Biodiversity, Wetlands, Evidence, Audits, Admissibility, Taxation, Forests, Inspections, Permits, Standing
The decision of the Minister for the Environment and Water Resources, dated 27 April 2007, refusing approval to the applicant for expanded mining on Christmas Island, which was referred for consideration pursuant to s 68 of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Cth) on 1 November 2001 and identified as EPBC 2001/487, was challenged in the Federal Court by Phosphate Resources Ltd. On 13 October 2008 the court found for Phosphate Resources Ltd and set aside the former minister's decision. Being a judicial review application, the judge was looking for errors in administrative decisions taken by the Minister and his department and found two errors in the way DEWHA had briefed the Minister which fatally flawed the refusal decision and led him to set it aside. The first of those errors lay in the way briefs sent to the Minister addressed (or, in the judge's view, inadequately addressed) the proponent's EIS. The second lay in the way the refusal inadvertently stated it applied to two of the five controlling provisions set in the 2001 controlled action decision on the project (DEWHA filed evidence admitting that the refusal should have only been expressed in terms of three of the controlling provisions).