Refer an action
Environment assessment and approval process
- Refer an action
- Decision on your referral
- Decision on assessment approach
- Decision whether to approve
- Approved action - post approval
The purpose of the referral process is to determine whether or not a proposed action will need formal assessment and approval under the EPBC Act.
Your referral will be the principal basis for the Minister's decision as to whether approval is necessary and, if so, the type of assessment that will be taken.
You may still make a referral if you believe your action is not going to have a significant impact, or if you are unsure.
To help you decide whether or not your proposed action requires approval (and, therefore, if you should make a referral), refer to the following information:
- Protected matters search tool — enter a location to obtain a report on what matters are protected by the EPBC Act in your area of interest
- Environment assessment process — referral flowchart
- Significant Impact Guidelines 1.1 - Matters of national environmental significance
- Significant Impact Guidelines 1.2 - Actions on, or impacting upon, Commonwealth land and Actions by Commonwealth Agencies
- Other EPBC Act policy statements
A policy that sets out the department's approach to project referrals where a relevant strategic assessment is underway or completed is now available.
Helpful hint 1: Providing appropriate documentation
Not every action that involves a matter protected by the EPBC Act will have a significant impact, so it is important that you provide all available information about the proposed action as well as measures you will be putting in place to reduce adverse impacts on those matters.
Helpful hint 2: Taking measures to avoid significant impacts
In some cases approval may not be required because you are proposing to put in place measures to avoid impacts on a matter protected by the EPBC Act.
For example, you may undertake to carry out your construction activities at a time that will avoid the breeding season of migratory birds, thereby avoiding significant disturbances to a protected species. In these cases, you may be able to proceed without further assessment and approval under the EPBC Act, on the condition that you undertake your proposed action in the manner prescribed.