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On 26 February 2015, the Commonwealth and NSW Governments signed an assessment under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016 (EPBC Act) relating to environmental assessment.


The Bilateral Agreement commits the NSW Government to:

  • Undertake an assessment of impact to matters of national environmental significance (MNES) through the NSW Assessment process
  • Provide clear recommendations and consideration of the legal requirements for decision making under the EPBC Act in the NSW State Assessment Report


The Bilateral Agreement also extends to applications made under Part 5 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (EP&A Act), as well as development applications on key sites and infrastructure of State significance where the Minister for Planning is the consent authority.


The assessment bilateral agreement requires a review of the objects of the agreement to identify if they were being achieved after 12 months of operation. As limited projects had been assessed under the agreement in the first 12 months of operation, a Transitional Review was undertaken by the Commonwealth to review 24 months of operation. The Review was published in August by the Commonwealth and details the success of the agreement, along with areas where the agreement’s operation could be improved. View the Transitional Review here.


The Commonwealth Government has published a Notice of Intent to develop a new bilateral agreement with the NSW Government that will take account of recent legislative change in New South Wales, namely the commencement of the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016. The current bilateral agreement remains operational and will continue to be used for projects that are being assessed under the transitional arrangements under the Biodiversity Conservation Act.


More information about the bilateral agreement and the EPBC Act is available on the Commonwealth Department of Environment and Energy’s website.


Page last updated: 24/05/2018