How to apply

To operate an Environmentally Relevant Activity (ERA), you must have planning approval and an environmental authority registration.

An applicant for an environmental authority must be a suitable operator (e.g. person/s or company listed on the Queensland Department of Environment and Science (DES) register).

A new application is not required for minor changes (such as change of contact details). Contact Council regarding these changes.  Find out how to make other types of changes.

Use this information to assist you in ensuring your application is complete and that you consider other applications that may be required for your business.

Forms

Suitable operator application

The DES maintain a register of suitable operators for ERAs.

You must be registered as a suitable operator to hold an environmental authority registration. Check if you are already registered online.

If you haven’t previously registered, you must complete an online application or request the suitable operator registration form via email and submit to DES using the postal details found on the form. 

Development application

The Queensland Department of State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure, and Planning maintain an online library of application forms.

Use these forms to complete a development application for an ERA:

Additional development application forms may be required depending on Council’s planning scheme.

Environmental authority application

If you submit a development application for a material change of use for an ERA, a separate environmental authority application is not required. The development application is considered to be an application for an environmental authority for the ERA. 

Environmental Authority application forms are available by contacting Council.

Change conditions of an existing ERA

To request a change to the conditions of your planning approval, you need to complete and submit a change application form available from Queensland’s Planning System:

•     Planning Act Form 5 – Change application

To request a change to the conditions of the environmental authority, you need to complete and submit an amendment application form available from Council:

Environmental authority application forms are available from Council.

Plans

Plans are required with the development application. Plans should be fully legible at A3 size and show all dimensions, heights, and setbacks from boundaries.

Include details such as:

  • site plans showing all boundaries, natural features and proposed development (including the location and use of buildings on both the proposed land and the adjoining land, the location of car parks and areas to be landscaped)
  • all elevations (north, south, east and west) with natural ground levels (on Australian Height Datum (ADH) where the property is affected by flooding) and relative finished levels
  • floor plans for each level of the development, showing both the existing and proposed development along with existing and proposed gross floor area (GFA) calculations
  • for subdivision, a proposed plan of subdivision showing all:
    • existing and proposed allotments, including the intended use of all proposed lots
    • existing and new roads, easements, parks, waterway corridors
    • other environmental considerations.

A qualified design consultant should prepare the plans.

Additional plans will not be required for any environmental authority application.

Application Process - new

This process is for starting a new environmentally relevant activity.

You are responsible for ensuring the development application is complete. For more information on the development application process for ERAs, visit the Business Queensland website.

  • Council will process your application within the legislative timeframe. Council will contact you should additional information be required to process the application.
  • Council may inspect the premises before making a decision.
  • When your development application is approved, Council will issue you a planning approval with conditions.
  • When your environmental authority is approved, Council will issue you a registration certificate allowing you to commence operations.

Council will also issue you with an invoice with an annual environmental authority fee. You must pay this invoice within 20 business days otherwise a whole new environmental authority application is required.

Application process - taking over

This process is for taking over an ERA with an existing planning approval and environmental authority.

You cannot move or transfer an existing planning approval or environmental authority to a new site, however an environmental authority can be transferred to another person/entity at the same location.

You may apply to Council for a search for information on current environmental authority registration/s and the conditions of approval. This process may require written permission from the vendor.

  • Register as suitable operator with DES.
  • Submit an environmental authority application to Council using the approved form. You are responsible for ensuring the application is complete.
  • Council will process your application within the legislative timeframe. Council will contact you should additional information be required to process your application.
  • Council may inspect the premises before making a decision.
  • When your environmental authority is approved, Council will issue you a registration certificate allowing you to commence operations.

Application process - making changes

This process is only for making minor amendments to an existing environmental authority (e.g. that do not trigger or require planning approval).

If the nature or scale of the business is changing or you intend to operate additional ERAs on site, you may need to follow the application process for new activities.

Contact Council to discuss any changes to your activity.

  • Submit your amendment application to Council using the approved form. You are responsible for ensuring the application is complete.
  • Council will process your application within the legislative timeframe. Council will contact you should additional information be required to process the application.
  • Council may inspect the premises before making a decision.
  • When your amendment is approved, Council will issue you your planning approval with new conditions and you to commence making the changes.