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Frequently asked questions

The questions on this page are designed to help you use the public register portal.

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What is contained in the public register?

The requirements of the public register are detailed in sections 540 and 540A of the Environmental Protection Act 1994 and section 147-149 of the Environmental Protection Regulation 2019.

If a document is required to be kept under legislation, the department is typically unable to redact or remove it from the public register.

The department maintains an online Public Register Portal to provide instant access to the most frequently requested record types. If a specific record is not yet available on the portal, it may be obtained via an Information Request.

If you are concerned about a document being publicly available, you may contact the department to clarify what is required under the EP Act. You should seek your own independent legal advice, as departmental officers are not able or authorised to provide legal advice in relation to specific matters.

What is the cost of using the public register?

All records and documents published to the online portal are free of charge to access and download. If you request a copy outside of the online portal, the department may prescribe a reasonable fee for copying a document under section 543 of the Environmental Protection Act 1994.

Can I download information from the portal?

Yes. If a document is published online, it will be made available via its associated record (e.g.: a permit document will be accessible from its related Environmental Authority record). You are able to copy data from the page or download the published document(s).

Please note that documents cannot be exported in bulk. They are provided on a per-record basis.

Search results can also be exported into Excel spreadsheets (XLSX files), using the “Export view” link on the results page. When exporting search results, any filters that have been applied to the search will also be applied to the exported data.

Note: Due to the large number of activities and locations listed on some Environmental Authorities, they may exceed the character limit in Excel in some cases (approximately 32,000 characters per cell). Where this occurs, refer to the online version of the record for more complete details, or download the associated document that was issued.

Where do I find the conditions associated with an Environmental Authority?

The conditions for Environmental Authorities are contained in the downloadable document. If the document is not available in the online portal, it can be obtained via an information request.

If the Environmental Authority has any progressive rehabilitation and closure plans, temporary emission licences, or enforcement actions related to it, these details will be linked to the online record.

Some Environmental Authorities are required to comply with eligibility criteria and standard conditions. Over time, the department has changed how these documents are collated. This means there are several ways eligibility criteria and standard conditions may be represented:

  • they are embedded directly within the permit document (typically for recent permits)
  • the permit document references an online version of the eligibility criteria and standard conditions
  • the conditions of the Environmental Authority were the standard conditions applicable at the time it was granted. View the web page on standard conditions.

Why are there differences between the online record of an Environmental Authority and the details in the downloaded document?

Not every change to an Environmental Authority record requires a new document to be issued (such as an administrative correction or updating a reference number). The online record reflects the latest details recorded on system. The associated document contains the details and conditions that were current at the time that document was issued.

Why do some records not have documents attached?

There are several reasons a document may not be available online. For example, an older document may not yet be digitised due to its age, or a very recent document may not yet be ready for publication.

Documents that are not yet available in the online portal can be obtained via an information request.

How do I notify the department about an error in the portal?

If you believe there is an error in the records and/or documents, please notify us by sending an email to Public.Register@des.qld.gov.au including:

  • Your name (and company, if applicable)
  • Your contact details
  • The name of the entity listed on the record
  • Any associated reference numbers (e.g.: a permit number or enforcement number)
  • Specific details of the error, and any information which may assist in correcting it

Why do the online location searches not always match the exact locations in the document?

There are three main reasons this can occur:

  • The location cannot be tied to a fixed, searchable point (e.g.: a ‘mobile and temporary’ location)
  • Location details are being supplemented by an independent lookup service
  • A location can be inferred from a written document but has not been explicitly notated in the department’s source-of-truth location register.

To see the locations currently recorded on system, refer to the online record. To see more descriptive details that may accompany them, refer to the associated document. Documents that are not available in the portal can be obtained via an information request.

My Lot on Plan search did not return the expected results; is there a better way to search?

Records on the public register reflect the point in time at which the record was created / issued. Changes to land such as subdivisions or reconfigurations can often affect Lot on Plan details, however these changes do not retrospectively flow back to documents and records that have already been issued. To improve your search, it may be appropriate to conduct a title search for other Lot on Plan descriptions and use that information to search the public register.

If you are searching for a resource activity, you can improve your search by using the mining or petroleum tenure instead of a lot or plan number. You can check whether a permit exists for a resource activity by conducting a Public Search for Resource Authorities.

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How do I search the portal?

The portal is divided into logical groupings of records, such as Environmental Authorities, Enforcements, and Temporary Emissions Licences. Each category can be navigated using at least one search parameter (according to its record type). Choosing a category will contextualise the type of search results you see. Refine your search by choosing the most relevant category, including as many details as known, and ensuring they are entered correctly.

