Frequently asked questions

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


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. An exception is where the department is satisfied, in accordance with section 542A of the EP Act, that the release of particular information would put someone’s personal safety at risk.

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 information may be redacted from the public register?

In accordance with section 542A of the Environmental Protection Act 1994, if the department is satisfied that someone’s personal safety would be put at risk if particular information (for example, the person’s address or other contact details) were made available on the public register, the department must ensure that that information is not made publicly available.

If a person has concerns about their personal information being made available on the public register, they can request that the department withhold particular information by completing the Application to withhold personal information from a public register (ESR/2023/6439) (DOCX, 188KB).

For further information please phone: 1300 130 372 (option 4) in business hours.

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 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.

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 categoryExample 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