Policy adopted 24 May 2017
This policy has been created to:
- establish a consistent process for responding to applications to undertake military training activities
- establish a single point of contact in the ADF as the conduit for all applications to OEH
- ensure that the nature of appropriate activities is clearly communicated to the ADF
- minimise the impact on the environment and on other users of parks that would result from ADF training activities
- ensure that OEH recovers all costs associated with ADF training activities in parks.
Scope and application
This policy applies to all training activities undertaken by the ADF on lands acquired or reserved under National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974 (‘parks’).
Note: provisions in this policy may be overridden where:
- existing interests under section 39 of the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974 (the NPW Act) apply
- other overriding legislation takes precedence (for example, clause 49 (1) of the Defence Force Regulations 1952).
Under the National Parks and Wildlife Regulation 2009 (the NPW Regulation), consent is required for any ADF training activity to occur in parks.
Many of the ADF training activities require isolated natural areas. ADF training activities occur to some extent in all park regions. Activities include abseiling, rock climbing, canoeing, navigation, bushwalking, orienteering and skiing.
The ADF may volunteer to undertake park-management works for the purposes of training (for example, constructing or demolishing structures). Generally these works are undertaken in conjunction with OEH staff.
The Snowy Mountains Region and Sydney Harbour National Park have been identified by the ADF as presenting unique and essential areas for certain types of ADF training. The significance of these areas relates to environmental conditions and also, in regard to Sydney Harbour National Park, the location in relation to potential military or terrorist targets. This policy provides scope for a more sophisticated level of training activities to be undertaken in parks in these areas. All proposals should be considered on a case-by-case basis. All types of training activity are subject to all the provisions of this policy.
Relevant legislation or other mandating instruments
Legislation and/or mandating instruments that this policy supports are:
Defence Act 1903 and Defence Force Regulations 1952 (Commonwealth)
The statutory basis for the ADF is the Commonwealth Defence Act 1903 (Defence Act).
Section 69 of the Defence Act, which allowed the ADF access to any lands with the authority of the Governor-General, has been repealed. Section 69 requires the ADF to obtain consent for training activities on park. These repealed powers have been replaced by similar powers under clauses 49 and 51 of the Defence Force Regulations 1952, which allow the Commonwealth to declare Defence Practice Areas. Where activities in these areas are considered unlawful by state legislation, but are inconsistent with provisions under Commonwealth legislation, the Commonwealth legislation will prevail (section 109 of the Australian Constitution).
National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974 (NPW Act)
The NPW Act sets out the management principles and objectives for park categories, and provides for the acknowledgement of existing interests.
National Parks and Wildlife Regulation 2009 (NPW Regulation)
Consent is required under part 2 of the NPW Regulation for a number of activities that may be included in ADF training activities.
Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (EP&A Act)
Under part 5 of the EP&A Act, OEH must consider the environmental impact of all activities that occur in parks.
ADF means the Australian Defence Force.
Park means a national park, historic site, state conservation area, regional park, nature reserve, karst conservation reserve or Aboriginal area, or any land acquired by the Minister under Part 11 of the Act, and includes all roads and waters within the boundaries of any such park, site, area, reserve or land.
Park authority is defined under the NPW Act.
Accountabilities under this policy are in accordance with the delegation of Ministerial and Director-General functions under the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974 and National Parks and Wildlife Regulation 2009.