Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act)

The EPBC Act enables the Australian Government to join with the states and territories in providing a national scheme of environment and heritage protection and biodiversity conservation.

The EPBC Act is designed as a means of protecting a defined set of ‘protected matters’, including cultural heritage where it is of national significance, through assessment and approvals processes.

Decision making power sits with the Minister for the Environment (or their delegate). The EPBC Act focuses Australian Government interests on the protection of matters of national environmental significance, with the states and territories having responsibility for matters of state and local significance.

  • has Australia-wide application, including Australian maritime territory
  • recognises natural, Indigenous and historic heritage
  • provides for conservation and protection of aspects recognised as ‘matters of national environmental significance’,
  • provides for Australian World Heritage, National Heritage, and Commonwealth Heritage.
  • heritage was included through 2003 amendments and repeal of the Australian Heritage Commission Act 1975.