Australia’s national environmental law is called the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (the EPBC Act). The EPBC Act makes sure that ‘nationally significant’ animals, plants, habitats and places are identified, and any potential negative impacts on them are carefully considered before changes in land use or new developments are approved.
The Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment is responsible for managing the environmental assessment and approval process under the EPBC Act.
- the scale of the action and its impacts
- the intensity of the action and its impacts
- the duration and frequency of the action and its impacts.
In particular, you should consider:
- the environmental context, for example, the sensitivity, value, quality and size of the environment, the site’s connectivity to other habitats in the broader landscape and its importance in the conservation of the environment
- the nature of the potential impacts that are likely to result from your actions
- whether mitigation measures will avoid or reduce these impacts.
The department recommends taking a conservative approach to analysing whether your project will have a significant impact on the environment. For example, if you think that your actions have the potential to result in a significant impact, or you are not sure, it is best to contact the department early. State and territory protected species lists and heritage lists will also help you identify impacts that you will need to manage or avoid.
Projects should avoid impacts to the environment wherever possible. If environmental impacts resulting from your project are unavoidable, you will need to tell us about your proposed mitigation and offset strategies as part of the assessment process.
If you wish, you can request a pre-referral meeting, in person in Canberra or over the phone, to discuss your project and ensure that you understand the assessment process and what you will need to provide. Otherwise, you can refer your project directly to the department.
For more information go to the Department’s EPBC Act Environment Assessment and Approvals webpage.
The Significant impact guidelines provides guidance to determine whether your project is likely to have a significant impact on the environment.