About the manual
This manual is intended for use by staff of the Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population & Communities. It should not be relied upon by any other person. This manual does not represent legal or professional advice. The policies and procedures included in this manual are intended to serve as guidance only and should be applied in conjunction with the requirements of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act) and the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Regulations 2000 (EPBC Regulations), which must always prevail.
Amendments to the EPBC Act were introduced in February 2007. Projects that were determined to be controlled actions before 19 February 2007 will be assessed under pre-amendment processes and related legal requirements unless the minister has approved their transition.
On 25 November 2009, the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park became the eighth matter of national environmental significance under the EPBC Act. Any project that was the subject of an active referral before 25 November 2009 will be assessed under pre-amendments processes and legal requirements unless the person chooses to withdraw and resubmit their referral.
The Australian Government seeks to protect the Australian environment and to promote ecologically sustainable development. One of the ways it does this is through the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act/the Act).
This manual provides advice and direction for the staff of the Environment Assessment Branches (EAB), who are responsible for implementing Chapter 4 of the Act.
The manual does not detail every procedural step, although it does provide sufficient information for staff to do their work. It also includes references to a range of more detailed guidelines and tools that will be of assistance.
The Act and Regulations takes precedence over this manual and guidance tools. Staff must ensure they are familiar with the Act and meet all of the statutory requirements.
The key questions for staff to consider are provided throughout. Discussion and seeking advice from other departmental officers (including your supervisors) as needed is critical.