n brief: The first phase of PNG's new environmental regime commenced on 1 December 2014. Senior Associate Ryan Warokra reports on the impact the new legislation will have.

BACKGROUND

Conservation and Environment Protection Authority Act 2014

Towards the end of January 2015, the PNG Government published, in the National Gazette, a notice of commencement of the Conservation and Environment Protection Authority Act. The notice states that the Act commenced on 1 December 2014.

With the commencement of this Act, a new Conservation and Environment Protection Authority (CEPA) has now been created. CEPA will replace the Department of Environment and Conservation as the government agency responsible for administering the Environment Act 2000, the Conservation Areas Act (Chapter 362), the Fauna (Protection and Control) Act (Chapter 154), the International Trade (Fauna and Flora) Act (Chapter 391) and the Crocodile Trade (Protection) Act (Chapter 213).

Environment (Amendment) Act 2014

At the time that the Conservation and Environment Protection Authority Act commenced, Part II of the Environment (Amendment) Act 2014also commenced. Part II of the Environment (Amendment) Act sets out consequential amendments to the Environment Act in connection with the creation of CEPA.

TIMING

Conservation and Environment Protection Authority Act 2014

The Conservation and Environment Protection Authority Act commenced retrospectively on 1 December 2014.

With the commencement of this Act, CEPA has now been created and will take over administration of the Environment Act, the Conservation Areas Act, the Fauna (Protection and Control) Act, the International Trade (Fauna and Flora) Act and the Crocodile Trade (Protection) Act.

Environment (Amendment) Act 2014

As above, Part II of the Environment (Amendment) Act 2014 also commenced retrospectively on 1 December 2014.

The amendments to the Environment Act are set to commence in two phases. First, the consequential amendments in connection with the creation of CEPA, which commenced at the same time as the Conservation and Environment Protection Authority Act; and, second, the more substantial amendments to the Environment Act that relate to the permitting process and the classification of activities.

Timing around the second phase of amendments is still uncertain, as it will depend on the drafting of new regulations.

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR YOU?

The commencement of the Conservation and Environment Protection Authority Act has brought into force consequential amendments to the Environment Act in connection with the creation of CEPA. This means that the Managing Director of CEPA has taken over the roles and functions of the Director of Environment and that CEPA is now the body to which various applications under the Environment Act must be submitted, including environment permit applications. In addition, CEPA will now be able to collect fees and charges under the Environment Act.