'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:
- protect the environment; and
- promote the conservation and ecologically sustainable use of natural resources; and
- ensure an efficient, timely and effective process for environmental assessment and approval of actions; and
- 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:
- accords with the objects of the EPBC Act; and
- meets specific requirements of the EPBC Act for bilateral agreements to be made; and
- 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 bilateral agreements open for public comment
|State/Territory||Deadline for comment|
|Northern Territory – draft bilateral agreement relating to environmental assessment – Invitation to comment||5pm, Tuesday 6 May 2014|
|Australian Capital Territory – draft bilateral agreement relating to environmental assessment – Invitation to comment||5pm, Monday 28 April 2014|
|South Australia – draft bilateral agreement relating to environmental assessment – Invitation to comment||CLOSED 17 March 2014|
All documents related to bilateral agreements for environmental assessment and approval with each state/territory are provided in the links below
|Australian Capital Territory|
|New South Wales|
- Decision on the type of assessment (assessment approach)
- EPBC Act publications archive - previous bilateral agreements
- 'One stop shop' policy