Action item 7.3



Approved by decision makers.
Recommendation implemented.

That the Australian Government amends the EPBC Act to apply the ‘water trigger’ to onshore shale gas development.

Target completion date

Stage 3
To be completed by end December 2021.

Reform area
Safeguarding water and the environment
Project action
Assessing, protecting and monitoring water resources
Lead agency
Department of Environment, Parks and Water Security

Action item update

Implementation progress

The Independent Review of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Cth) (the EPBC Act) was completed in October 2020. The NT Government provided a submission to the Review reiterating its expectation that the Commonwealth review will include a response to Recommendation 7.3.

The review recommended that the ‘water trigger’ be amended to apply only to cross-border water resources. It considered that the application of the trigger to an activity of part of a specific sector to create regulatory inconsistency.

In June 2021, the Commonwealth Government released ‘A pathway for reforming national environmental law’ outlining its proposed initial reform areas. This does not identify any reforms to the ‘water trigger’. The NT Government will continue to liaise with the Commonwealth Government regarding this matter.