The EPBC Amendment Bill has the same legislative objective as the “One Stop Shop” reforms proposed in the Environmental and Biodiversity Protection Act (Cth). The proposed amendments all focus on changes to the provisions of the bilateral agreement, in particular to facilitate the advancement of licensing agreements with states and territories. The Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act) is underway, with the introduction of legislation to streamline the stagnant bilateral authorisation process in Parliament last week. The explanatory document contains more detailed information on the draft bilateral approval agreement. Although commonly referred to as the “bilateral agreement,” its full title is “A bilateral agreement between the Commonwealth and the State of Queensland, under Section 45 of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation 1999 with respect to environmental impact assessment.” This route could apply to a controlled measure that must also be subject to a plan modification procedure before a use, building or work can be authorized in accordance with Victorian law. If this path is considered an appropriate process as part of the bilateral procedure, the Minister of Planning, in consultation with the relevant authority and the planning bodies in Victoria, appoints an advisory committee. Activities carried out in accordance with Part 5 of the EP-A Act are no longer included in Schedule 1 of the amending agreement. These activities of the 5th part are carried out mainly by or on behalf of the authorities. They are subject to an environmental assessment but do not require the approval of the department. For this reason, the bilateral agreement provides few benefits in minimizing duplicate evaluation processes for this type of development. The proposed bilateral approval agreement provides for the accreditation of procedural procedures in Western Australia for the approval of proposed measures that would otherwise be reviewed by the Australian government for approval under the EPBC Act. Only a decision that applies the conditions of authorization is made by Western Australia, which is responsible for the affairs and affairs of the national environmental interest. The Advisory Committee, appointed as part of the Planning and Environment Act 1987, will review the proponent`s assessment of the MNES, in addition to the proposed modification of a planning system.
Both of these considerations are the subject of a request for public notice. In the development of its report, the Advisory Committee must consider issues relating to Victorian planning considerations and the specific requirements of the MNES in the bilateral agreement. The report is then made available to the Commonwealth Minister to inform decision-making under the EPBC Act. The bilateral agreement avoids duplication of assessment processes by allowing Victoria to assess proposals that the Commonwealth has identified as controlled measures that are likely to have a significant impact on the environment. Victoria uses a number of accredited state processes to evaluate controlled actions. The bilateral assessment agreement allows the state to conduct environmental assessments on behalf of the Commonwealth, eliminating duplication, including the need for a separate Commonwealth assessment. If this path is confirmed as an appropriate process under the bilateral procedure, the process will be led by the Minister of Water.