Information and reporting
The EPBC Act has mechanisms that require the Australian Government to report on the effectiveness of the Act. These include Annual Reports and State of the Environment Reports.
The Act requires reports to be prepared at specified intervals on its operation and performance, including:
- annual reports on the operation of the Act;
- annual reports to Parliament on the environmental performance of Australian Government agencies;
- five-yearly State of the Environment reports;
- five-yearly reports to Parliament reviewing the heritage lists; and
- a ten-yearly independent review of the operation of the Act and the extent to which its objects have been achieved.
Section 516 of the Act requires the Minister to prepare an annual report on the operation of the Act and to lay a copy of this report before the Parliament. These reports provide information on the statutory performance of the Act in relation to the following elements:
- environmental referrals, assessments and approvals;
- Antarctic Treaty environmental protection;
- access to biological resources and benefit sharing;
- protection of species and ecological communities;
- international wildlife trade and management;
- protection of natural and cultural places and values;
- fisheries assessment and approvals;
- meeting statutory time frames;
- decisions and legal actions;
- statement of reasons;
- reconsideration of decisions; and
Section 516A of the Act requires all Commonwealth agencies to report on their environmental performance and contribution to ecologically sustainable development (ESD).
The Department meets its requirements as part of its Annual Report.
Further information can be found on the Department’s website.
State of the Environment
Under section 516B of the Act every five years, a report on Australia’s environment must be prepared. The Minister must table this report in Parliament.
The purpose of national state of the environment reporting is to:
- provide all Australians with independent, authoritative information on the state of the environment; and
- provide the Australian public, the Australian Government and other decision-makers responsible for managing our environment with an assessment of how effectively the Australian environment is being managed and what the key national environmental issues are.
The most recent Australian state of the environment (2016) report can be found on the Department’s website. The next report is due in 2021.
National and Commonwealth heritage list review
Under Sections 324ZC and 341ZH of the Act, at least once in every five-year period the Minister must ensure that the National Heritage List and Commonwealth Heritage List are reviewed, and a report of the review is tabled in each House of the Parliament.
This review was most recently completed for the period of 1 July 2013 and 30 June 2018 and is published on the Department’s website.
Ten year independent review
Under section 522A of the Act, every ten years, the Minister must establish an independent review of the Act. The reviews must examine the operation of the Act and the extent to which objects of the Act have been achieved. The person or body appointed to undertake the review must give a report to the Minister, who then tables the report in Parliament. The first independent review was undertaken by Dr Allan Hawke and delivered to the Minister on 30 October 2009. All reports relating to the first review can be found on the Department’s website.
The second independent review commenced on 29 October 2019 and is being undertaken by Professor Graeme Samuel AC. Professor Samuel will provide a report to the Minister in October 2020.