Declared emergency and natural disaster information

The department acknowledges that during a declared emergency or natural disaster our community and industry can experience various significant impacts. The Queensland Government will continue to respond to the various emergencies as they arise by implementing a range of initiatives and support systems.

Temporary authorities

Temporary authorities are environmental authorities which are issued by the department for a period of up to four (4) months where it is deemed necessary and reasonable to respond to the impacts of an emergency situation.

For temporary authorities the term ‘emergency situation’ is defined in section 316GA of the Environmental Protection Act 1994.

You may be eligible to apply for a temporary authority:

  1. If you do not hold an environmental authority however due to an emergency situation your activity/business which would normally not be an Environmentally Relevant Activity (ERA) in the absence of the emergency situation has become an ERA or is likely to become an ERA.
  2. If you do hold an environmental authority and due to the emergency situation your business may increase your permitted threshold, or add an additional temporary ERA to expand your activities.

Note: A temporary authority is not intended for activities that are ongoing or are not carried out on a temporary basis in an emergency (e.g. petroleum and gas, coal mining or mineral mining activities generally).

For more information on the range of emergency situations where a temporary authority would be appropriate, refer to the temporary authority information sheet (ESR/2023/6544) (PDF, 203.4KB) .

For further aspects of options in relation to an emergency if you are a local government: Local government disaster recovery—ESR/2015/1814 (PDF, 202.7KB)

View further information about environmentally relevant activities (ERAs).

Access the application form and information about fees for a temporary authority on the Business Queensland website.

Department’s responsibility

We will continue to meet our responsibilities as Queensland’s environmental regulator. This includes the implementation of our own continuity plans to maintain service delivery if required.

We commit to working closely with industry bodies to minimise the environmental risks and impacts which can be experienced due to emergency situations including natural disasters and pandemics.

What we ask you to do

If you hold an environmental authority or other approval administered by the department, please ensure that you have reviewed, updated and, if necessary, implemented your business continuity plans to account for reduced supply and also reduced workforce availability.

We also expect you to take all reasonable and practicable measures to comply with your environmental obligations and prevent unlawful environmental harm.

If you are concerned about your ability to meet your obligations, please communicate with us early so that we can discuss ways to manage any risks to the environment.

Please also engage with us early if you are looking to submit an application for an approval or an amendment so that we can action it as efficiently as possible. The best method to communicate with us is through your local departmental contact or through our general inquiries by:

What you can expect from us

We will continue to service applications for new or amended environmental approvals as efficiently as possible and within statutory timelines.

We will continue to deliver a risk-based proactive and reactive compliance program as well as respond to pollution incidents. This will be done in a manner that maximises the safety or our staff and the people they interact with.

Enforcement decisions, such as prosecutions, infringements and statutory notices will continue to be based on our Enforcement Guidelines (PDF, 360.6KB) . However, the impact of emergency situations including natural disasters and pandemics will be taken into account where an operator has taken reasonable and practicable measures to prevent or minimise the harm.