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

From 1 October 2014 the Australian Government commenced 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 Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (Cost Recovery) Amendment Act 2014 received Royal Assent on 30 June 2014. The Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Amendment (Cost Recovery) Regulation 2014 was registered on the Federal Register of Legislative Instruments on 9 September 2014.

Cost recovery only applies to proposed actions referred on or after 14 May 2014. For any actions referred from 14 May 2014 and before 1 October 2014, fees only apply for assessment activities undertaken by the Department from 1 October 2014. Fees will not be charged retrospectively for any stages of the assessment process that have already been completed prior to the introduction of cost recovery.

If an action is referred on or after 1 October 2014, then cost recovery will apply to both the referral and any assessment activities undertaken.

For example, if Project X was referred on 4 June 2014, it will not be subject to a cost recovery fee at the referral stage. Assessment fees will be payable for each relevant stage of the assessment process which began on or after the commencement of cost recovery.

Frequently Asked Questions

Cost Recovery Implementation Statement

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

The Department has finalised the CRIS following the making of regulations implementing the cost recovery arrangements. The final 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 final 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 CRIS applies until 30 June 2015 and 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 fees due at each statutory stage in the assessment process, if the project proceeds to assessment; and
  • complexity fees due at each statutory stage in the assessment process, if applicable.

Cost recovery for Wildlife Trade Activities

Cost recovery is already in place for some wildlife trade activities under the EPBC Act, and fees were increased as of 1 July 2013.

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:

If you wish to subscribe to the Department’s Cost Recovery mailing list please email