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The 2007 amendments to the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999(EPBC Act) commenced on 19 February 2007. These amendments provide, among other things, greater flexibility in the assessment and referral process, establish a new process for listing threatened species, ecological communities and key threatening processes, and enhance the EPBC Act's compliance and enforcement regime.

Of particular relevance to the Australasian Bat Society are the new procedures that relate to the listing and recovery of threatened species and ecological communities. New procedures include the formulation of a prioritisation list for nominations, the possible adoption by the Minister of a conservation theme for new nominations and the establishment of an annual assessment cycle. The new process is designed to improve the effectiveness of listing with a more strategic approach focussing on those species in greatest need of protection.

The amendments change the focus from recovery plans to recovery ‘action’, primarily through ensuring that there is approved conservation advice at all times for each listed threatened species and ecological community. The Minister can decide whether a recovery plan is required for a threatened species or ecological community or whether to discontinue use of an existing plan. The Minister can also decide the type of plan (eg. single species, multi species, regional).

The changes to the EPBC Act will ensure that matters protected by the Act continue to receive the highest possible level of protection. Implementation of these changes will cut unproductive ‘red tape’ and enable quicker and more strategic action to be taken on emerging environmental issues.

Australian Government Department of the Environment and Heritage (DEH) 2006. Changes to the EPBC Act - What you will need to know. Canberra.
Australian Government Department of the Environment and Water Resources (DEWR) 2007. Guide to the EPBC Act, Canberra.
Ibid 2007. EPBC Act - Environment Assessment Process, Canberra. Ibid 2007. EPBC Act - Listing Threatened Species, Ecological Communities and Key Threatening Processes, Canberra.
Ibid 2007. EPBC Act - Recovery Action for Threatened Species and Ecological Communities, Canberra.
Ibid 2007. EPBC Act - Compliance and Enforcement, Canberra.
Australian Government Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts 2008. Annual Report 2007- 08, Vols. 1 & 2, Canberra.
Early, G. 2008. Australia's national environmental legislation and human/wildlife interactions. Journal of International Wildlife Law & Policy, 11:101-155. doi: 10.1080/13880290802470141
Baker, G.B., Duncan, A. & Montgomery, N (eds) (1999) The Action Plan for Australian Bats. Environment Australia, Canberra.
Environmental Assessment: http://www.environment.gov.au/epbc/assessments/index.html accessed 27/03/09
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