If a document is available online, it can be accessed via the search result it relates to.  You are able to export the search results to an Excel spreadsheet or download a specific document by accessing its associated record.

Note: While the portal supports some location-based search parameters, it is not intended to be used as a robust spatial solution. Location-based searches have some constraints which may limit the accuracy of results (for example, where land has been subdivided or reconfigured, or the activity is not defined by a fixed geographic point, or the location name does not match a standardised convention). If the location is successfully validated, the record will be further supplemented with additional details (where available) that can be searched by postcode, locality (also known as suburb), or local government area.

Can I download all documents from the portal at once?

No. Documents are provided on a per-record basis. Locate a record in the online portal, and its associated documents can then be downloaded, if available.

Documents that are not available in the portal can be obtained via an information request.

What is the best way to search for a single record?

If you are looking for a specific record or document, the best search parameter is its unique reference number (e.g.: the permit reference, or an enforcement reference). Otherwise, knowing the name of the individual/organisation it relates to can help narrow results. Searching these fields usually provides the most targeted results.

My search returned a large number of results; how do I find a specific record?

When you conduct a search, results are filtered by the search parameters you apply. The fewer parameters you use, the broader your list of results will be. If you are unsure of the exact combination of parameters to use, you are also able to export the search results into Excel (using the “Export view” link on the results page). You can then use Excel’s functionality for more advanced controls such as find, sort and filter to narrow your search.

Note: When exporting results, only the results displayed on-screen will be included in the export. You can increase the number of records on-screen (up to 500 per page) as desired. Documents are not exported as part of this process, and can be accessed online, on a per-record basis, after you have identified the specific record(s) of interest.

Can I do general topic searches, such as all permits related to a given activity or location?

Yes, it is possible to perform broad searches using few parameters. However, it is important to understand the limits of such searches, and how the parameters interact with each other.

For example, performing a location-based search may not be able to identify a record if the underlying land details have changed (e.g.: Lot on Plan subdivisions and reconfigurations), or if a historical record has not yet been digitised, or the location name does not match a standardised convention. Similarly, you may not be able to search for an Activity that is no longer authorised under the most current legislation.

When conducting broad searches, think about the different ways those records might be referenced, and perform separate searches for each (e.g.: by the permit holder’s name, or a date range). You are able to export the search results and manually combine / manipulate / filter them in Excel, if required.

Can I search records by date?

Yes, it is possible to search records by date. However, it is important to understand what the date relates to and how it will filter the search results.

For example, each search category provides a different type of date that can be searched: Environmental Authorities can be searched by the effective date of the permit, while Enforcements can be searched by their issued date.

Using these date-based searches has some constraints. For example, some Environmental Authorities will not become effective until a future event occurs (which may not have a specified date at the time of searching). These Environmental Authorities will not match any search that is confined to a specific date range.

Similarly, enforcement records can be searched by their issued date, which may not reflect when the originating event actually occurred.

Take some time to familiarise yourself with how the date parameters influence your search results, to improve the quality of your searches.

What do the different ‘status’ options mean across modules?

Records in the portal are typically associated with a permit, licence, or enforcement action. Information about the most common statuses is provided below.

Environmental Authority Status

Explanation

Granted

The environmental authority has been granted and the holder is able to undertake the environmentally relevant activities authorised by the authority.

Granted—Not Effective

The environmental authority has been granted but will not take effect until a prerequisite condition is met (e.g.: a resource tenure or development permit is issued, or a specific event occurs).

Suspended

The environmental authority has been suspended, either voluntarily by the holder or by the administrating authority.

Surrendered

The administering authority has approved the surrender of the environmental authority and it is no longer current.

Cancelled

The administering authority has cancelled the environmental authority and it is no longer current.

Expired

The environmental authority was originally issued by a local government authority and it included an expiry date. The administering authority for the environmental authority subsequently changed to the department and the holder of the environmental authority elected to let the authority expire.

PRC Status

Explanation

Approved

The department has approved the proposed PRCP schedule for the plan.

Application

The Progressive Rehabilitation and Closure Plan application is currently being assessed by the department.

Refused

A decision on the for Progressive Rehabilitation and Closure Plan application has been made and the department has refused the proposed PRCP Schedule.

TEL Status

Explanation

Granted

The temporary emissions licence (TEL)  has been granted and now temporarily allows the holder to release a contaminant into the environment only under the circumstances covered by the conditions of the TEL.

Superseded

This applies to TELs only. A superseded TEL has been replaced by a later version and is no longer is in force. Later versions are created when the TEL is amended by the administering authority.

