About the land registers

Land contamination can occur as a result of poor environmental management and waste disposal practices or accidental spills in industrial, agricultural or mining activities. In some cases, land was contaminated in the past by activities now known to be hazardous. Often these cases involve chemicals which have since been banned or are now subject to stricter controls.

The Environmental Management Register (EMR) and the Contaminated Land Register (CLR) are public registers which contain information about contaminated land in Queensland. The EMR also contains information of land which is, or could potentially be, contaminated because it is being used for an activity which may cause contamination.

About the EMR

Land is listed on the EMR if certain types of activities (known as notifiable activities) have been, or are being, carried out on the land, or if the land is contaminated land. Contaminated land is land which is affected by a hazardous contaminant.

When land is listed on the EMR for a notifiable activity, it is an indication that the land is likely to be contaminated but it does not mean it needs to be cleaned up or is not suitable for its current land use. This will depend on the nature, extent and risks of any contamination on the land, which can be determined by engaging a suitably qualified person to carry out a site investigation.

Where land is listed on the EMR because it is contaminated, details about the hazardous contaminant affecting the land will be included on the EMR as well as information about what land uses the land is suitable for. Where there is a site management plan in place to manage the contamination so it is suitable for a particular land use, the plan will also be attached to the EMR.

About the CLR

Contaminated land is moved from the EMR to the CLR where it is necessary to take action to remediate the land to prevent serious environmental harm and protect human health or other aspects of the environment.

What is listed on the EMR or CLR?

Land is listed on the EMR or CLR when we have been notified, or become aware, that notifiable activities are, or have been, carried out on the land or if the land is affected by a hazardous contaminant.

How is land listed on the EMR or CLR?

Land may be listed on the EMR or CLR following a notification by a person, such as the landowner, that the land has been, or is being, used for a notifiable activity or an event or change has occurred on the land which is likely to cause material or serious environmental harm due to contamination.

For further information about when it is appropriate to list or remove land on the land registers refer to the Guideline: Listing and removing land on the land registers (PDF, 268KB).

Alternatively, we may receive a complaint about contamination or we may identify the contamination when we respond to a pollution incident or carry out a compliance action.

Where there is sufficient evidence to warrant land being listed on the EMR or the CLR we issue a show cause notice to the landowner outlining the proposal and grounds for listing the land on the relevant land register.

If the landowner believes the land should not be listed, they may, within 20 business days of receiving the show cause notice, provide a submission and evidence to support their claim. The department provides a form (Landowner submission about notifiable activity or land contamination (DOCX, 126 KB) ) to help landowners prepare their submission. Where no submission is received, our decision is based on the initial information outlined in the show cause notice for the proposed listing. When a decision has been made, we issue a decision notice to the landowner and the relevant local government authority within five business days. Where the decision is made to record land on the CLR, a notice is also given to any registered mortgagee of the land.