The draft contracts provide that the decision maker of the state concerned will ask the proponent of a measure to determine the potential effects on the MNES. For the purposes of draft contracts, MNES are defined as the matters listed in Part 3 of the EPBC Act, in accordance with Schedule 1 of the relevant agreements. Prior to the signing of the revised bilateral agreement, NSW`s projects, particularly larger projects approved under the NSW Environmental Planning and Assessment Act of 1979 and the EPBC Act, were evaluated separately by NSW and Australian regulators through various processes. The Australian government has reached a new agreement with New South Wales – Amendment No. 1. It amends the bilateral agreement signed in 2015 (the initial agreement). This agreement was reached pursuant to Section 45 of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act of 1999 (EPBC) (EPBC Act) relating to environmental assessment. The amended bilateral agreement does not include applications under Part 5 of the PEA Act if a TSE is not required, nor are applications for which the authority of approval is vested in the local government. The draft agreements are broadly similar in their structure and in their terms, with some differences applying specifically to the environmental context of each state. These two agreements define in Schedule 1 several categories of measures that do not need to be approved under Part 9 of the EPBC Act. In the NSW, this includes development requiring development authorization, significant public infrastructure, Part 3A transitional projects and licensing measures. In Queensland, the action classes will include an approved resource activity and a reported coordinated project, including actions in whole or in part within the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.
Other amendments are more minor. The bill will allow states and territories to make minor changes to legal procedures, without the need for new accreditation. It also clarifies the question of what happens when a bilateral authorization agreement is suspended or cancelled by ensuring that the Commonwealth can intervene and conclude the authorization process. Municipal councils should refer activities such as removal of local vegetation, changes in natural water flow, or control of weeds and other pests to the federal Minister of the Environment to the federal Minister of the Environment, where activities are likely to have a significant impact on an issue protected by the EPBC Act. EPBC licensees may eventually contribute to the NSW Biodiversity Fund to meet the conditions. On October 16, 2013, the Minister of the Environment announced a three-step framework for the implementation of the government`s policy at headquarters. The framework includes the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (Memorandum of Understanding) with the Commonwealth by each state and territory, which then signed a bilateral evaluation agreement, followed by the approval of a bilateral agreement.