Frequently asked questions

Caution: archived content

This content may have been superseded, or served a particular purpose at a particular time.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.

What is the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act?

The Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act) is the Australian Government's premier piece of environmental legislation. It provides the framework for the Australian Government's role in protecting and managing Australia's environment and heritage and conserving Australia's biodiversity. About the EPBC Act

Why was the EPBC Act reviewed?

Section 522A of the EPBC Act requires that the Minister cause a review of the operation of the Act and whether the Act is achieving its objects. This review must be undertaken within 10 years of the Act's commencement.

Who undertook the review?

Dr Allan Hawke was appointed as the independent reviewer under section 522A of the EPBC Act. About Dr Hawke

In undertaking his review, Dr Hawke was supported by a panel of experts comprised of the Hon Paul Stein, Professor Mark Burgman, Professor Tim Bonyhady and Ms Rosemary Warnock. About the panel of experts

Dr Hawke also received administrative support from a secretariat housed within the Australian Government Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts.

What was the process for the review?

The terms of reference for the review reflect the requirements of section 522A of the EPBC Act.

In undertaking his review, Dr Hawke examined the operation of the EPBC Act and assessed whether the Act has achieved its objectives since it commenced in July 2000.

On 31 October 2008, Dr Hawke released a Discussion Paper, and called for written submissions.

A series of face-to-face consultations with stakeholders were held in each Australian capital city.

An Interim Report on the review was released on 29 June 2009 and was open for public comment. This report highlighted the key issues raised throughout the public consultation process and provided focus for the way forward in the review.

Dr Hawke presented his final report to the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and the Arts on 30 October 2009. As required under section 522A of the EPBC Act, the Minister tabled the report in Parliament on 21 December 2009.

Is the review different to the Senate inquiry?

The review is separate from the Senate Standing Committee on Environment, Communications and the Arts Inquiry into the operation of the EPBC Act.

Dr Hawke was appointed by the Minister to undertake this independent review in furtherance of the statutory requirement in section 522A of the Act.