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Community involvement in mining and petroleum lease approvals

EIS under the State Development and Public Works Organisation Act 1971

A resource company would be required to complete an EIS under the State Development and Public Works Organisation Act 1971 if the Coordinator-General declares the project to be a ‘coordinated project’ for which an EIS is required.

The Coordinator-General may decide a project should be declared a coordinated project if it has one or more of the following characteristics:

  • complex local, state or federal government approval requirements
  • strategic significance to the locality, region or the state, including for the infrastructure, economic and social benefits, capital investment or employment opportunities it may provide
  • significant environmental effects
  • significant infrastructure requirements.

A coordinated project may use the impact assessment report (IAR) process if the Coordinator-General is satisfied that the environmental effects of the project do not, having regard to their scale and extent, require assessment through the EIS process. Read more about the IAR process.

If a project has the potential to have a significant impact on a 'matter of national environmental significance' (MNES), the project proponent must refer it to the Commonwealth Minister for the Environment under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act). If the Minister determines that a project may have an impact on MNES, it is deemed to be a 'controlled action'.

If an environmental impact assessment of a controlled action is required, including through an EIS process, the assessment may be conducted under the Queensland environmental assessment bilateral agreement with the Australian Government. This eliminates unnecessary duplication.

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Community participation in State Development and Public Works Organisation Act 1971 EIS process

Comment on draft terms of reference

Terms of reference are used to define the general and specific matters the project proponent must address when preparing the EIS. Before the EIS can be drafted, the Coordinator-General under the State Development and Public Works Organisation Act 1971 must develop a terms of reference for the project.

The Coordinator-General may decide to invite comments on the draft terms of reference through a public notification process. If so, the Coordinator-General will consider the comments received when finalising the terms of reference.

The consultation period typically runs for at least 20 business days, following the publication of the public notices. A list of open public consultations is available at the Consultation Hub.

Submission on EIS

The resource company prepares a draft EIS once the terms of reference are finalised. If the Coordinator-General considers the draft EIS addresses the terms of reference, then the resource company must publicly notify the draft EIS.

Any person may make a submission on the draft EIS. The submission period typically runs for at least 30 business days. If the project is a 'controlled action', the length of the EIS consultation period must be at least 28 business days.

A list of open public consultations is available at the Consultation Hub.

The Coordinator-General must consider the submissions when deciding whether or not to accept the draft EIS as final.

If you decide to make a submission on the draft EIS, it must be ‘properly made’. This means the submission must:

  • be written or electronically submitted
  • be signed by each submitter
  • state the name and address of each submitter
  • be addressed to the Coordinator-General
  • be received before the close of the submission period
  • state the grounds of the submission and the facts and circumstances relied on in support of the grounds.

Submission on revised draft EIS

After considering the draft EIS and submissions made on the draft EIS, the Coordinator-General may ask the project proponent to provide additional information in a revised draft EIS.

Normally, the revised draft EIS is not released for public comment. However, the Coordinator-General may require public consultation on the revised draft EIS. If so, any person may make a submission on the revised draft EIS.

The Coordinator-General must consider the submissions made on the revised draft EIS when deciding whether or not to accept the revised draft EIS as final.

EIS submitters may object to EA

Individuals who make a submission during the EIS process are able to later object to the approval of an EA for a mining project in the Land Court, or appeal to the Land Court about a decision to approve an EA for a petroleum project.

In some circumstances, making a submission on the EIS may be the only opportunity for the public to make a submission about a proposed project on environmental grounds. This is because there is no ability to make a submission on the environmental authority if:

  • the project’s EIS has been completed
  • the project’s environmental risks of the activities have not changed since they were assessed in the EIS
  • the way the activities will be carried out has changed, the change is unlikely to attract a submission.

The Coordinator-General will write an evaluation report on the EIS, and can recommend either the project proceed subject to conditions and recommendations or be refused.

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Related information

Read more about the resource company’s obligations in the EIS process.

In this guide:

  1. Environmental impact statements
  2. EIS under the Environmental Protection Act 1994
  3. EIS under the State Development and Public Works Organisation Act 1971
  4. Environmental authorities for mining projects
  5. Environmental authorities for petroleum projects

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