Authorisation to modify a threatened ecological community
When and how to apply for authorisation to modify a threatened ecological community under section 45 of the Biodiversity Conservation 2016 Act.
Threatened ecological communities (TECs) are ecological communities that are listed in the following categories under section 27 of the Biodiversity Conservation 2016 Act (BC Act):
- critically endangered, or
- endangered, or
The Minister lists an ecological community as a threatened ecological community when it is facing risk of becoming eligible for listing as a collapsed ecological community and when deciding whether or not to list, must have regard only to matters relating to the survival of the ecological community. The guidelines can be found on the Nominations for listing (and delisting) of threatened plants, animals and ecological communities page.
What is modification?
'Modify', in relation to an occurrence of a TEC under section 44 of the BC Act, means to take action that results in:
- the modification of the occurrence of the TEC to such an extent that the occurrence is unlikely to recover:
- its species composition or structure; or
- its species composition and structure; or
- the destruction of the occurrence of the TEC.
Modification results from an impact that will permanently alter the species composition and/or the structure of, or will destroy, the occurrence of the TEC.
Do I need to apply for authorisation to modify a threatened ecological community?
Yes, under the provisions of the BC Act, significant penalties (up to $500,000 for individuals and $2.5 million for bodies corporate) may apply where a TEC is modified without authorisation. Under section 45 of the BC Act the Minister may authorise a person to modify an occurrence of a TEC.
A guidance note, available below, provides advice on completing an application for an authorisation under the BC Act to modify an occurrence of a TEC. The guidance note is intended to assist people to undertake a self-assessment to decide whether a proposed action is likely to modify an occurrence of a TEC. It contains the information about what modification is, and what information is required to apply for an authorisation. The Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions (DBCA) is responsible for reviewing and administering applications for authorisation to modify TECs.
When is an authorisation not required?
- Clause 3: Existing authorities to modify occurrence of threatened ecological community
This clause exempts landowners and occupiers from requiring an authority to modify a TEC under section 48 of the BC Act where an existing authority is already in force when this section of the Act comes into operation. Activities must be carried out in accordance with conditions to which the existing authority is subject, and any clearing permit required under the Environmental Protection Act 1986 must be obtained.
- Clause 7: Bush fire mitigation and suppression activities
This clause was added to the Biodiversity Conservation (Exemptions) Order 2018 following gazettal of the Biodiversity Conservation (Exemptions) Amendment Order 2021. It exempts landowners and occupiers who are undertaking specified bushfire mitigation activities on land not managed by DBCA from the requirement for an authorisation to modify a threatened ecological community under section 48 of the BC Act under certain conditions.
For more information see Fire information notes
You can read these clauses in full by downloading the Biodiversity Conservation (Exemptions) Order 2018 from the Parliamentary Counsel’s Office website.
To apply for authorisation to modify a TEC, the following form must be submitted: (Available in the downloads section below)
There are no fees associated with applying for an authorisation to modify a TEC.
Please submit completed authorisation forms in electronic format by email to email@example.com.
Alternatively, forward a hard copy form to:
Species and Communities Program – Assessment
Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions
Locked Bag 104
BENTLEY DELIVERY CENTRE WA 6983