Applying for an Environmental Authority

Environmentally relevant activities are industrial or intensive agricultural activities that will, or have the potential to, release contaminants into the environment that may cause environmental harm.  They include a wide range of activities such as aquaculture, sewage treatment, metal recovery, surface coating, asphalt manufacturing and mining.

There are 2 categories of environmentally relevant activities - resources activities and prescribed environmentally relevant activities.

From 1 April 2013, it is a requirement of the Environmental Protection Act 1994 that anyone who conducts an environmentally relevant activity must hold an environmental authority for that activity and be registered as a suitable operator with the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection.  If you currently hold an environmental authority or registration certificate you are automatically added to the suitable operator register and are not required to make an application. The environmental authority will licence you to operate and is administered by a range of Queensland Government and local government agencies. The agency that administers an environmental authority is called the administering authority.

Council administers the following prescribed environmentally relevant activities:

Asphalt Manufacturing (1000t or more of asphalt per year);

Plastic Product Manufacturing (50t or more of plastic product per year; or 5t or more of foam, composite plastics or rigid fibre-reinforced plastics per year);

Metal Forming (10000t or more of hot forming metal per year);

Metal Recovery (recovering less than 100t of metal in a day; or recovering, without using a fragmentiser, 100t or more of metal in a day or 10000t or more of metal in a year);

Surface Coating (anodising, electroplating, enamelling or galvanising using 1t to 100t of surface coating materials in a year);

Boat Maintenance or Repair (within 50 metres of a naturally occurring bed of surface waters);

Waste Incineration and Thermal Treatment (incinerating waste vegetation, clean paper or cardboard).

If you are intending to make application for one of these environmentally relevant activities in conjunction with another environmentally relevant activity at the same place that is not on this list, then the relevant Queensland Government department (Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry or Department of Environment and Heritage Protection) will be the administering authority and will assess the environmentally relevant activity component of the application.

In addition, if the activity is carried out as a mobile and temporary activity across more than one local government area, the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection will be the administering authority.  A development approval is not required for mobile and temporary activities.

Annual returns and fees for an environmental authority

As the holder of an environmental authority, you will be required to pay an ongoing annual fee for your environmental authority and be required to submit an annual return.

Your first annual fee is due 20 business days after your environmental authority takes effect.

Following your first annual fee, prior to the due date for both the annual fee and the annual return, Council will issue you with a notice outlining these requirements. This notice will be sent at least 20 business days before the anniversary day for the environmental authority (i.e. the day your environmental authority took effect), and this notice will include details on where to pay your fees.

If you do not pay the annual fee by the due date, you will incur a fee for late payment.