These regulations are made under the Environmental Management and Pollution Control Act 1994 (EMPCA). They prescribe the fees charged under EMPCA. The objectives of the regulations are to recover the costs of environmental regulation of activities that have the potential to cause serious or material environmental harm in an efficient and equitable manner and to provide an economic incentive to reduce pollution consistent with the polluter pays principle.
Fees prescribed are:
- annual permit fees for environmentally relevant activities;
- fees for environmental assessments conducted by the EPA Board;
- fees for environmental improvement programmes;
- fees for environment protection notices; and
- miscellaneous fees.
The annual fee structure consists of two parts: a fixed component and a variable fee component. This fee structure aims to improve cost recovery and to encourage permit holders to take greater responsibility for environmental management.
A partial remission of annual fees is available to eligible permit holders that have a sound compliance record and meet certain other requirements, in accordance with regulations 9 and 10 of the General Fees Regulations. Requirements for fee remissions are described in the Annual Fee Remission Guidelines.
The regulations are available online at Tasmania’s The Law website.
Provisions of the General Fees Regulations include:
- the requirement to pay annual fees for the operation of environmentally relevant activities as defined under EMPCA. This includes:
- level 1 activities that have been called-in for assessment by the Director of the EPA;
- level 2 activities which require a planning permit;
- level 3 activities which are considered projects of State significance; and
- any other activity that the Director has assessed as posing a significant risk of causing serious or material environmental harm and that has been granted permission to operate providing that environmental conditions are applied.
- The requirement to pay fees for the environment impact assessment of environmentally relevant activities listed above.
- The requirement to pay fees for other instruments set out in EMPCA that seek to prevent, reduce or remediate environmental harm. This includes:
- Environmental Protection Notices
- Environmental Improvement Programmes
- Contaminated Site Notices
- Miscellaneous Fees.
The Annual Fee Remission Guidelines describe the requirements of the Board in relation to annual fee remissions. The Guidelines also describe the various sub-categories of remission, the application process, requirements for continuing eligibility after a remission has been granted, and circumstances under which a remission may be revoked.
A public register of current annual fee remissions granted under regulations 9 and 10 of the General Fees Regulations is maintained by the EPA.
Fees for EMPCA were initially prescribed in the Environmental Management and Pollution Control (General Fees) Regulations 1995 and Environmental Management and Pollution Control (Environmental Improvement Programme) Regulations 1994.
In 1998 EMPCA was reviewed under the Legislation Review Program (LRP). One of the review’s recommendations was for further examination of the structure and purpose of the fees charged under EMPCA. This review included significant consultation with stakeholder groups and the public during 2000 to 2005.
The Subordinate Legislation Act 1992 (SLA) provides for the automatic repeal of subordinate legislation after 10 years. It also requires that all subordinate legislation be assessed before its introduction. This is to ensure that any impacts it may have, on any sector of the public, have been properly identified and can justified to be in the public interest and return a net benefit to the State.
The 2007 regulations updated the fee structure. A Regulatory Impact Statement was released for public comment in June 2007 to explain the purpose of the regulations and to describe their likely impact on industry, government and the community.
In November 2007 amendments were made to EMPCA that required amendments to the General Fees regulations. These amendments to the regulations came into effect in December 2009 and included:
- the power to charge environmental assessment fees once a Notice of Intent has been lodged;
- the power to recover the costs and expenses associated with contaminated site notices;
- the removal of racing and testing venues and laundries from schedule 1 of the regulations; and
- the addition of the following two activities to schedule 1 of the regulations:
- resource recovery activities (compost production and application of biosolids to land); and
- a second tier of wind generating facilities (so that smaller facilities are not assessed and charged as larger facilities).
A new Part 7 was included so that the EPA Board had the power to issue guidelines for the granting of exemptions for the payment of fees.