There are several pieces of legislation that apply specifically to the Territory of Heard Island and McDonald Islands (HIMI), which includes the islands and the 12 nautical mile territorial sea.
This legislation includes:
- Heard Island and McDonald Islands Act 1953
- Environment Protection and Management Ordinance 1987
- Criminal Procedures Ordinance 1993
- Weapons Ordinance 2001
Summaries of this legislation and links to the legislation itself are given below.
Heard Island and McDonald Islands Act 1953
The Heard Island and McDonald Islands Act 1953 ratifies Australia’s acceptance from the United Kingdom of sovereignty over the HIMI Territory and provides for the legal regime, including the application to the Territory of:
- Commonwealth laws which expressly apply to the Territory and Commonwealth laws specific to the Territory
- Ordinances made specifically for the Territory (such as those listed below)
- The laws, other than criminal laws, in force from time to time in the Australian Capital Territory in so far as they are applicable and not inconsistent with an Ordinance in force in the Territory
- The criminal laws in force from time to time in the Jervis Bay Territory and not inconsistent with an Ordinance in force in the Territory
The Act also provides for the Governor-General to make ordinances for administration of the islands.
Environment Protection and Management Ordinance 1987
The Environment Protection and Management Ordinance 1987 (the EPMO) provides for protection of the Territory’s environment and its indigenous plants and animals. Obligations arising from the Ordinance include:
- the requirement for a permit to enter the Territory; and
- the requirement for a permit to undertake activities in the Territory which may have a damaging effect on the environment or the indigenous plants and animals.
The EPMO also provides for the appointment of inspectors to deal with breaches of the Ordinance.
Although the HIMI Marine Reserve was declared under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (the EPBC Act), the provisions of the EPMO are generally more tailored to specific conditions of the HIMI Territory's environment than the provisions of the EPBC Act and Regulations.
The HIMI Marine Reserve management plan expressly provides that an activity that is otherwise prohibited by section 354(1) of the EPBC Act, or by the EPBC Regulations, may be carried on in the Territory if authorised by and undertaken in accordance with an EPMO permit. However, the EPBC Act and Regulations prevail over the EPMO to the extent of any inconsistency.
It is intended that the EPMO will be examined to determine whether action should be taken to repeal provisions that have been made redundant by the application to the Territory of the EPBC Act provisions concerning Commonwealth reserves.
Criminal Procedures Ordinance 1993
The Criminal Procedures Ordinance 1993 provides mechanisms for law enforcement in the Territory, including the designation of special constables, who have powers to deal with persons who have breached the laws of the Territory including those laws that carry criminal sanctions.
Weapons Ordinance 2001
The Weapons Ordinance 2001 provides for the implementation of the National Firearms Agreement in the Territory. The Ordinance restricts the possession and use of weapons to approved scientific projects, with some minor exceptions. Storage and registration of weapons is also provided for and a register must be compiled and kept to enable weapons to be traced.