Commonwealth Numbered Regulations - Explanatory Statements

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Issued by the Authority of the Minster for Primary Industries and Energy

Export Control Act 1982

Export Control (Hardwood Wood Chips) (1996) Regulations (Amendment)

The Export Control Act 1982 (the Act) commenced in 1982 in order to provide for the control of the export of certain prescribed goods.

Section 25 of the Act provides that the Governor-General may make regulations for the purpose of the Act. The Export Control (Unprocessed Wood) Regulations, the Export Control (Hardwood Wood Chips) (1996) Regulations (the 1996 Regulations'), and the Export Control (Regional Forest Agreements) Regulations (the 'RFA Regulations') provide necessary support to the Act by prescribing export licensing arrangements for unprocessed wood and woodchips.

The Schedule to the 1996 Regulations (the 'Schedule') previously described eleven forest regions to which both the 1996 Regulations and the RPA Regulations refer. Under the 1996 Regulations, transitional and other export licences are restricted to a specified region or regions, as described in the Schedule. Under the RFA Regulations, export licensing controls on unprocessed wood and woodchips derived from native forests for a specified region, as described in the Schedule, are effectively removed while ever that region is covered by an Regional Forest Agreement ('RFA').

The RFA process is a dynamic one and, over time, the parties found that the original regional boundaries described in the Schedule were not appropriate for some of the regions. For example, the Schedule described the South Region in New South Wales as comprising eight Management Areas. including the Eden Management Areas. The Commonwealth and the New South Wales Governments, however, agreed it was more appropriate to consider the Eden Management Area as a separate RFA region. Minor boundary changes were also agreed between the Commonwealth and Victorian Governments in relation to the Central Highlands, North East and Gippsland Regions in Victoria. Further changes to other region descriptions can be expected over time.

The Export Control (Hardwood Wood Chips) (1996) Regulations (Amendment) (the 'Amendment Regulations') amend the regional descriptions, as agreed above, and incorporate savings provisions which ensure the validity of existing transitional export licences am not affected, except that:

*       the Minister (or delegate) must consider whether to reduce the authorised export mass for a transitional licence if that licence covers a region and an RFA comes into force for part of that region; and

*        any reduction made is not available for re-allocation and is subject to appeal.

Details of the Amendment Regulations are set out below:

Regulation 1 provides that the Amendment Regulations commence on gazettal.

Regulation 2 provides that the 1996 Regulations are amended as set out in the Amendment Regulations

Regulation 3 inserts a new Regulation 12A, to provide for the situation where a transitional licence may have been issued for an old region, but an RFA comes into force. for only part of that region. In such circumstances, the validity of the licence is not affected by the coming into force of the RFA (12A(1)(a)). However, in such a situation, the Minister must decide whether. or to what extent, the authorised export mass under that licence should be reduced (12A(1)(b)). In making that decision the Minister must Consider the need to ensure the reduced authorised mass reasonably reflects the suitability of the remaining areas in the old region not covered by an RFA to supply woodchips; and any other relevant matter (12A(2)).

Any reduction so decided by the Minister does not affect the licence's authorised mass for the purpose of calculating the maximum aggregate mass of woodchips that the Minister may authorise for export under all transitional licences in force in any year under subregulation 10(2) of the 1996 Regulations (12A(3)). This ensures any mass deducted from a transitional licence in accordance with Regulation 12A is not available for re-allocation, as such re-allocation could result in the maximum aggregate mass ceiling imposed under subregulation 10(2)) being effectively avoided.

Regulation 4 amends the Schedule to the 1996 Regulations to reflect the changed description for the Central Highlands, North East and Gippsland Regions of Victoria, together with the descriptions for the new Eden Region in New South Wales.

Regulation 5 amends provisions under Part 7 of the 1996 Regulations - Reconsideration and Review of Decisions - to allow a transitional licence holder to appeal against.(or seek reconsideration of) a decision by the Minister (or delegate, under Regulation 40) in relation to the reduction of the authorised export mass of that licence under Regulation 12A.

The Amendment Regulations commenced upon gazettal.

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