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EPBC Bilateral Agreement

The current Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act) Bilateral Agreement between Queensland and the Commonwealth came into effect on 14 June 2012, replacing the Bilateral Agreement that came into effect on 11 August 2009. While it is commonly referred to as ‘the Bilateral Agreement’, its full title is An Agreement between the Commonwealth and the State of Queensland under Section 45 of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 Relating to Environmental Assessment.

The objectives of the Bilateral Agreement are to:

  • provide appropriate environmental protection
  • promote ecologically sustainable use of natural resources; and
  • avoid duplication and ensure efficient and effective environmental assessment processes.

The Bilateral Agreement applies to proposals that are 'controlled actions' requiring assessment under Part 8 of the EPBC Act and which are undergoing an environmental impact statement (EIS) process under:

  • Chapter 3, Part 1 of the Environmental Protection Act 1994; or
  • Part 4 of the State Development and Public Works Organisation Act 1971; or
  • Chapter 9, Part 2 of the Sustainable Planning Act 2009.

Once a state EIS process has been accredited, it only covers the assessment part of the Commonwealth's EPBC process. The Commonwealth will still retain its separate approval powers under Part 9 of the EPBC Act.

The Queensland and Commonwealth governments have also agreed to Administrative Procedures to make the Bilateral Agreement work. The procedures set out how the Queensland and the Commonwealth governments will share information and work together to ensure the EIS process is efficient and effective for each project under assessment.

The Department of Environment and Heritage Protection is responsible for implementing the Administrative Procedures for all EIS assessments conducted under Chapter 3, of the Environmental Protection Act 1994.

Proponents wishing to obtain advice on whether their proposed project is a controlled action under the EPBC should contact the Commonwealth Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities (SEWPaC). The SEWPaC website contains further information about the Bilateral Agreement and environment assessments .

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Last updated
6 June 2014