Cost recovery – Environmental Impact Assessments Cost Recovery Q&A

Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities, 2012

When will the new cost recovery measures come into effect?

Cost recovery for environment impact assessment and strategic assessment cannot take effect until the passage of amending legislation and new regulations are made. The EPBC Act amendment Bill has yet to be introduced into Parliament. Timing for the introduction of the Bill is a matter for Government.

Once cost recovery commences, will current projects be charged fees?

Cost recovery arrangements will only apply to proposed actions referred to the department after 8 May 2012. If you refer a proposed action after this date, you may be subject to fees if it is still undergoing assessment under the EPBC Act at the commencement of cost recovery. The department will inform you of your potential liability for fees prior to the introduction of cost recovery arrangements.

Fees will only apply to the assessment work undertaken by the department after the commencement of cost recovery. Fees will not be charged retrospectively for any stages of the assessment process that have already been completed by the time cost recovery begins.

Cost recovery will not apply to any action referred to the department prior to 8 May 2012.

What is the total cost of my environmental impact assessment?

Fees for environmental impact assessments will be determined on the basis of complexity and scale or effort required to assess the environmental impacts. The proposed fee structure for environmental impact assessments can be found in the draft CRIS:

During the assessment process, at the controlled action or at the assessment approach decision, the proponent will be provided with an estimate of the maximum applicable fees for an assessment. These fees will be determined by the Minister or delegate, and will outline the maximum fees associated with each stage of the assessment process.

This will ensure that you are fully aware of the potential fees involved in the process.

If you withdraw your project, or the project does not otherwise proceed, you will not be liable for the fees associated with any remaining stages of the assessment.

When do I pay my fees?

Fees will be due prior to the commencement of each stage of the approval process, including the stages of referral, assessment or the assessment of a post-approval management plan in some circumstances.

Does the payment of fees guarantee approval?

No. Cost recovery does not guarantee approval under national environmental law, but it will contribute to making the assessment and decision making process more efficient.

If a project is withdrawn, or otherwise does not go ahead, fees already paid for completed assessment activities will not be refunded.

What if I have some additional questions about the impact of cost recovery on environmental impact assessments?

If you have any additional questions, please call the Departmental Community Information Unit on 1800 803 772 or email your query to the Cost Recovery Mailbox at: epbc.costrecovery@environment.gov.au