On 1 October 2016, new changes to the EPBC Act cost recovery fees came into effect. Cost recovery fees were introduced two years ago in line with the Australia Government’s Cost Recovery Guidelines which establishes that those who create the need for regulation should incur the costs, rather than the costs being borne by the wider community. A recent review of departmental processes identified that efficiency gains should result in a reduction of fees for a number of activities1.
The diagram below shows the overall phases of the environmental impact assessment process followed under the EPBC Act.
|The Referral phase is subject to a flat fee of $6,577 (down from $7,352). Any project which is likely to have or will have a significant impact on one or more Matters of National Environment Significance (MNES) must go through this phase.|
|Unless the outcome of the Referral phase is that the proposed action is not a controlled action then the next step is the Assessment phase.
The Assessment phase can follow one of six methods depending on the scale, complexity and potential impacts of a proposed project; these are:
Each method attracts a different Base Fee as well as a Complexity Fee which will be calculated on the basis of the number of MNES involved and the complexity of the potential impacts to them. The Base Fees are:
The Cost Recovery Implementation Statement 2016-17 contains a matrix of the complexity fee calculations. As an example, a moderate complexity fee of $6,742 is applied in the case of:
At the other end of the scale, a very high complexity fee of $48,931 applies when:
Fees for assessment by public inquiry or by strategic assessment will be determined by the Minister on a case by case basis, in consultation with the person taking the action or the person responsible for the policy, plan or program, as applicable.2
|There are no fees associated with the Approval phase.|
|A contingent fee of $2,690 applies for the evaluation of a new Action Management Plan.|
Contingent fees also apply for example for requests for additional information or the evaluation of variations to the proposed action or conditions, etc.
For more information, you can visit the EPBC website links provided in the article or for a quicker answer to any questions, feel free to contact us. It’s free.
- Fact Sheet “What are the key changes to cost recovery for environmental assessments under the EPBC Act?”, Australian Government, Department of the Environment and Energy, Oct 2016, https://www.environment.gov.au/epbc/cost-recovery, accessed 03/11/2016
- Fact Sheet “Overview of Cost Recovery – Frequently Asked Questions”, Australian Government, Department of the Environment and Energy, Oct 2016, https://www.environment.gov.au/epbc/cost-recovery, accessed 03/11/2016