Change or amend an environmental authority
Use our forms and fees finder for information on applying for a new environmental authority (EA) or managing your existing EAs.
Read additional information on environmentally relevant activity (ERA) 13A – Commercial cropping and horticulture in the Great Barrier Reef catchment.
As the holder of an EA, you may wish to amend your EA from time to time. Amending an EA may involve changes to conditions or adding new activities to an operation.
In some situations, the administering authority may also wish to amend your EA.
Follow the processes below to amend your EA (including changing the anniversary day or applying for new standard conditions).
Application to amend an EA
You can apply to amend your EA at any time.
An amendment may be:
- a minor amendment, including
- converting all your EA conditions to standard conditions where you can meet all the eligibility criteria for standard conditions
- other minor amendments
- a major amendment.
To amend an EA where the Department of Environment and Science (DES) is your administering authority (the organisation that issued your original EA), you can:
- for an ERA other than ERA 13A, complete the EA amendment and pay the application fee by credit card online through Online Services
- for ERA 13A, complete the form Application to amend an EA for ERA 13A – Commercial cropping and horticulture in the Great Barrier Reef (ESR/2021/5615) (DOCX, 227KB) and submit to DES using the details provided on the form
- for any other ERA, complete an Application to amend an environmental authority (ESR/2015/1733) (DOCX, 198KB) and submit the application form, any supporting material and the application fee to DES using the postal details provided on the form.
Note: If approval of the amendment application for an EA would result in the EA being inconsistent with the relevant PRCP schedule, you must use the form Application to amend a PRCP schedule or joint PRCP schedule and environmental authority (ESR/2019/4956) (DOCX, 299KB) to amend both the EA and the PRCP schedule.
If the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF) is your administering authority, complete an Application to amend an environmental authority (ESR/2015/1733) (DOCX, 198KB) and submit the application form, any supporting material and the application fee to DAF, using the details provided on the form.
If your administering authority is DES or DAF, your application fee will be $355.30. Where an assessment level decision determines that the application is for a major amendment, an additional assessment fee is also payable. For ERA 13A – Commercial cropping and horticulture in the Great Barrier Reef catchment, the assessment fee for a major amendment is $219.20. For all other ERAs, the assessment fee for a major amendment is 30% of the annual fee (this is the annual fee for the EA before it has been amended). You can find more information on this fee below.
If your administering authority is a local government, contact the local government for details on the forms and fees that apply to your application.
Read the guideline Major and minor amendments (ESR/2015/1684) (PDF, 653KB) for more information on the difference between major and minor amendments.
We encourage you to arrange a pre-lodgement meeting with your administering authority to work out if your application is for a minor or major amendment. If your administering authority is DES, complete and submit the application form Application for pre-lodgement services (ESR/2015/1664) (DOCX, 183KB) to the details provided on the form. If your administering authority is DAF, email email@example.com to arrange a pre-lodgement meeting.
If your amendment is approved and a higher annual fee now applies to your EA, you must also pay a supplementary annual fee. You can find more information on this fee below.
The activity that the amendment would authorise may not be allowable under the existing development permit. If so, you may need to change the conditions of the development permit or make a new development application.
If the amendment requires a development application under the Planning Act 2016, then you must make that application first. The amended EA cannot commence until the development permit takes effect.
Contact your local government and the Department of State Development, Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning (DSDILGP) to find out if you need to apply for a development approval before applying to change your EA. If the activity is in a port area, you will need to contact the relevant port authority.
Complete an amendment application form
To complete the amendment application form you will need to supply certain details regarding your proposed amendment (e.g. technical assessments of the impacts of the change on environmental values).
For more information on how to determine the impact on environmental values refer to the relevant technical guidelines.
'Properly made' amendment applications
You must address the applicable information requirements under chapter 5, part 7, division 2 of the Environmental Protection Act 1994. Where an amendment application does not meet these requirements, it will not be 'properly made'. The amendment application form provides prompts for applicants to address these matters. Where an amendment application does not meet these requirements, the administering authority will give you a notice to:
- explain why and in what ways they consider your application to be deficient
- explain what action you should take to address these matters
- inform how long you have to do these things.
If you do not take the action required and have given written notice to the administering authority that the action has been taken then your application will lapse and be returned to you without assessment.
Amendment application process
The process for amending your EA depends on the magnitude of your proposed change.
