Environmental licence and permit types
The department issues two main types of licences and permits.
The first type is those that are triggered under the Environmental Protection Act 1994 requiring an environmental authority (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 Queensland website (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.
You can apply to be registered as a suitable operator online through Online Services at www.des.qld.gov.au/onlineservices. Alternatively, you can apply using the form Application to be a registered suitable operator—ESR/2015/1771, which is available by emailing email@example.com, or phoning 1300 130 372 and selecting option 4. This application form may be submitted before or at the same time as you apply for an EA.
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 2019. 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 Queensland website (search for environmental authority).
Copies of finalised EAs 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 second 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.