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ENVIRONMENT PROTECTION AND BIODIVERSITY CONSERVATION ACT 1999 - SECT 305

Minister may enter into conservation agreements

             (1)  The Minister may, on behalf of the Commonwealth, enter into an agreement (a conservation agreement ) with a person for the protection and conservation of all or any of the following:

                     (a)  biodiversity in the Australian jurisdiction;

                     (b)  the world heritage values of a declared World Heritage property in the Australian jurisdiction;

                     (c)  the National Heritage values of a National Heritage place;

                     (d)  the Commonwealth Heritage values of a Commonwealth Heritage place (whether inside or outside the Australian jurisdiction);

                     (e)  the ecological character of a declared Ramsar wetland in the Australian jurisdiction;

                      (f)  the environment, in respect of the impact of a nuclear action in the Australian jurisdiction;

                     (g)  the environment in a Commonwealth marine area in the Australian jurisdiction;

                    (ga)  a water resource, in respect of the impact of an action involving coal seam gas development or large coal mining development in the Australian jurisdiction;

                     (h)  the environment on Commonwealth land in the Australian jurisdiction.

Note:          Conservation agreements cannot cover all or part of a Commonwealth reserve (see subsection 305(4)).

          (1A)  The protection and conservation of the matters in subsection (1) include all or any of the following:

                     (a)  the protection, conservation and management of any listed species or ecological communities, or their habitats;

                     (b)  the management of things in a way necessary for the protection and conservation of:

                              (i)  the world heritage values of a declared World Heritage property; or

                             (ii)  the National Heritage values of a National Heritage place; or

                            (iii)  the Commonwealth Heritage values of a Commonwealth Heritage place; or

                            (iv)  the ecological character of a declared Ramsar wetland; or

                             (v)  the environment, in respect of the impact of a nuclear action; or

                            (vi)  the environment in a Commonwealth marine area; or

                          (via)  a water resource, in respect of the impact of an action involving coal seam gas development or large coal mining development; or

                           (vii)  the environment on Commonwealth land;

                     (c)  the abatement of processes, and the mitigation or avoidance of actions, that might adversely affect:

                              (i)  biodiversity; or

                             (ii)  the world heritage values of a declared World Heritage property; or

                            (iii)  the National Heritage values of a National Heritage place; or

                            (iv)  the Commonwealth Heritage values of a Commonwealth Heritage place; or

                             (v)  the ecological character of a declared Ramsar wetland; or

                            (vi)  the environment, in respect of the impact of a nuclear action; or

                           (vii)  the environment in a Commonwealth marine area; or

                         (viia)  a water resource, in respect of the impact of an action involving coal seam gas development or large coal mining development; or

                          (viii)  the environment on Commonwealth land.

Note:          When the Minister is considering entering into a conservation agreement, the Minister must take into account any responsibilities of other Commonwealth Ministers that may be affected by the agreement.

             (2)  However, the Minister must not enter into a conservation agreement unless satisfied that:

                     (a)  in the case of a proposed agreement wholly or partly for the protection and conservation of biodiversity--the agreement:

                              (i)  will result in a net benefit to the conservation of biodiversity; and

                             (ii)  is not inconsistent with a recovery plan, threat abatement plan or wildlife conservation plan; and

                     (b)  in the case of a proposed agreement wholly or partly for the protection and conservation of heritage values--the agreement:

                              (i)  will result in a net benefit to the conservation of those heritage values; and

                             (ii)  is not inconsistent with at least one of the Australian World Heritage management principles, the National Heritage management principles and the Commonwealth Heritage management principles; and

                     (c)  in the case of a proposed agreement wholly or partly for the protection and conservation of the ecological character of a declared Ramsar wetland--the agreement:

                              (i)  will result in a net benefit to the conservation of that ecological character; and

                             (ii)  is not inconsistent with the Australian Ramsar management principles; and

                     (d)  in the case of a proposed agreement wholly or partly for the protection and conservation of the environment, in respect of the impact nuclear actions--the agreement does not relate to the construction or operation of any of the following nuclear installations:

                              (i)  a nuclear fuel fabrication plant;

                             (ii)  a nuclear power plant;

                            (iii)  an enrichment plant;

                            (iv)  a reprocessing facility; and

                     (e)  in the case of a proposed agreement wholly or partly for the protection and conservation of the environment in a Commonwealth marine area--the agreement will result in a net benefit to the conservation of the environment in that area; and

                    (ea)  in the case of a proposed agreement wholly or partly for the protection and conservation of a water resource, in respect of the impacts of actions involving coal seam gas development or large coal mining development--the agreement will result in a net benefit to the conservation of the water resource; and

                      (f)  in the case of a proposed agreement wholly or partly for the protection and conservation of the environment on Commonwealth land--the agreement will result in a net benefit to the conservation of the environment on that land.

             (3)  For the purposes of subsection (2), in deciding whether a proposed agreement will result in a net benefit to the conservation as mentioned in paragraph (2)(a), (b), (c), (e) or (f), the Minister must have regard to the matters (if any) prescribed by the regulations.

          (3A)  If:

                     (a)  the Minister is considering whether to enter into a proposed conservation agreement that is wholly or partly for the protection and conservation of biodiversity; and

                     (b)  the agreement would or could affect a particular listed threatened species or listed threatened ecological community;

the Minister must, in deciding whether to enter into the agreement, have regard to any approved conservation advice for the species or community.

             (4)  A conservation agreement must not cover all or part of a Commonwealth reserve.

             (5)  Under subsection (1), the Minister may enter into a conservation agreement covering land with one of the following persons who has a usage right relating to the land:

                     (a)  an indigenous person;

                     (b)  a body corporate wholly owned by indigenous persons;

                     (c)  a body corporate established by or under an Act for the purposes of holding for the benefit of indigenous persons land vested in it by or under that Act;

                     (d)  the trustee of a trust that holds land for the benefit of indigenous persons.

This does not limit subsection (1).

             (6)  The Minister must take account of the following when entering into a conservation agreement that is wholly or partly for the protection and conservation of biodiversity as described in subsection (5):

                     (a)  paragraph (j) of Article 8 of the Biodiversity Convention;

                     (b)  paragraph (c) of Article 10 of the Biodiversity Convention;

                     (c)  paragraph 4 of Article 18 of the Biodiversity Convention;

                     (d)  objective 1.8.2 of the National Strategy for the Conservation of Australia's Biological Diversity, published by the Commonwealth in 1996.



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