New or expanding cropping
What are the requirements for new cropping and horticulture?
All new or expanding commercial cropping and horticulture in the Cape York, Wet Tropics, Burdekin, Mackay Whitsunday, Fitzroy and Burnett Mary regions on five hectares or more of land that does not have a cropping history now requires an environmental authority (permit) before cropping or any preparatory work can take place.
The permit requires growers to undertake measures to minimise fine sediment and dissolved inorganic nitrogen from their cropping entering waterways.
A cropping history is when the land has been used for cropping or horticultural activities in at least three out of the last 10 years.
There are transitional provisions that allow some extra time to develop a cropping history for any cropping that has only started in the three years prior to 1 June 2021.
How do I know if I need a permit?
A permit is required for most types of crops including commercially grown grains and horticulture, sugarcane and banana production.
A permit is not required for timber production, crops that are grown in a closed system (e.g. hydroponically), forestry activities and non-commercial activities. An example of a non-commercial crop is where fodder crops are grown by graziers for their own cattle and are not sold to other producers.
Applying for a permit
Step 1: Register as a ‘suitable operator’
Before the department can issue you with a permit, you must be registered as a ‘suitable operator’.
You can do this by completing an application online or requesting an application form by emailing the Permits and Licensing Management area at email@example.com or calling 1300 130 372 (select option 4).
Step 2: Determine which type of permit application you need to make
There are three different application types for a permit:
Standard application (DOCX, 174KB) – A simplified process for growers who can meet the eligibility criteria and standard conditions outlined in the ‘ERA standard’.
Variation application (DOCX, 152KB) – A flexible process for growers who can meet the eligibility criteria but wish to vary one or more of the standard conditions in the ‘ERA standard’.
Site-specific application (DOCX, 123KB) – A comprehensive process for growers who cannot meet the eligibility criteria in the ‘ERA standard’. This application requires site-specific information to be provided for the activity.
Eligibility criteria for a standard application
You are undertaking the cropping on no more than 100 hectares (and over five hectares) in a river basin
You are relocating your banana farm to new land due to a Notice of presence of Panama disease tropical race 4
Standard conditions (ERA standard)
You can view the standard conditions in the ERA standard (PDF, 404KB). The standard conditions include measures like setbacks from natural waterways, nutrient and sediment control and record keeping, for example.
Step 3: Lodge your permit application
Permit applications for new commercial cropping and horticulture must be submitted by either post or email:
Permit and Licensing Management
Department of Environment and Science
GPO Box 2454
BRISBANE QLD 4001
Applications cannot be accepted at Queensland Government regional offices.
Processing times for applications vary depending on the application type. Fees also apply.
Need help? Register for a pre-lodgement meeting
Before you lodge your permit application, you can meet with the department to discuss your application. To organise a pre-lodgement meeting, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1300 130 372 (select option 4). You can also download an application for pre-lodgement services available at www.qld.gov.au by searching ESR/2015/1664.
Complying with a permit
You must comply with all the conditions on your permit.
For a standard application, you will be required to comply with all of the standard conditions in the ERA standard. Practical information on how to comply is available in the Standard Conditions Guide .