Bilateral agreements

One-Stop Shop for environmental approvals

The Government is committed to establishing a One-Stop Shop for environmental approvals to remove duplication in regulation between the Commonwealth and states/territories. The key feature for achieving this reform will  be the negotiation of assessment and approval bilateral agreements between the Commonwealth and states/territories under existing provisions of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act).

Further information and updates can be found at the One-Stop Shop for environmental approvals page.

About bilateral agreements

Bilateral agreements reduce duplication of environmental assessment and approval processes between the Commonwealth and states/territories. They allow the Commonwealth to 'accredit' particular state/territory assessment and approval processes.

Bilateral agreements can be entered into by the Commonwealth and a state/territory. There are two types of bilateral agreement under the EPBC Act – assessment bilateral agreements and approval bilateral agreements. Section 44 of the EPBC Act provides for bilateral agreements between the Commonwealth and states/territories that:

  1. protect the environment; and
  2. promote the conservation and ecologically sustainable use of natural resources; and
  3. ensure an efficient, timely and effective process for environmental assessment and approval of actions; and
  4. minimise duplication in the environmental assessment and approval process through Commonwealth accreditation of the assessment or approval processes of the State or Territory (and vice versa).

The Commonwealth Environment Minister may enter into a bilateral agreement only if he/she is satisfied that it:

  1. accords with the objects of the EPBC Act; and
  2. meets specific requirements of the EPBC Act for bilateral agreements to be made; and
  3. meets any other requirements prescribed by the Regulations.

If a proposed action is covered by an assessment bilateral agreement, then that action is assessed under the accredited state/territory process. After assessment, the proposed action still requires approval from the Commonwealth Environment Minister under the EPBC Act.

If a proposed action is covered by an approval bilateral agreement, then it will be assessed and approved by the state/territory. No further approval is required from the Commonwealth Environment Minister under the EPBC Act.

Draft approval bilateral agreements

State/Territory Deadline for comment
Australian Capital Territory – draft bilateral agreement relating to environmental approval – Invitation to comment CLOSED on 12 September 2014
Tasmania – draft bilateral agreement relating to environmental approval – Invitation to comment CLOSED on 11 September 2014
New South Wales – draft bilateral agreement relating to environmental approval – Invitation to comment CLOSED on 13 June 2014
Queensland – draft bilateral agreement relating to environmental approval – Invitation to comment CLOSED on 13 June 2014

Draft assessment bilateral agreements open for public comment

State/Territory Deadline for comment
Queensland – draft bilateral agreement relating to environmental assessment – Invitation to comment 5pm, Friday 21 November 2014

Bilateral Agreements

All documents related to bilateral agreements for environmental assessment and approval with each state/territory are provided in the links below

State/Territory
Australian Capital Territory
New South Wales
Northern Territory
Queensland
South Australia
Tasmania
Victoria
Western Australia

See also