Assessment process for environmental authority applications

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

The assessment stages for your application will depend on both the type of application (standard, variation or site-specific) and the environmentally relevant activity.

Read the Approval processes for environmental authorities (ESR/2015/1743) (PDF, 884KB) guideline for more information on assessment stages.

What will the administering authority consider when deciding my application?

Assessment criteria will be applied to your EA application, including:

  • the regulatory requirements
  • standard criteria.

Your application will be assessed on these criteria, and the information you supply in your application.

Regulatory requirements

The regulatory requirements include a series of considerations and environmental objective assessments that an assessing officer must use to determine if your proposal meets the required environmental standards. These considerations are also used to determine the conditions of the EA you must comply with.

The regulatory requirements are specified in chapter 4 of Environmental Protection Regulation 2019.

Standard criteria

In addition to the regulatory requirements, the administering authority must also consider the standard criteria before deciding whether or not to approve your application, and what conditions to apply to your EA.

The standard criteria are specified in the 'definitions' section of the Environmental Protection Act 1994.

Read the Assessment requirements for making a decision for an EA for an environmentally relevant activity guideline (ESR/2015/1725) (PDF, 455KB) for further information on the assessment criteria.

When will I be informed of the decision?

The administering authority will inform you once it has assessed your application.

If your application is approved, you will be issued with an EA, which will contain a set of conditions you will need to comply with.

There may be conditions on your EA that you will need to address before conducting any activities authorised under the EA. For example, the holder of an EA for a resource activity must have an estimated rehabilitation cost decision, and provide scheme assurance (either as a scheme fund contribution or surety under the Mineral and Energy Resources (Financial Provisioning) Act 2018) before commencing activities.

Learn more about complying with your EA, including information about financial assurance and preparing a plan of operations.

What can I do if I disagree with the decision?

The Environmental Protection Act 1994 provides for the right to internal review for certain decisions (an original decision), including a refusal of an application for an EA, and the imposition of conditions. If you are not satisfied with the results of an internal review, there are circumstances when you can appeal the decision in Court. You should submit an application for review of original decision (ESR/2015/1573) (DOC,117KB) in the first instance to have your original decision reviewed.

Read more about the process for internal review and appeal of an EA decision in the Planning and Environment Court or Land Court in the information sheet Internal review and appeals (ESR/2015/1742) (PDF, 487KB).

When does my EA take effect?

The date your EA takes effect ('take effect date' or 'take effect event') depends on the type of activity. An EA cannot take effect before:

You can nominate a take effect date for a prescribed ERA if you don't want to begin your activity immediately. To do this, you must complete the relevant section of your EA application with the effect date you want.

If none of the above apply the EA takes effect on a day or event stated by the administering authority on the EA or if no date is stated, on the day the EA is issued.

Note: For resource activities, an EA will only be approved with a progressive rehabilitation and closure plan (PRC plan) schedule. The proposed PRC plan will be considered concurrently as part of the EA application or, for transitional PRC plans, as though it was submitted as part of an EA application.

It is an offence to carry out an ERA if the EA has not taken effect. Incorrectly claiming that a development permit has been issued or is not required may result in prosecution for operating without an EA and for providing false or misleading information.

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