Environmental impact assessment of 'coordinated projects' in Queensland
A proponent of a proposed major project in Queensland may apply to the Coordinator-General to have its project declared a 'coordinated project' under Part 4 of the State Development and Public Works Organisation Act 1971 (SDPWO Act).
To be eligible for a coordinated project declaration, a project must have one or more of the following characteristics:
- complex approval requirements, imposed by a local government, the state or the Commonwealth
- significant environmental effects
- strategic significance to a locality, region or the state, including for the infrastructure, economic and social benefits, capital investment or employment opportunities it may provide
- significant infrastructure requirements.
When a project is declared 'coordinated', it triggers the requirement for a rigorous environmental impact assessment process to be undertaken; and the proponent must prepare an environmental impact statement (EIS) or an impact assessment report (IAR).
The Office of the Coordinator-General assists proponents through complex government processes by facilitating assessment by local, state and federal government agencies and managing public notification of the EIS or IAR and other related documentation.
While a coordinated project is undergoing an environmental impact assessment, the following are suspended:
- Integrated Development Assessment System (IDAS) approvals process – under the Sustainable Planning Act 2009
- approvals processes under other relevant Acts.
This suspension remains in place until the Coordinator-General's report on the EIS or IAR is completed and sent to the IDAS assessment manager and other assessment managers for their consideration. The report will recommend approval (with conditions) or rejection of the project.
The Coordinator-General's report on the EIS or IAR is not an approval in itself. The conditions of approval stated in the report only gain legal effect when they are attached to an approval given under other specific legislation. The Coordinator-General can also impose conditions on a project in the absence of a relevant approval regime; and these conditions do not need to be attached to a later approval to be given effect.
As part of the environmental impact assessment process, the public, councils and state government agencies are invited to make submissions on the project's draft EIS or IAR. Advisory agencies, councils and, on occasion, the public may also be invited to comment or make submissions on:
Application process for project proponents
Before lodging an application for a 'coordinated project' declaration, project proponents are encouraged to schedule a pre-lodgement meeting with the Office of the Coordinator-General.
Fees apply to coordinated projects and to changes to projects that have been subject to a Coordinator-General's assessment report.
State government approvals
Once a 'coordinated project' receives a Coordinator-General's recommendation for approval, project proponents must obtain subsequent approvals for their projects – for example, an environmental authority (EA) under the Environmental Protection Act 1994.
Australian Government approvals
If a project has the potential to have a significant impact on a matter of national environmental significance, the project proponent must refer it to the Commonwealth Minister for the Environment, who administers the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act).
If an environmental impact assessment of a controlled action is required, the assessment may be conducted under the Bilateral Assessment Agreement (PDF, 3.08MB) between the Queensland and Australian governments. This eliminates unnecessary duplication.
If the project is assessed under the bilateral agreement, the Coordinator-General's evaluation report is submitted to the Commonwealth Minister for an approval decision under the EPBC Act.
- Last reviewed: 2 Sep 2016
- Last updated: 2 Sep 2016