As of the 1st October 2016, the Department of the Environment and Energy (DotEE) has revised the cost recovery of environmental assessments under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act) and this will reduce the cost of approvals for many projects. Your savings will depend on the quality of work prepared by your environmental consultant.
The cost recovery changes have resulted in a number of cost reductions and changes that will affect a range of projects impacting on Matters of National Environmental Significance (MNES) such as Black Cockatoos. Details on the revised cost recovery under the EPBC Act can be found in the Cost Recovery Implementation Statement 2016-17.
We have summarised the key changes for you here:
- Reduced base fees;
- Fees for additional contingent activities;
- Significant changes to complexity fees; and
- Changes to the proportions of base and complexity fees paid at each stage.
A comparison of the changes to the base fees is shown below:
* Complexity fees are determined on a case by case basis.
Some key changes to complexity fees include:
- Slightly increased complexity fees for assessing MNES;
- Increased complexity fees for coordination with other legislation e.g. for assessments conducted outside a bilateral agreement process; and
- Substantially reduced complexity fees for ‘adequacy and clarity of information’ for higher complexity projects (>50% saving).
Under the new cost recovery changes, provision of higher quality work to the DotEE will result in a faster and more cost effective approvals process, ie. Less chance of: ‘stop the clock’ delays; fees for contingent activities; and complexity fees for unclear or inadequate information.
We look forward to continuing to assist our clients with the EPBC assessment process.