Background to the review
The water trigger was established through the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Amendment Act 2013. The amendment provides that water resources are a matter of national environmental significance in relation to coal seam gas and large coal mining development.
As a result of the amendment, an action which involves a coal seam gas development or a large coal mining development requires approval from the Australian Government Minister for the Environment if the action has, will have, or is likely to have, a significant impact on a water resource.
The water trigger legislation also requires that the Minister for the Environment commission an independent review to be undertaken of the operation of the Act and the extent to which its objectives have been achieved.
In addition, because the legislation received an exemption from the then Prime Minister from the preparation of a regulatory impact statement, a post implementation review is required.
Reflecting these requirements, the following terms of reference for this review have been set by the Minister for the Environment.
Terms of reference
- Examine the appropriateness of the regulation including whether it is necessary and well targeted
- Examine the effectiveness of the regulation in protecting water resources from the impacts of coal seam gas and large coal mining projects, including the role and scope of work ascribed to the Independent Expert Scientific Committee on Coal Seam Gas and Large Coal Mining Development (IESC)
- Identify any opportunities to improve the effectiveness of the regulation
- Examine the efficiency of the regulation in protecting water resources from the impacts of coal seam gas and large coal mining projects
- Identify any opportunities to reduce or simplify the regulation whilst maintaining its effectiveness
- Identify any recommended appropriate future review points of the regulation.
Post Implementation Review
At Appendix 3 of this report is a Post Implementation Review prepared by the Department of the Environment that directly addresses the requirements of the Office of Best Practice regulation for such reviews.