The Queensland Government is committed to reducing red tape by 20%. As part of this commitment, the Greentape Reduction project is implementing changes to Queensland’s Environmental Protection Act 1994 and subordinate legislation. For information on applying for and managing your environmental authority refer to the Business and Industry Portal or try the new online tool - the Forms and fees finder.
Standard applications now available for 19 different prescribed environmentally relevant activities (ERA)
The Environmental Protection Regulation 2008 has made eligibility criteria and standard conditions for 19 different prescribed ERAs. The eligibility criteria and standard conditions were finalised following public consultation which ended on 19 August 2013.
Eligible ERAs include small sewage treatment plants, small quarries, surface coating operations and poultry farming. The published eligibility criteria and standard conditions for the new 19 eligible ERAs are published on the Business and Industry Portal.
Eligibility criteria and standard conditions allow for applicants to make one of the three new application types for an environmental authority. Operators who are able to meet the eligibility criteria can now make a standard application for an environmental authority. If an operator needs to vary one or more of the standard conditions they may do so by making a variation application. Operators who cannot meet the eligibility criteria can still operate by making a site-specific application.
Small scale mining reforms
The Mining and Other Legislation Amendment Act 2013 (MOLA Act) was passed by parliament on 19 March 2013 and commenced on 31 March 2013 removing the requirement under the Environmental Protection Act 1994 for ‘small scale mining activities’ to hold an environmental authority.
‘Small scale mining activities’ are defined in the dictionary of the Environmental Protection Act 1994 and apply to mining activities carried out under:
- a mining claim for 20 hectares or less for opals, gemstones and other precious stones
- an exploration permit (minerals) for 4 sub-blocks or less for minerals other than coal.
The MOLA Act modified the mining claim tenure framework under the Mineral Resources Act 1989 to allow mining claims up to 20 hectares in size to be granted to eligible opal and gemstone miners. This will allow miners on mining lease tenures to apply to the Department of Natural Resources and Mines to convert their mining leases to one (or if necessary, two) mining claims. If granted, the operator may be eligible to have their environmental authority cancelled. More information can be found on the Department of Natural Resources and Mines website.
If you currently hold an environmental authority which meets the ‘small scale mining activity’ criteria you may apply to cancel it by using the Request to cancel an environmental authority application form.
Small scale mining tenure holders still need to comply with the general environmental duty under the Environmental Protection Act 1994 and are subject to conditions for financial assurance and rehabilitation prescribed in the Environmental Protection Regulation 2008.
Further information on the changes for small scale mining activities is available in the frequently asked questions.