
189(5) Decision on listing 13 2 Complexity of the nominations and the need for extensive consultation
273(1) Making recovery plans for listed threatened species and ecological communities in Commonwealth areas 85 (a) plans covering 174 species 19 (b)(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
279(2) Reviewing recovery plans 71  13 Reviews are underway for 58 recovery plans that are due for review. Up to June 2006, an additional 13 plans have become due for review. 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 871 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 1509 1 Late decision resulted from the complexity of issues
303EG Decision on proposed amendment to the list of specimens suitable for live import 15 3 One late due to decision-maker not being available; two late due to administrative delays but signed within one day of required signature date
Part 15 Protected areas—managing national heritage places
324F(6) Publishing on the internet advice that emergency listing will not occur (including reasons) 5 2 Administrative delays in processing minister’s decisions
324G(2) Providing assessment on nomination or emergency listing (Australian Heritage Council requirement) 1 1 Delay in providing Australian Heritage Council assessment report to minister due to need to recheck data
324H(2) Publishing notice seeking additional comments after assessment 2 1 Administrative delays in processing minister’s decision
324H (5) Publishing relevant documents for comment 2 1 Administrative delays in processing minister’s decision
324J(2) Decision on national heritage listing after receipt of assessment report 44 33 Various reasons, principally timing of announcements to maximise publicity for heritage listing, but also pressure of ministerial business, overseas ministerial travel, legal issues and consideration of management implications of listing
324J (5A) Decision on retaining, altering the boundary of, or removing an emergency listed place 1 1 Consultation with state government over conservation of heritage values
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 2 1 Administrative error
341E(3A) Publishing on the internet a brief description of the nomination 2 1 Administrative error
341H(2) Publishing notice of seeking additional comments after assessment 1 1 Need for minister to consult further with stakeholders
341H(5) Publishing relevant documents for comment 1 1 Need for minister to consult further with stakeholders
341J(2) Decision on Commonwealth heritage listing after receipt of assessment report 13 10 Various reasons, including pressure of ministerial business, overseas ministerial travel and legal issues
341J(4) Providing to relevant persons and publishing on the internet advice that nomination rejected (including reasons) 8 1 Delay in finalising reasons for rejection
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 3 1 Australian Heritage Council required more information before providing its advice
(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 2006, based on the two, three or five year timeframe applicable in each case.

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