A key function of bilateral agreements is to reduce duplication of environmental assessment and regulation between the Commonwealth and states/territories. Bilateral agreements allow the Commonwealth to 'accredit' particular state/territory assessment processes and, in some cases, state/territory approval decisions.
In effect, bilateral agreements allow the Commonwealth to delegate to the states/territories the responsibility for conducting environmental assessments under the EPBC Act and, in certain circumstances, the responsibility for granting environmental approvals under the EPBC Act. Bilateral agreements may also deal with various other matters, such as management plans for World Heritage properties and cooperation on monitoring and enforcement.
To be accredited, a state/territory process will need to meet ‘best practice’ criteria.
If a proposed action is covered by an assessment bilateral, then that action is assessed under the accredited state/territory process. After assessment, the proposed action still requires approval from the Minister under the EPBC Act.
If a proposed action is covered by an approval bilateral, then it will be assessed and approved by the state/territory in accordance with an agreed management plan. No further approval is required from the Minister under the EPBC Act.
|State/territory||Date of agreement|
|Australian Capital Territory relating to environmental impact assessment||4 June 2009|
|South Australia relating to environmental impact assessment||2 July 2008|
|New South Wales relating to environmental impact assessment||18 January 2007|
|New South Wales relating to the Sydney Opera House||22 December 2005|
|Northern Territory relating to environmental impact assessment||31 May 2002|
|Queensland relating to environmental impact assessment||14 June 2012|
|Tasmania relating to environmental impact assessment||3 May 2011|
|Victoria relating to environmental impact assessment||20 June 2009|
|Western Australia relating to environmental impact assessment||21 March 2012|
|State/Territory||Deadline for comment|
|There are no draft agreements currently available for comment|
- Decision on the type of assessment (assessment approach)
- EPBC Act publications archive - previous bilateral agreements