The Queensland Government is committed to reducing red tape by 20%. To contribute to this, the Greentape Reduction project is implementing changes to Queensland’s Environmental Protection Act 1994 and subordinate legislation.
The Greentape Reduction amendments to the Environmental Protection Act 1994 and subsequent amendments to the Environmental Protection Regulation 2008 commenced on 31 March 2013 and are now in force. For information on applying for and managing your environmental authority refer to the business and industry portal.
- The Greentape Reduction Act
- Amendments to the Environmental Protection Regulation – A Review of environmentally relevant activities
- Small scale mining reforms
- Developing eligibility criteria and standard conditions for environmentally relevant activities
The Greentape Reduction Act
The Environmental Protection (Greentape Reduction) and Other Legislation Amendment Act 2012 (the Greentape Reduction Act) was passed by parliament on 31 July 2012 and commenced on 31 March 2013.
The Greentape Reduction Act amended the Environmental Protection Act 1994 to introduce an integrated approval process for environmentally relevant activities (ERAs) that is proportional to the environmental risk. Further information is available in the updated frequently asked questions and a quick guide to the Greentape Reduction Act.
Amendments to the Environmental Protection Regulation – A Review of environmentally relevant activities
- Delete the following 20 environmentally relevant activities thresholds from Schedule 2 of the Environmental Protection Regulation 2008
|Environmentally Relevant Activity (ERA) Name||ERA threshold||Example businesses||Regulated by|
|ERA 2 - Intensive animal feedlotting||1a - keeping 50–150 standard cattle units in a feedlot||Small cattle feedlots||Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry|
|ERA 2 - Intensive animal feedlotting||2a - keeping 350–1000 standard sheep units in a feedlot||Small sheep feedlots||Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry|
|ERA 3 - Pig keeping||1 - keeping 21–400 standard pig units||Small piggeries||Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry|
|ERA 6 - Asphalt manufacturing||a - manufacturing of asphalt in a year <1000 tonnes||Small asphalt manufacturers||Local government|
|ERA 8 - Chemical storage||3a - storing of 10m3 to 500m3 of chemicals of class C1 or C2 combustible liquids under AS 1940 or dangerous goods class 3||Small petrol stations, small fuel depots||Local government|
|ERA 16 - Extractive and screening activities||
2a - extracting (other than dredging) less than 5000 tonnes of material in a year if the material is extracted from a wild river area
2A - screening 50 tonnes to less than 5000 tonnes of material in a wild river area in a year
|Small quarries near declared wild rivers areas||Department of Environment and Heritage Protection|
|ERA 17 - Abrasive blasting||Commercial operators who use abrasive blasting to clean surfaces (inc. mobile and temporary)||Local government|
|ERA 18 - Boilermaking or engineering||
a - producing 200 tonnes to 10,000 tonnes of metal product in a year
b - producing more than 10,000 tonnes of metal product in a year
|Welders, steel workers||Local government|
|ERA 21 - Motor vehicle workshop operation||Motor vehicle repair shops including spray painting and body panel work, garages, spray painters||Local government|
|ERA 34 - Mushroom growing substrate manufacture||Manufacturers of compost for mushroom growing||Department of Environment and Heritage Protection|
|ERA 37 - Printing||
a - printing 200 to 1000 tonnes of materials in a year
b - printing more than 1000 tonnes of material in a year
|Commercial printers||Local government|
|ERA 38 - Surface coating||2a - coating, painting or powder coating using 1 to 100 tonnes of surface coating material p.a.||Powder coating businesses, including spray painting of cabinets||Local government|
|ERA 43 - Concrete batching||Concrete batching plants||Local government|
|ERA 48 - Wooden and laminated product manufacturing||1 - manufacturing more than 100 tonnes of wooden products in a year||Cabinet makers, joiners||Local government|
|ERA 54 - Drum and container reconditioning||Drum and container reconditioners||Department of Environment and Heritage Protection|
|ERA 56 - Regulated waste storage||1 - receiving and storing 5 tonnes or more, or 500 or more equivalent passenger units, of tyres or parts of tyres||Tyre depots||Department of Environment and Heritage Protection|
|ERA 63 - Sewage treatment||1 - operating no-release works with a total daily peak design capacity of at least 21 equivalent persons||Self contained, no release plants where trucks are used to collect both treated effluent and biosolids||Department of Environment and Heritage Protection|
- Halve small sewage treatment plant annual fees.
- Introduce new application fees to reflect processes introduced by the Greentape Reduction Act.
- Reduce the number of referrals required under the Sustainable Planning Regulation 2009 for applications for, and amendments to, environmental authorities by nominating ‘concurrence ERAs’.
- Amend the regulatory requirements for making environmental decisions to support the separation of development approvals and environmental authorities, making it clear which considerations must be made for deciding and imposing conditions on each permit type.
- Amend the regulatory requirements to ensure applications for an environmental authority are assessed based on environmental objectives which have clear performance outcomes.
- Move responsibility for administration of ERA 4 – Poultry farming from local governments to the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry.
These initiatives have the potential to benefit up to 9400 small to medium sized businesses, saving an estimated $6.18 million in annual fees for business and industry.
Further information on amendments to the Environmental Protection Regulation 2008 is available in the updated frequently asked questions.
Small scale mining reforms
The Mining and Other Legislation Amendment Act 2013 (MOLA Act) was passed by parliament on 19 March 2013 and commenced on 31 March 2013. It provides further Greentape Reduction measures for the small scale mining sector.
The MOLA Act removes the requirement under the Environmental Protection Act 1994 for low-risk exploration activities and low-risk opal and gemstone mining activities operating on a mining claim to hold an environmental authority. To find out if you meet the criteria that apply to small scale mining activities, please go to the business and industry portal.
These activities will be defined as ‘small scale mining activities’ and will be restricted (through criteria) in size and where they can operate so that only low risk activities will be able to operate without an environmental authority.
Operators will still need to comply with the general environmental duty under the Environmental Protection Act 1994 and be subject to the enforcement tools of the Act. In addition, requirements for financial assurance and rehabilitation will continue to apply through conditions which will be prescribed in the Environmental Protection Regulation 2008.
The MOLA Act modifies the mining claim tenure framework under the Mineral Resources Act 1989 to allow mining claims up to 20 hectares in size to be granted to eligible opal and gemstone miners. This will allow miners on mining lease tenures to apply to the Department of Natural Resources and Mines to convert their mining leases to one (or if necessary, two) mining claims. If granted, the operator may be eligible to have their environmental authority cancelled.
Further information on the changes for small scale miners is available in the updated frequently asked questions.
Developing eligibility criteria and standard conditions for environmentally relevant activities
Under the Greentape Reduction Act, an application for an environmental authority that is to be subject to standard conditions is deemed to be a standard application.
A standard application must include a declaration that each relevant activity complies with the eligibility criteria. For a resource activity, the eligibility criteria must be prescribed under a regulation and can also be made by the chief executive under section 318 of the Greentape Reduction Act.
Note that under the Greentape Reduction Act, the definition of ERA has been amended to include resource activities like geothermal, greenhouse gas storage, mining or petroleum activities.
Where a company cannot comply with the eligibility criteria, a site-specific application is required to enable an impact assessment to be carried out. Where a company can comply with the eligibility criteria and does not want to—or cannot comply with a standard condition—they may make an application to vary the particular condition(s).
* Requires Adobe Reader