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6.3 - The Department’s information management systems are antiquated

The EPBC Act was developed in the last century, when the use of paper was standard, and the internet was not yet central to the effective delivery of government services. The way the Act is administered has not kept pace with the rapid transformation in how government, businesses and people interact with technology. In essence, the Department uses systems which are insufficient to deliver its regulatory functions efficiently.

The online systems that support the EPBC Act are cumbersome, duplicative and slow, and do not meet expectations for an easy, tailored, digital experience. The Department’s systems for managing assessment documentation result in the need to manually handle (and double handle) files, leading to mistakes and delays. Interactions with proponents are not easily recorded, resulting in duplication and a lack of structure.

There is no system for efficient case management, and it is not easy for the Department, the proponent or the community to determine the status of a proposal in the assessment process or track a project after an approval has been granted. Departmental systems do not link with state and territory systems, and there is no single user portal.

The EPBC Act requires archaic methods of communication such as newspaper advertisements and publishing in the Government Notices Gazette. The focus on meeting statutory requirements often comes at the expense of effort to use more modern forms of presenting and communicating information in an easily accessible way.