Enforcement Status

Explanation

Active

There are outstanding obligations which are actively being managed/monitored.

Superseded

The enforcement action has a newer version created

Cancelled

Only used when the Environmental Protection Act 1994 formally provides a head of power to use this status.

Closed

The enforcement action has been closed and no further action is being taken.

Finalised

Obligations have been met or substantially met.

Refused

Used for voluntary transitional environmental program and  environmental evaluation reports that are refused.

Stayed

To be used for enforcement actions that have been stayed by a court.

How do I search by location?

All record types in the portal are associated with some kind of location reference, which is related to the authorised activity or enforcement action. You can search for location details by:

  • Location description (e.g.: a street address, a resource tenure, or a lot on plan)
  • Postcode
  • Locality (also known as Suburb)
  • Local Government Area

To verify whether a resource tenures exists, you can conduct a Public Search for Resource Authorities.

These location details may be supplemented both from departmental source-of-truth records as well as independent lookup services. As such, the department provides no warranty as to the currency of supplemented search details. For example, a lot on plan may fail to be validated and matched to a suburb / LGA if it is an historic reference that has since been subdivided or reconfigured.

Generally, you should try to avoid combining multiple location parameters in a single search, as it is more likely to exclude some results that do not exactly match every criterion. If in doubt, use the generic “Location” search box to enter a partial search term (such as part of a street address, a mining tenure, or a lot on plan number).

When searching by lot on plan, do not include the words ‘Lot’ or ‘Plan’, and you must know at least two digits. For example, you cannot just search for the number ‘1’.

If a location is non-standard (i.e.: it is not expressed as a verifiable street address, lot on plan, or tenure reference), then the search in the portal is unlikely to return results. Examples of non-standard locations can include:

  • locations that are offset in relation to something else (e.g.: it is ‘adjacent to’ a landmark)
  • the lot on plan has been changed since the time of the document’s original creation
  • the land intersects multiple boundaries, or the boundaries have recently changed

If you are searching by the Locality (suburb) or Local Government Area parameters, records with non-standard locations may be excluded from your results. Try searching using other details such as a document reference, an organisation/individual name, or activity to find the information and documents you are looking for.

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How do I submit a public register information request?

To access records on the Public Register we recommend that you first search the Public Register Portal. If your search is unsuccessful, you may submit a Public Register Information Request.

Your request can be actioned where it is in accordance with section 540 and 540A of the Environmental Protection Act 1994.

The Information Request form is divided into different search channels. The ‘Due Diligence’ channel is targeted at broad searches that are based on a defined piece of land, such as a specific Lot on Plan number.

Within each channel, the search is divided into three steps:

  • Step 1: define search parameters (the list of available parameters may change according to the search channel that has been selected)
  • Step 2: compare online results (any records which are published online can be accessed directly from this step. If you are able to find the information or document you wanted, you do not need to proceed further)
  • Step 3: submit request details (used to specify the exact record(s) you are seeking, which are not available online)

You are able to repeat this process to combine multiple requests into a single submission (if required). Once you have added all the necessary request items, the final stage is to provide your contact details and submit it to the department for processing.

If you are unable to use the Information Request form for any reason, please contact the department to discuss other options.

When will I get a response?

Many records are provided live through the online portal, which can be accessed immediately. For those records which are not yet available online, information requests will be processed according to their size and complexity. The department is typically able to provide a response within 10 to 75 business days. This timeframe is heavily influenced by several factors, including:

  • Searching for current records (faster) versus historic records (slower)
  • Providing specific search terms (faster) versus broad parameters (slower)
  • Searching records which are not yet digitised e.g.: hardcopy archives (slower)

For requests with a very complex / broad scope, the processing time may take up to (or exceed) 75 business days. Some example requests and the estimated timeframes are included below:

Request category

Example

Estimated timeframe

Simple

Requesting the current version of a single document reference that has been created after 2013.

10 business days

Moderate

Requesting current versions of less than 5 documents (after 2013) when searching by a single location or a specific document reference.

15 business days

Intermediate

Requesting any versions of a single document created prior to 2013 when searching by a single location or a specific document reference.

Requesting current versions of less than 5 documents (after 2013) when searching by a single entity name.

25 business days

Significant

Requesting any version of all document types when searching by a single location or a specific document reference.

40 business days

Complex

Requesting any version of all document types when searching by multiple locations, or multiple document references, or a single entity name.

60 business days

Very complex

Requesting any version of all document types when searching by multiple entity names.

75 business days