Environmental licences and permits
If the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection is your administering authority, you can apply for a standard environmental authority (EA) by completing the application online through Connect.
Alternatively, complete and submit an application for a standard EA (available from the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection (EHP) by emailing email@example.com or phoning 1300 130 372 and selecting option four).
Standard EA applications for mining activities can be completed through the Department of Natural Resources and Mines My Mines Online Service.
EHP is progressively moving licence and permit information from this website to the Business and Industry Portal. If you are seeking further information about lodging an EA, please go to the Business and Industry Portal (search for environmental authority).
The department provides information about how to obtain environmental licences and permits. This includes fee information, application forms, information sheets and guidelines relevant to a range of activities.
When planning a project or activity that could impact upon the environment, it is important to first determine what kinds of approvals are required.
If your application is for a development approval under the Sustainable Planning Act 2009, we strongly encourage you to take advantage of the consultation service provided by the Department of Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning (DILGP), before lodging the application. This will ensure the correct information has been provided and the application can proceed without delays. For information on how to organise a pre-lodgment meeting, please contact your local DILGP office.
If your application is for an approval that is not a development approval under the Sustainable Planning Act 2009, we strongly encourage you to take advantage of our free consultation service before lodging the application with the department. This will ensure the correct information has been provided and the application can proceed without delays.
To request advice for an application that is not a development approval:
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Phone: 1300 130 372 (and select option four)
Alternatively, you can download the form Application for a pre-design/pre-lodgement application form—ESR/2015/1664 (formerly EM1125)
Types of licences and permits
The department issues three main types of licences and permits. The first type is those that are triggered under the Sustainable Planning Act 2009 requiring a development approval. These include:
- engaging in a concurrence environmentally relevant activity (prescribed ERAs)
- conducting tidal works or development in a coastal management district
- development involving contaminated land or land where a notifiable activity has or is to occur
- altering a heritage place
- conducting high impact earthworks in a Great Barrier Reef wetland protection area.
The second type is those that are triggered under the Environmental Protection Act 1994 requiring an EA. These include:
- conducting an ERA that is a prescribed activity or a prescribed ERA project
- conducting an ERA that is a resource activity or a resource project.
Sometimes the holder of an EA will need to release contaminants into the environment in response to an event, either natural or caused by sabotage, that was not foreseen when particular conditions were imposed on an EA. In certain circumstances a temporary emissions licence can be issued to temporarily allow such a release. Refer to the Business and Industry Portal (search for environmental authority) for more information, including how to apply and the form and application fees.
Only registered suitable operators can hold an EA.
If you are not already a registered suitable operator you can apply before or at the same time you apply for an EA. You can view the register of suitable operators to obtain your reference number or to see if you are already registered.
Environmentally relevant activities (ERAs) can be industrial activities, mining activities or other resource activities with the potential to release contaminants into the environment. These activities may include:
- chemical manufacturing
- waste treatment
- coal mining
- mineral mining or extraction
- petroleum and gas activities.
Some agricultural activities such as piggeries, prawn farms and cattle feedlots are also ERAs.
ERAs are split into two main categories, prescribed activities and resource activities. Prescribed activities are those ERAs defined in schedule 2 of the Environmental Protection Regulation 2008. Resource activities are those activities that involve a geothermal activity, a greenhouse gas storage activity, a mining activity or a petroleum activity.
For further information in relation to applying for and managing an EA please refer to the Business and Industry Portal (search for environmental authority).
Copies of finalised environmental authorities are available to the public. See further information on accessing the Environmental Protection Act licencing register.
Alternatively you can search online for certain petroleum and gas, and mining environmental authorities.
The third type is those which are triggered under other legislation and include:
- collection authorities for collecting native biological resources from State Lands or Queensland waters for biodiscovery purposes
- licences for taking, keeping, using or moving native wildlife for commercial, recreational or other purposes
- licences for the commercial harvesting, trade or use of protected native plants.
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