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Key decisions

  • Australian Brumby Alliance Inc v Parks Victoria Inc [2020] FCA 605
  • National Disability Insurance Agency v WRMF [2020] FCAFC 79
  • Registered Organisations Commissioner v Communications, Electrical, Energy, Information, Postal, Plumbing and Allied Services Union of Australia [2020] FCA 96

Administrative law and environmental law

EPBC Act litigation – whether removal of brumbies from Alpine National Park should be restrained

In Australian Brumby Alliance Inc v Parks Victoria Inc [2020] FCA 605 (8 May 2020) a community group (‘ABA’) sued Parks Victoria in the Federal Court seeking relief under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Cth) (‘EPBC Act’) to prevent Parks Victoria taking its proposed action to trap and remove brumbies from the Bogong High Plains and the Eastern Alps within Victoria’s Alpine National Park without Commonwealth approval (‘the Action’). The ABA alleged that Parks Victoria’s Action would constitute a contravention of ss 15B(5) and 15C(10) of the EPBC Act and sought an injunction under s 475 of that Act. Given the similarity of issues arising under ss 15B (a civil penalty provision) and 15C (a criminal offence), the case proceeded by reference to s 15B. Having regard to the terms of ss 15B(5) and (6), the two main questions were:

(a) Would the Action, if taken, be likely to have a significant impact on the National Heritage values of the Australian Alps?

(b) Is the prohibition of the Action appropriate and adapted to give effect to Australia’s obligations under Article 8 of the Biodiversity Convention?

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