Posted on November 20, 2020 by Elaine Yeo and Carlo Zoppo

COVID-19 – Investigations via AVL

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, a number of Acts were amended to enable authorised officers and investigation officers to take evidence and answers to questions by audio link or audio visual link. Those provisions were repealed on 13 November 2020.

On 20 November 2020, new clauses have been inserted into the regulations to extend the provisions to 26 March 2021.

The new clauses permit investigation officers and authorised officers to authorise a person to answer questions using audio link or audio visual link of a kind approved by the officer, rather than attend at a specified place and time.

If audio link or audio visual link is to be used, the person answering questions must ensure the technology is operated appropriately, so that the answers given are clear to the officer.

The following clauses have been inserted into these regulations:

  • clause 298 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulation 2000. The clause applies if under under s9.23(3) of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979, an investigation officer issues a written notice to a person to require the person to answer questions.
  • clause 74 of the Crown Land Management Regulation 2018. The clause applies if under s10.23(4) of the Crown Land Management Act 2016, an authorised officer issues a written notice to a person to require the person to answer questions.
  • clause 12.2 of the Biodiversity Conservation Regulation 2017. The clause applies if under s12.19(4) of the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016, an authorised officer issues a written notice to a person to require the person to answer questions.
  • clause 260 of theĀ Water Management (General) Regulation 2018. This clause applies if under s338B(4) of the Water Management Act 2000, an authorised officer issues a written notice to a person to require the person to answer questions.

We previously wrote a blog about the amendment to the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 here.

If you have any questions about the operation of these provisions, please contact Elaine Yeo on 02 8235 9712 or Carlo Zoppo, Partner on 8235 9705.