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Impact assessment

What is environmental impact assessment?

Environmental impact assessment is used to integrate environmental management with the approvals process for proposals. Environmental impact assessment is intended to:

  • ensure that proponents assume primary responsibility for protection of any environmental values that may be affected by their proposals;
  • address environmental management for the expected life of proposals;
  • contribute to statutory decisions on whether a proposal should proceed, and if so, decide what environmental management and monitoring conditions should apply; and
  • where legislation allows, incorporate community and stakeholder views in assessment and decision-making processes.

What is the department's role?

Legislation in Queensland provides a number of roles for the department. The main roles in impact assessment that the department may undertake include:

  • The assessor of applications for environmental authorities under the Environmental Protection Act 1994 (EP Act) for mining or petroleum activities.
  • EIS coordinator when an EIS is required under the EP Act for mining or petroleum activities.
  • Assessment manager or referral agency for development applications to undertake environmentally relevant activities that are listed and defined in the Environmental Protection Regulation 1998.
  • Assessment manager or referral agency for assessable development regulated under the Coastal Protection and Management Act 1995.
  • An advice agency as part of assessment processes managed by the Coordinator-General under the State Development and Public Works Organisation Act 1971 (SD&PWO Act).
  • The coordinator of advice and statutory notices to the Commonwealth environment department related to assessments (including accredited EIS processes) under the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act);

Will my proposal require environmental impact assessment?

The following list (though not exhaustive) describes proposals that will require some level of environmental impact assessment:

  • An environmentally relevant activity listed in Schedule 1 of the EP Act.
  • A mining or petroleum activity that does not comply with the relevant codes of environmental compliance.
  • Assessable development in the coastal zone — see the department's guideline Assessable development under the Coastal Act (document currently under review).
  • Any activity that would require authorisation under the Nature Conservation (Administration) Regulation 2006.
  • Proposals that the Coordinator-General has declared to be "significant projects" for which an EIS is required (contact the Department of Infrastructure and Planning for more information on this matter).

The following proposals (though again the list is not exhaustive) may also require some level of environmental impact assessment:

  • Development that requires impact assessment under a local planning scheme (contact your local authority for information on what development is impact assessable and what scope of assessment would apply).
  • Any activity that would remove, destroy or damage marine plants (contact the Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries for further information).
  • Proposals involving the generation (even by wind), transmission or distribution of electricity (contact the Department of Energy for further information).

The Commonwealth environment department may require environmental impact assessment for proposals that would impact on matters of national environmental significance. Proponents should contact the Commonwealth environment department directly for advice on this matter.

Contact the department

The department has published a series of guidelines to provide information on the Agency's role in environmental impact assessment.

Further information is available by telephoning the department's Permit and Licence Management Unit (PALM) or e-mail

Last updated
2 October 2012