Appendix B3 - Recommended National Environmental Standard for Compliance and Enforcement
Recommended National Environmental Standards
Appendix B to the Final Report sets out in detail 4 recommended National Environmental Standards that were developed by the Review following consultation with science, Indigenous, environmental and business stakeholders and with input from technical experts.
National Environmental Standard for compliance and enforcement
This National Environmental Standard for compliance and enforcement sets the national intent for compliance and enforcement activities to ensure the protection and conservation of matters protected under the EPBC Act.
This National Environmental Standard for compliance and enforcement is relevant to the Commonwealth Environment Minister, or other Commonwealth decision-maker authorised under the EPBC Act, and third parties following accreditation, consistent with common application of all National Environmental Standards.
Application of the National Environmental Standard by an authorised Commonwealth compliance and enforcement decision-maker
The National Environmental Standard should be implemented by the decision-maker authorised under the EPBC Act to undertake compliance and enforcement actions or activities, including for example the recommended independent Office of Compliance and Enforcement.
The collective activities and decisions made by the authorised Commonwealth compliance and enforcement decision-maker(s) under the EPBC Act should be consistent with the National Environmental Standard. The Standard is relevant to activities and decisions at all scales including policies, plans and programs.
This includes decisions regarding compliance and enforcement of individual projects or actions, where they are likely to have significant impacts on matters protected under the EPBC Act. A decision by the authorised Commonwealth compliance and enforcement decision-maker(s) to undertake compliance and enforcement activities under the EPBC Act must not prevent a National Environmental Standard from being met.
The EPBC Act requirements, and those under accredited arrangements, are complied with and enforced so that matters covered by the EPBC Act are protected.
Decisions demonstrate integrity, consistency and transparency to foster public trust in compliance and enforcement activities.
Monitoring and Reporting
This National Environmental Standard should be reviewed and updated regularly, including when there are substantive changes to the EPBC Act or relevant administrative arrangements, or major events that may impact the status of protected matters.
Privacy Act 1988
Regulatory Powers (Standard Provisions) Act 2014
OECD Best Practice Principles for Regulatory Policy 2014
OECD Regulatory Enforcement and Inspections Toolkit 2018
This Standard should be applied in conjunction with all other relevant National Environmental Standards.
Commonwealth oversight functions: Includes but is not limited to the Environment Assurance Commissioner and legislated Commonwealth oversight bodies such as the Australian National Audit Office.
Legal powers and penalties: Legal powers and penalties are defined in the EPBC Act, and include injunctions (Division 14), directed environmental audits (Division 12), civil and criminal penalties including liabilities for executive officers of a body corporate (detailed throughout Part 3 for each protected matter), remediation of environmental damage (Divisions 14A and 14B), enforceable undertakings (Sections 486DA and 486DB), and the ability to publicise contraventions.
Objects of the EPBC Act: see Section 3 of the EPBC Act.