Environmental Protection Act 1994 - Queensland

Service summary

Object or Purpose of this legislative Instrument:

To protect Queensland's environment while allowing for development that improves the total quality of life, both now and in the future, in a way that maintains the ecological processes on which life depends.

Scope of this legislative Instrument:

The Act applies to all persons. It imposes a general environmental duty where a person must not carry out any activity that causes, or is likely to cause, environmental harm unless the person takes all reasonable and practicable measures to prevent or minimise the harm. It also imposes a duty on a person carrying out an activity to notify the administering authority of any serious or material environmental harm caused or threatened by carrying out the activity, unless it is authorised.

The Act requires a person conducting any environmentally relevant activity (ERA) to hold a registration certificate for the ERA. There must also be a development approval for the activity, unless it is self-assessable development that is able to operate under a code of environmental compliance. The person must comply with the conditions of the development approval and/or code.

The Act also provides for the creation of regulations and environmental protection policies that are binding on all persons.

The following Subordinate Legislation should be examined:

  • Environmental Protection Regulation 2008
  • Environmental Protection (Waste Management) Regulation 2000
  • Environmental Protection (Air) Policy 2008
  • Environmental Protection (Water) Policy 2009
  • Environmental Protection (Noise) Policy 2008

Service type

Regulatory Obligation

An obligation defined in law. A business must comply with relevant services.

Appeal

Appeal process

Lodgement

Compliance Mechanisms and Penalties:

A person must not carry out any activity that causes, or is likely to cause, environmental harm unless the person takes all reasonable and practicable measures to prevent or minimise the harm (the general environmental duty). Regard must be had to the nature of the harm or potential harm; the sensitivity of the receiving environment; the current state of technical knowledge for the activity; the likelihood of successful application of the different measures that might be taken; and the financial implications of the different measures as they would relate to the type of activity.

There is a duty to notify environmental harm under sections 320-320G of the Environmental Protection Act 1994. It requires a person or company carrying out an activity to give notice where serious or material environmental harm, that is not authorised under the EP Act, is caused or threatened. More information is available in a guideline, The duty to notify of environmental harm, which can be found at www.ehp.qld.gov.au using the publication number EM467 as a search term.

Breaches of the Act may result in one of the following measures:

  • requirement to conduct environmental evaluations
  • requirement to prepare transitional environmental programs
  • issue of infringement notices
  • issue of orders to carry out specified works or clean up damage (Environment Protection Orders or Clean Up Notices)
  • take out injunctions to cease activity
  • initiate prosecution proceedings
  • the suspension or cancellation of a registration certificate

Prosecution may result in fines to individuals, companies and their executive officers. Terms of imprisonment may also be imposed.

Review or Appeal Mechanisms:

Decisions by authorities administering the Environmental Protection Act 1994 are generally subject to administrative review and appeal mechanisms. See the information sheets Internal review and appeal to Land Court (available at www.ehp.qld.gov.au using the publication number EM1157 as a search term) and Internal review and appeal to Planning and Environment Court (available at www.ehp.qld.gov.au using the publication number EM 1866 as a search term).

Decisions on development approvals are appealable under SPA. See information sheet Appeals under the Sustainable Planning Act 2009 for information on appeals under the Sustainable Planning Act 2009 (available at www.ehp.qld.gov.au using the publication number EM102 as a search term).


Administering agency

Department of Environment and Heritage Protection
Environmental Services and Regulation
Environmental Performance and Coordination Branch

Contact details

Permit and Licence Management
Department of Environment and Heritage Protection
Environmental Services and Regulation
Environmental Performance and Coordination Branch


Mailing address:
GPO Box 2454
BRISBANE
Queensland 4001

Phone:

1300 130 372

Fax:

07 3330 5875
palm@ehp.qld.gov.au

Supporting information

Disclaimer

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