After receiving your application, the administering authority will make a decision whether your proposal is a minor or major amendment (an assessment level decision) and notify you of this decision and the assessment process that your amendment application will go through, within 10 business days. If a 'not properly' made notice is issued the assessment level decision will be made within 10 business days after you have provided written notice of your response. If your application is for a 'condition conversion' it will automatically be treated as a minor amendment.
If your proposal is a major amendment, the assessment fee (mentioned above) is payable once notification of the assessment level decision is issued. The assessment fee must be paid before the assessment of the amendment application can proceed.
The administering authority must assess a minor amendment within 10 business days of notifying you of the assessment level decision or, if the applicant agrees to extend the period by no more than 20 business days, within the extended period. If an assessment level decision is not needed because your application is for a 'condition conversion', your application will be assessed within 10 business days from when we receive it.
A major amendment goes through a process similar to the application for an EA. This process does not normally include public notification, however, an application for a major amendment of an EA may trigger public notification if the amendment is for a resource activity and the administering authority decides:
- the amendment is likely to lead to a substantial increase in the risk of environmental harm under the amended EA
- the risk is the result of a substantial change in:
- the quantity or quality of contaminant permitted to be released to the environment
- the results of the release of a quantity or quality of contaminant permitted to be released into the environment.
Also, the notification stage may apply to an application if any parts of the application is for a mining activity relating to a new mining lease.
Once your amendment application has been assessed, the administering authority will notify you of its decision. If the amendment is approved, your EA will be updated to reflect the changes.
Supplementary annual fee
If amending your EA results in an annual fee being payable that is higher than the annual fee payable prior to the amendment, then the difference between these fees (the supplementary annual fee) must be paid for the remainder of the licensing year from when the amendment takes effect.
The supplementary annual fee is payable to your administering authority within 20 business days after your amendment application is approved. For example, this would apply if the amendment was to add a new non-concurrence environmentally relevant activity (ERA), which has a higher annual fee than the existing ERA.
For more information on how your administering authority will calculate the supplementary annual fee, refer to the fee calculator (ESR/2015/1731) (XLSX, 74KB).
Conversion application for new standard conditions
If you are the holder of an eligible ERA for which standard conditions have been made, you may wish to make an application for a 'condition conversion'. To do this you should make an amendment application to convert all your EA conditions to standard conditions and submit it to your administering authority. These applications are assessed within 10 business days of being received.
To be eligible for this application you must also ensure you can meet the eligibility criteria and standard conditions developed for the activity. Check the list of activities suitable for standard applications to see if your activity is suitable and has standard conditions developed.
If DES is your administering authority, you can make a conversion application by:
- completing the amendment application online through Online Services and paying the $355.30 application fee by credit card
- completing the form Application to amend an environmental authority (ESR/2015/1733) (DOCX, 198KB) and submitting it with any supporting material and a cheque or money order for the $355.30 application fee to DES, using the details provided on the form.
If DAF is your administering authority, complete the form Application to amend an environmental authority (ESR/2015/1733) (DOCX, 198KB) and submit with any supporting material and the $355.30 application fee to DAF, using the details provided on the form.
Eligibility criteria and standard conditions do not apply to ERAs administered by local government. So this type of application cannot be made for ERAs administered by a local government.
If you can meet all the eligibility criteria but cannot comply with the standard conditions, you should make an amendment application to replace your existing conditions with the standard conditions you can comply with and variations to the standard conditions you cannot comply with.
Change the anniversary day of an EA
In some circumstances you may wish to change the anniversary day of your EA (e.g. to suit your business's reporting requirements).
If DES is your administering authority, you can do this by submitting an application to change the anniversary day (ESR/2015/1732) (DOCX, 170KB), along with the $367.70 application fee. There will be an adjustment of your annual fee to account for the changed anniversary day, and you will need to pay this fee adjustment amount with your application.
For more information on how to calculate the annual fee adjustment, refer to:
- fee for changing the anniversary day (ESR/2015/1730) (PDF, 60KB)
- fee calculator (ESR/2015/1731) (XLSX, 74KB).
- Find out how to apply for an EA.
- Learn how to comply with an EA.
- Find out how to surrender or suspend an EA.
- Read the guideline on Approval processes for environmental authorities (ESR/2015/1743) (PDF, 884KB) for more details on EA assessment processes.
- Last reviewed: 8 Jul 2022
- Last updated: 1 Jul 2022
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