Guidance Note 5 - 'Indirect consequences' of an action: Section 527E of the EPBC Act
About the guidance note
This Guidance Note is intended for use by staff of the Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities. It should not be relied upon by any other person. This Guidance Note does not represent legal or professional advice. The policies and procedures included in this Guidance Note are intended to serve as guidance only and should be applied consistently with the requirements of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Cwlth) (EPBC Act) and the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Regulations 2000 (Cwlth) (EPBC Regulations). To the extent of any inconsistency, the EPBC Act and EPBC Regulations will prevail over this Guidance Note. If Departmental officers consider that this Guidance Note may be inconsistent with the EPBC Act or the EPBC Regulations, please contact the Legislation Policy Section. This guidance note may be subject to change at any time.
This Guidance Note provides guidance on determining whether an event or circumstance is an 'indirect consequence' of an action for the purposes of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act). Please note that an indirect consequence is frequently referred to as an indirect impact.
Sub-section 75(2) of the EPBC Act requires that the Minister responsible for administering the EPBC Act or their delegate (the Minister) when deciding whether an action is a controlled action, consider 'all adverse impacts (if any)' the action has, will have, or is likely to have, on protected matters.
Paragraph 527E(1)(b) of the EPBC Act provides that an 'impact' of an action includes an event or circumstance that is an indirect consequence of the action, where the action is a substantial cause of that event or circumstance (subject to a number of criteria).
This Guidance Note provides guidance on what impacts constitute a 'indirect consequence(s)', under paragraph 527E(1)(b).