What is a ‘controlled action’?
‘Actions’ are defined to include such things as a project, a development, an undertaking, an activity, or an alteration to one of these things.
actions likely to have a significant impact on a ‘matter of national environmental significance’;
actions likely to have a significant impact on the environment of Commonwealth land; and
actions by the Commonwealth Government or a Commonwealth agency likely to have a significant impact on the environment (this could include actions taken by the Commonwealth Government outside of Australia).
Download Federal Government Notification of REFERRAL DECISION AND DESIGNATED PROPONENT – controlled action Aust Govt 2016-7702-referral-decision.pdf
In June 2013, legislation was passed to introduce an additional MNES for coal seam gas and large coal mining development that has, or is likely to have, a significant impact on water resources.
There are currently eight ‘matters of national environmental significance’ listed under the EPBC Act:
World Heritage values of World Heritage properties;
Wetlands of international importance (Ramsar wetlands);
Listed threatened species and ecological communities;
Listed migratory species;
Commonwealth marine areas;
Nuclear actions (including uranium mines); and
Listed National Heritage and Commonwealth Heritage places;
The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.
Moreton Resources falls under 3 out of the 8 relevant controlling provisions under this action:
• Listed threatened species and communities (sections 18 & 18A)
• Listed migratory species (sections 20 & 20A)
• A water resource, in relation to coal seam gas development and large coal mining development (sections 24D & 24E)
A One-Stop Shop for environmental approvals – just making it easier for the developer.
The EPBC Act also allows the Commonwealth to enter into agreement with the States and Territories. There are two types of bilateral agreements:
“Approval Bilateral Agreements” – these agreements allow a State or Territory approval process to be recognised for the purposes of the EPBC Act. That is, the State approval process simply replaces the Commonwealth process and becomes a decision under the EPBC Act.
“Assessment Bilateral Agreements” – these agreements allow certain environmental impact assessment processes undertaken by the State to be accredited and used by the Federal Minister when s/he makes a determination under the EPBC Act. The final decision rests with the Federal Minister, however no further assessment is required.
When deciding whether a referred proposal is a controlled action, the Minister must take into account The Precautionary Principle.
The precautionary principle is that lack of full scientific certainty should not be used as a reason for postponing a measure to prevent degradation of the environment where there are threats of serious or irreversible environmental damage.
Download Moreton Resources ASX notice:
This Chapter of the EDU Handbook provides a brief summary of the EPBC Act to assist you if you are dealing with an issue of national environmental significance.