Regulatory Strategy

    Fundamental to the department’s vision of a healthy and resilient environment for a sustainable and prosperous Queensland, the Regulatory Strategy (PDF, 291.4KB) outlines the department’s regulatory approach to fulfill its vision.

    By implementing the regulatory strategy the department has shifted its regulatory focus from setting and applying the standards (our assessment function) to monitoring and responding to performance (our compliance function).

    This regulatory refocus is assisted by our business model, which includes a business centre for each major industry sector, each dedicated to assessing and deciding permit applications; and compliance centres distributed across the state, delivering compliance activities and priorities identified through a compliance planning framework, and increasing our ability to work with customers to achieve compliance.

    This change in focus continues to deliver the following benefits for:


    • More certainty and consistency in approval conditions.
    • Quicker approvals.
    • More opportunities to innovate and deliver more efficient environmental solutions.
    • Reduced compliance costs.

    The environment

    • Adoption of best practice environmental management by industry.
    • Assessment based on risk.
    • Increase proactive compliance.
    • Greater understanding of environmental management.

    Implementation of the Regulatory Strategy ensures industry is able to prosper while Queensland’s unique environment and heritage places are well-managed and protected now and into the future and the department has made improvements to the way we operate to give our customers and the community a better service.

    This video explains how implementation of the Regulatory Strategy affects your operation.

    Video transcript

    The Department of Environment and Heritage Protection is changing the way it manages and regulates the risks to Queensland’s environment and heritage places.

    Our new regulatory strategy sets out these changes, which will speed up the time it takes for clients to get an approval, increase the number of inspections of high-risk activities, and make sure we are taking strong enforcement action where needed.

    This short presentation will tell you about those changes and how they will affect you as a client.

    For a start, there is a new focus on the environmental outcomes a client must achieve.

    For example, if a client is required to ensure that no pollutants are released into the air, or that wastewater released to a river must meet certain quality standards, we will no longer assess whether a client can meet those outcomes, or how they propose to achieve them.

    This will now be the responsibility of the client and not the role of the department.

    We will provide guidance and examples on acceptable ways of managing environmental risks, but the decision on how those risks will be managed will sit with the client.

    So when we grant a licence, the department will impose conditions that set out outcomes that the client must achieve.

    We will no longer impose conditions that tell the client how to achieve those outcomes.

    For example, the department may impose a condition that contaminated stormwater must not leave a site, but it will not impose conditions that set out the design of the stormwater system needed to achieve this. That’s up to the client to work out.

    If the client cannot meet the outcomes set by the department, it may face enforcement action.

    Another major change will be more frequent site inspections to ensure clients are complying with their licence conditions.

    If they are, and can demonstrate that they are consistently meeting the department’s requirements, we will inspect them less often.

    If they are not, we will carry out more frequent inspections until they lift their performance to a better level.

    Clients who fail to comply with their licence, will face strong but fair action to ensure the problem is fixed quickly.

    We have already started making these changes to how we work to better regulate business and industry. Over the next 12 months you will notice faster turnaround times for licences, fewer conditions, more site inspections, and tougher enforcement action.

    For more information on these changes, please read the department’s regulatory strategy now available on our website.

    How the department is setting and applying the standards

    How the department is monitoring and responding to performance