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.
If a ‘matter of national environmental significance’ is on, or near, your property then you are in a position to help protect it. There are nine matters of national significance that come under the EPBC Act:
- world heritage properties
- national heritage places
- wetlands of international importance (listed under the Ramsar Convention)
- listed threatened species and ecological communities
- migratory species protected under international agreements
- Commonwealth marine areas
- Great Barrier Reef Marine Park
- nuclear actions (including uranium mines)
- a water resource, in relation to coal seam gas development and large coal mining development.
The EPBC Act also covers actions on, or impacting on, Commonwealth land or actions by Commonwealth agencies. It also covers Commonwealth heritage places outside Australia.
Before any changes in land use or new developments can be approved, any potential negative impacts on matters of national significance must be carefully considered.
To find out what is on, or near, your land or affected land, and whether your project requires assessment under the EPBC Act before proceeding, you can:
- use the Protected Matters Search Tool
- read additional information including the significant impact guidelines for:
You should also check state and local government heritage registers and any previous surveys that have been done on the site or in the vicinity. Find out more about the assessment process on the Environment assessment and approval process page or contact us on 1800 803 772 to organise a pre-referral meeting.