Administering authority for environmental authorities

Use our forms and fees finder for information on applying for a new environmental authority (EA) or managing your existing EAs.

The administering authority is the entity that will process, assess and issue your environmental authority (EA). The entity that administers your EA will depend on the environmentally relevant activity (ERA), or combination of ERAs, you are proposing.

Your administering authority can be the:

  • Department of Environment, Science and Innovation (DESI)
  • Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF)
  • local government authority where the ERA will be located.

To find out your administering authority, use our forms and fees finder or check the summary of annual fees for ERAs (ESR/2015/1746) (PDF, 1MB).

Administering authority for resource activities

For resource activities, DESI is always the administering authority and should be contacted for any queries.

For any resource activity, you must submit a tenure application to the Department of Resources before you apply to DESI for an EA. Read more information on making an enquiry and engaging in pre-lodgement for a resource project.

Administering authority for prescribed ERAs

Prescribed ERAs can be administered by DESI, DAF or a local government. Check the ERAs delegated to DAF (ESR/2015/1671) (PDF, 65KB) and the ERAs devolved to local government (ESR/2015/1662) (PDF, 177KB) for more details about when these agencies cannot be the administering authority.

Administering authority for multiple prescribed ERAs

If you are planning to operate multiple prescribed ERAs administered by different authorities, the administering authority will be 1 of the Queensland Government state agencies – usually DESI.

Pre-lodgement meetings involving ERAs also requiring development assessment

There are 2 approval paths for prescribed ERAs. Many prescribed ERAs require concurrence assessment by the state and are identified in schedule 2 of the Environmental Protection Regulation 2019. These concurrence ERAs are identified in column 3 of Schedule 2 with a capital 'C'. A development application for a concurrence ERA is also an application for an EA.

Where a concurrence ERA is a material change of use, a development application is referred to the state for assessment under State Code 22: Environmentally Relevant Activities and the guideline (PDF, 434KB).

Refer to the Queensland Planning System website for more detail on how to prepare and lodge development applications.

The State Assessment and Referral Agency (SARA) is the point of contact for ERAs administered by the state requiring development applications.

For information on how to organise a pre-lodgement meeting, contact your local SARA office.

The department is the point of contact for EAs for ERAs administered by our department (whether integrated with a development application or not).

Pre-lodgement services

Before lodging an application, we strongly encourage you to use the pre-lodgement services offered by your administering authority. This will help you prepare a complete application. Unfortunately, it may not be possible to assess an incomplete application and, in such circumstances, the application will not proceed.

Pre-lodgement services give the administering authority an opportunity to provide advice to prospective applicants on the feasibility of approvals for a project based on early concepts, the application process, expected time frames, and the information that must be included in an application to meet the relevant legislative requirements. Your application will then be assessed more efficiently (as the administering authority will have all the information needed to make a decision).

For more complicated applications, using pre-lodgement services will help your administering authority decide if they need to:

  • nominate and assign a project manager for your application
  • assemble a specialist project team for assessing your application.

If DESI is your administering authority, you can request a pre-lodgement meeting or submit a draft application for written advice by completing and submitting the Application for pre-lodgement services for an environmental authority.

DESI offers pre-lodgement services for all EA related applications under the Environmental Protection Act 1994, including, but not limited to, applications:

  • for a new EA
  • to amend an EA
  • for a new progressive rehabilitation and closure plan (PRC plan)
  • to amend a PRCP schedule
  • for a new estimated rehabilitation cost (ERC) decision
  • to amend an ERC decision
  • for a prescribed ERA, for a decision on, or to amend or discharge financial assurance (FA), especially when applying for a FA discount
  • to amalgamate EAs and/or PRCP schedules
  • for certification of progressive rehabilitation
  • to surrender or partially surrender an EA.

A revised pre-lodgement process for resource projects is currently being trialled and includes a phased pre-lodgement process. To access supporting checklists and agendas for phased pre-lodgement, read the information sheet about pre-lodgement checklists (ESR/2023/6441) (DOCX, 244KB).

To apply, use the application for pre-lodgement services (ESR/2015/1664 and ESR/2023/6440). Read more information on making an enquiry and engaging in pre-lodgement for a resource.

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