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ENDANGERED SPECIES PROTECTION REGULATIONS (AMENDMENT) 1997 NO. 134EXPLANATORY STATEMENT
STATUTORY RULES 1997 No. 134
Issued by the authority of the Minister for the Environment
Endangered Species Protection Act 1992
Endangered Species Protection Regulations (Amendment)
Section 176 of the Endangered Species Protection Act (the Act) provides for the making of regulations by the GovernorGeneral.
Under sections 138 and 159 of the Act the Endangered Species Advisory Committee and the Endangered Species Scientific Subcommittee provide advice to the Minister on the operation of the Act.
The purpose of these Regulations is to amend the Endangered Species Protection Regulations which are in force under the Endangered Species Protection Act 1992, to improve the criteria to be considered when nominating an ecological community for listing as endangered.
Schedule 2 of the Endangered Species Protection Act contains a list of ecological communities that are endangered. Section 25 allows for public nomination of an item to be listed, which allows for community consultation in the listing process. Regulation 5 prescribes the descriptive information for ecological communities required to be submitted in a public nomination of an ecological community proposed to be listed under Schedule 2 of the Act.
The Endangered Species Scientific Subcommittee advised the Minister of concerns that the current wording of Paragraph 5 might delay the consideration of nominations for ecological communities in some circumstances and that this could hinder conservation action for the ecological community. Paragraph 5(b) requires a description of the biological and non-biological components of the ecological community and the processes by which these components interact. Paragraph 5(f) requires an estimation of the distribution of the ecological community in 1788. At times the detailed information currently required is not available, either because the detailed studies required may not yet have been undertaken (as in the case of the understanding of the processes by which the biological components of the ecological community interact) or because adequate records may not exist (as in the case of the historical extent of the ecological community). In addition, this information may not be the most relevant information required to assess the conservation status of the nominated ecological community. Finally, as a procedural clarification, there may be no additional criteria specified for the purposes of the definition of "ecological community" in the Act, although the current paragraph 5 (d) requires consideration of such.
By introducing these amendments, the process of public nomination of ecological communities will become clearer and more flexible, and will allow for information required to be submitted with public nominations of ecological communities to be more appropriate for ready assessment by the Endangered Species Scientific Subcommittee. By allowing for more rapid assessment of the conservation status, necessary conservation action will be expedited.
The amendment inserts and substitutes words into subregulations 5 (b), (d) and (f) to allow for nomination of ecological communities where the processes by which their biological and non-biological components are not known and where the past distribution of the community is not well known.
It also inserts words into paragraph 5(d) to allow for the situation where there are no additional criteria specified for the purposes of definition of "ecological community" in subsection 4(1) of the Act.