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Managing contaminated land

General environmental duty

When dealing with land that is, or may be contaminated, you must meet the general environmental duty (GED) and also obtain any permits that may be required to carry out development on the land or to remove contaminated soil.

All persons have a GED under the Environmental Protection Act 1994 (EP Act) to not carry out any activity that causes, or is likely to cause, environmental harm unless the person takes all reasonable and practicable measures to prevent or minimise the harm.

Essentially a duty of care, the GED applies to all persons undertaking activities (including notifiable activities) in Queensland or outside Queensland that may affect Queensland's environment.

Landowners and occupiers of land which is listed on the EMR or CLR, or suspected of being contaminated, must ensure that they meet their GED when using the land to ensure that any risks to human health and the environment are known and managed.

Where the nature and extent of the contamination and associated risks to human health and the environment are not reasonably well known, meeting the GED would include actively seeking information to understand risks and implement measures to prevent or minimise environmental harm. For example by engaging a suitably qualified person to investigate the site, prior to commencing an activity that may disturb contaminants.

In this guide:

  1. General environmental duty
  2. Duty to notify
  3. Removals and changes to land registers
  4. Reconfiguring land
  5. Buying and selling contaminated land

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