Compliance audits completed during 2014 - Summary of findings

Department of the Environment, 2014

About the summaries

This document is a summary of findings for compliance audits completed during 2014 by the EPBC Act compliance auditing programme.

The projects audited were:

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Sea Dumping Permit No. SD2012/2262 – Dampier Heavy Load-Out Facility Berth and Swing Basin Expansion Project

A compliance audit of a sea dumping permit to load, for the purposes of dumping, and to dump up to 98,300 cubic metres of dredge spoil, derived from capital dredging of the existing Dampier Heavy Load Out Facility at the Port of Dampier, WA, was conducted by the Department from July to November 2013.

There are 24 conditions set out in the Sea Dumping permit decision. The Dampier Port Authority (DPA) generally demonstrated compliance with the requirements of the sea dumping permit conditions that were applicable at the time of the audit.

Permit condition 3 requires the DPA to undertake dumping activities in accordance with the approved Dredge Management Plan (DMP). The DPA was found to have a non-conformance in relation to the approved DMP which requires a daily log of observations of the plume to be maintained and provided to DPA at the conclusion of the dredging works. The DPA confirmed that the contractor did not provide them with a copy of the daily log of water quality monitoring observations at the conclusion of the dredging works; this non-conformance constitutes a non-compliance with condition 3 of the Sea Dumping Permit.

There were three undetermined findings in relation to permit conditions 3, 11 and 20. These related to: implementation of the DMP; recording of observations for cetaceans, turtles or dugongs within the monitoring zone; and undertaking monitoring and reporting as detailed in the approved DMP.

The non-compliance has been dealt with administratively in line with the Department’s Compliance and Enforcement Policy.

EPBC 2008/4032 and Sea Dumping Permit SD2008/822 - Cape Lambert Port B Development, Pilbara Region, Western Australia

On 20 September 2013 Rio Tinto Australia (Rio Tinto) were directed to undertake an independent compliance audit of the approval conditions for the Cape Lambert Port B Development located in the Pilbara Region of Western Australia. This directive was made in accordance with condition 15 of the EPBC Act approval, and as a component of the annual compliance audit program. As a Sea Dumping Permit (SD2008/822) was required for this project under the Environment Protection (Sea Dumping) Act 1981, the permit conditions were also included within the scope of this audit.

The independent audit has addressed the criteria to the satisfaction of the Minister’s delegate.

Although the independent audit found that Rio Tinto had met the majority of activities to satisfy the conditions of the EPBC Act approval and the Sea Dumping Permit, the audit and the Department’s review of the findings identified the following non-compliances:

EPBC Condition 6 c): Although Rio Tinto are acting in accordance with an approved Marine Turtle Management Plan, hatchling dispersal is not being assessed at Cooling Water Beach which is a monitoring requirement as specified in the approval.

EPBC Condition 12: Requires the approved Ecosystem Research and Monitoring Program (ERMP) to be implemented. Some reporting timeframes in the ERMP had not been met.

EPBC Condition 21: Requires management plans, reports, systems and programs (however described) in the conditions of approval to be made publicly available within 30 days of approval by the Minister. One set of historical approved versions of these documents were not. Further, the ERMP was not published on the Rio Tinto website at the time of the audit however it has since been uploaded.

EPBC Condition 22: Requires all plans, reports or programs (however described) to include a description of the EPBC Act listed species and habitat and an assessment of the risk to these values, species or habitats. The ERMP did not include this information.

Sea Dumping Condition 2: Require all activities to be undertaken in accordance with the conditions of the EPBC Act approval. As non-compliance was found with some of the EPBC Act approval conditions by default there was non-compliance with this condition.

Sea Dumping Condition 6: Requires the Dredging and Spoil Disposal Management Plan (DSMP) to be made available on the Rio Tinto website within 30 days of the DSMP being approved by the Minister. One approved version of the DSMP was not.

The non-compliances have since been addressed in accordance with the Department's Compliance and Enforcement Policy.