On 31 July 2012 the Greentape Reduction Bill (Environmental Protection (Greentape Reduction) and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2012 (Qld)) (the Bill) was passed by the Queensland Parliament.
Who should read this?
Anyone carrying out, or planning to carry out, any development requiring approval under the Environmental Protection Act 1994 (Qld), or various other resources-related legislation.
The Bill is intended to reduce the time it takes to achieve full development approval. It aims to simplify the process of achieving environmental approval without compromising environmental standards. To achieve this, it amends the licensing framework and approval regime under the Environmental Protection Act 1994 (Qld) (EPA) and the Sustainable Planning Act 2009 (Qld) (SPA).
Changes to the Environmental Approval Process
The Bill will amend the current framework by implementing the following:
- A single streamlined approval process for all environmentally relevant activities (ERAs), including mining and petroleum activities;
- A licence holder register that will allow an operator to have one approval for multiple activities across multiple sites;
- A licensing framework that is proportionate to the environmental risk of the proposed activities;
- A standard application process for certain ERAs that pose low environmental risks; and
- Separate environmental operating conditions from development approval conditions so each can be amended more easily.
The Bill will also remove environmental management plans previously required for resource activities as this will be predominantly contained under the new application requirements.
What does it mean in practice?
Your business may be affected in the following ways:
- A business will be able to hold (if they choose too) one ERA for their activities over multiple sites which will streamline the compliance and annual renewal process;
- A wider range of operational conditions (which will be separated from the current land-use development approvals that currently exist) will be able to be amended without triggering the need to apply for a new land use development approval; and
- All businesses that currently hold a registration certificate and a development permit for an ERA will automatically: (1) register as a suitable operator; (2) hold an environmental authority with operational conditions from their development permit; and (3) no longer be required to hold a registration certificate.
The Greentape Reduction Bill is awaiting royal assent and the regime is expected to commence in March 2013. The Department of Environment and Heritage Protection plans to begin training on the new legislation in early 2013.
If you would like further information about the Greentape Reduction Bill or would like to discuss how the bill may affect your organisations please contact us.
Suzy Cairney, Partner
T: +61 7 3135 0684
Scott Lambert, Partner
T: +61 7 3135 0681
This publication does not deal with every important topic or change in law and is not intended to be relied upon as a substitute for legal or other advice that may be relevant to the reader's specific circumstances. If you have found this publication of interest and would like to know more or wish to obtain legal advice relevant to your circumstances please contact one of the named individuals listed above.