Consultation: Application requirements for activities that release particular contaminants to the Great Barrier Reef catchment waters

Have your say on the draft guideline

Consultation closes 5pm on Friday 16 April 2021.

The Department of Environment and Science invites submissions on the draft guideline Application requirements for activities that release particular contaminants to the Great Barrier Reef catchment (GBR) waters (PDF, 731.6KB) .

The primary purpose of the guideline is to:

  • assist applicants in making a well-supported environmental authority (EA) application, where the applicant proposes impacts to Great Barrier Reef (GBR) catchment waters from the release of fine sediment and dissolved inorganic nitrogen (DIN)
  • describe the manner in which the department will assess an EA application in accordance with section 41AA of the Environmental Protection Regulation 2019 (EP Regulation).

As part of its EA assessment framework the department must now ensure that there is no net decline in water quality of GBR catchment waters due to new or amended prescribed environmentally relevant activities and resource activities.

The no net decline policy was developed in response to a Great Barrier Reef Water Science Taskforce recommendation to ensure new development does not reverse GBR water quality improvements achieved to date.

From 1 June 2021, the administering authority must consider section 41AA of the EP Regulation when making an environmental management decision for an environmentally relevant activity in the GBR catchment waters.

The regulation stipulates that the department must refuse an application if it considers that the activity will, or may, have a residual impact from fine sediments and DIN being released within the GBR catchment or adjacent coastal waters.

The release of fine sediment would typically be associated with extractive activities and mining. Whereas DIN releases will typically be associated with sewage treatment, aquaculture, abattoirs/meat processing or through intensive use of fertiliser.

Make a submission

How to make a submission:

  1. Read the draft guideline Application requirements for activities that release particular contaminants to the Great Barrier Reef catchment (GBR) waters (PDF, 731.6KB) .
  2. A submission/feedback template (XLSX, 18.3KB) is available to assist with making a submission about the draft guideline, however it is not essential to use this form.
  3. Email the submission to: rrs.consultation@des.qld.gov.au.
  4. Submissions must be received by 5pm on Friday 16 April 2021.