Protection from environmental nuisance

The information on this page applies from June 2023.

Landholders are protected from environmental nuisance caused by the impacts of resource activities. This applies regardless of whether resource activities are taking place on a landholder's land or nearby.

All resource operators, and everyone in Queensland, have a general environmental duty under the Environmental Protection Act 1994 not to carry out an activity that may cause environmental harm (including environmental nuisance) without taking measures to prevent or minimise the harm.

More information is available about meeting environmental obligations under the Environmental Protection Act.

Environmental authorities

Many resources activities require an environmental authority under the Environmental Protection Act 1994 to operate, in addition to the relevant resource tenure. Learn more about environmentally relevant activities (ERAs).

Environmental authorities issued for these resource activities require that operators do not cause environmental nuisance. They contain conditions to limit activities that may cause environmental nuisance as deemed appropriate for that activity. These conditions may limit or require monitoring of:

  • noise emissions at a sensitive receptor (a place where noise is measured to investigate whether impacts are occurring)
  • dust, odour, light or smoke emissions that may impact a sensitive place (including for example a dwelling, library, childcare centre, medical centre, or a public park).

Environmental authority holders are required to comply with the conditions of their environmental authority.

Alternative arrangements for petroleum activities

Environmental authorities for petroleum activities generally prohibit environmental nuisance, but allow for alternative arrangements to be agreed between the holder of the authority and the person affected, or likely to be affected, by environmental nuisance resulting from the activity.

An alternative arrangement is a written agreement about the way in which a particular nuisance impact will be dealt with at either a sensitive place or sensitive receptor, and may include an agreed period of time for which the arrangement is in place.

An alternative arrangement may include a range of solutions to address the potential environmental nuisance, for example:

  • installing nuisance abatement measures at the sensitive place or sensitive receptor
  • providing alternative accommodation for the duration of the relevant nuisance impact (e.g. during construction)
  • offering monetary compensation.

Making good impacts of resource activities on water bores

Landholders are protected from the impacts of resource activities on their water bores – this applies regardless of whether resource activities are taking place on a landholder's land or nearby.

When a mine pit is dewatered, water levels decline in the surrounding area. In some situations, this may affect private landholder bores. Mining lease holders must 'make good' any impacts on water bores that their activities cause.

This usually involves entering into a 'make good agreement' with the affected water bore owner. Some of the make good measures in the agreement could include:

  • drilling a new bore
  • providing an alternative water supply
  • offering monetary compensation.

Find out more information about make good agreements.

Getting help

If you feel that the amenity of your property is being affected by resource activities, you can contact the operator undertaking the activities. You may be able to come to a solution to resolve the issue.

Alternatively, you can report the environmental nuisance issue to the Department of Environment, Science and Innovation for investigation.

Report an environmental nuisance issue

You can also read more about making enquiries or complaints about mineral and energy resources activities in Queensland.

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