If the Environment minister has approved your action under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act), it will most likely be subject to conditions. Additionally, your approval period will have an expiry date. Learn what you need to do to request changes.
Your project has an approval under the EPBC Act because it could impact protected matters.
We publish decisions about your project on our EPBC Act Public Portal, where the public can view them.
After the Environment minister approves your project, we publish a notice called a 'decision on approval of action' there. You must comply with everything in the notice.
Getting an approval notice
The approval notice will include:
- the approved action (project)
- the end date of your approval period
- the person who approved your project
- the conditions you must meet.
Conditions on approvals
If you have conditions on your approval, they'll be listed in your approval notice.
The minister may attach a condition if they decide it:
- is necessary to protect a relevant protected matter
- will avoid, mitigate or offset damage to an affected protected matter.
If the minister decides to add conditions, their decision could be:
- to add a single condition to comply with state or territory conditions
- to add custom conditions that increase protection beyond any state or territory conditions, plus standard administrative conditions.
If you breach any approval conditions, you may face civil or criminal penalties. If you have any questions about complying with your approval conditions, either:
- read our Referrals and assessments guide for details
- email the Compliance team on email@example.com.
Administrative conditions could include:
- notifying us when your project starts and ends
- keeping compliance records
- providing annual compliance reports
- arranging independent audits.
Read more about condition decisions in the EPBC Act Condition Setting Policy.
You may have to meet some conditions before you commence your action, such as:
Decisions and changes after approval
After getting an approval notice, you can apply to:
- have a management plan approved
- vary the conditions of approval
- revise a management plan
- transfer your approval to someone else
- extend the approval period.
You must make these requests to firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can ask us to vary the conditions on your approved controlled action. This might happen if your project or situation changes.
You can't vary a condition if the minister determined that your project was 'not a controlled action – particular manner (NCA-PM)'.
If you wish to make a change to your action such that it's no longer consistent with the project you originally referred, you may need to lodge a new referral.
To discuss your proposed changes and determine whether you'll need a new referral, contact the relevant assessment area through the EPBC Act Business Portal.
If the minister determined that your project was a controlled action, they can revoke, vary or add conditions to your approval if:
- your action has, or will have, a significant impact that wasn't clear during assessment, and changing it will protect a matter
- your action has, or will have, a bigger impact than you realised during assessment, and changing it will protect a matter
- the change will protect a matter, or repair or mitigate damage to it, and either:
- you agree to the change, or
- the minister extends the approval period.
To request a change (variation) to conditions, email email@example.com with:
- details of the change you're seeking (we can agree on condition wording later)
- your reasons for proposing the change
- how the proposed change will alter your project's impacts, mitigation or offsets.
The minister will give you their decision in writing, and we'll publish it on EPBC Act Public Portal.
Revising a management plan
If your conditions require you to implement an action management plan, you can apply for the minister to approve a revised version of the plan. To apply, write to us with:
- your contact details
- the EPBC number
- the revised plan, with all changes tracked
- an explanation of the differences between the approved and proposed plans
- the reasons you think you need to revise the plan
- any changes to impacts on protected matters that could happen if the minister approves the revised plan.
In some cases, a condition may allow you to implement a revised plan without requiring the minister to approve it. If you're making a change, you'll first need to decide whether it could impact a protected matter. To help with that decision, follow our advice on new or increased impacts.
Either way, before you act other than according to an approved plan, you must either:
- have approval to do so
- follow the process outlined here.
Different fees can apply to revisions, depending on whether they're administrative or not.
Transferring an approval
An approval can either be held by a person or an ‘entity’ like a company. In some cases, the person or company controlling the approved action may change. If this happens, you must apply to transfer the project's approval to the person or company that will be responsible for the action.
This might happen if:
- you sell the land on which you planned to undertake the action to another person
- a different person or organisation becomes responsible for your project
- you change your ABN or ACN, or replace a statutory body.
You don’t need to transfer approval if you’re just changing your business name.
If the person who currently holds the approval in a company will leave or step down, transferring the approval to the company may be a good option. Doing so may help the company avoid the need to transfer the approval later on.
Only the current approval holder can ask us to transfer the approval. You can't transfer an approval if the current approval holder no longer exists as a legal entity.
Requesting the transfer
To request the transfer, email firstname.lastname@example.org with:
- the EPBC number of the action, and the ABNs or ACNs of all current and proposed new approval holders
- written evidence of the agreement to transfer from the current approval holder to the proposed approval holder/s
- evidence of the agreement by the proposed approval holder/s that they'll comply with the conditions attached to the approval
- evidence that the current approval holder has complied with the conditions
- evidence of the environmental history of the proposed approval holder/s.
We'll acknowledge your request and let you know if we need more information.
If the minister agrees to the transfer, you'll receive a notice from them confirming this. We'll also publish the decision on EPBC Act Public Portal.
See our policy statement on transferring approvals for more information.
When the entity that holds an approval dissolves, dies, ceases or winds up
In some cases, a company that holds an approval doesn't transfer it before they liquidate, become insolvent or go into receivership. Or, if the approval holder is a natural person, they may die before transferring their approval.
However, only the current approval holder can ask to transfer the approval. If you want to undertake the project, and the current approval holder cannot transfer the approval to you, you'll need to lodge a new referral.
Extending the approval period
If your approval expires before you complete your project, you may need to refer the project (or the part of it that will continue) to us again. Continuing a project past the approval expiry could have compliance consequences for taking an action without approval.
If completing your project - including any decommissioning, remediation and offsetting - will take longer than the approval period, you must apply to extend the period.
Only the holder of an approved controlled action can apply to extend the approval period.
To extend your approval period, email email@example.com before it expires with:
- the EPBC number of your action
- the new time frame you’d like
- evidence that you've complied with the conditions of approval
- your reasons for the extension.
If relevant, also send:
- evidence that the conditions of approval provide enough protection for protected matters (including matters listed under the EPBC Act since you referred your action) for the extended period
- evidence that any impacts your project has on protected matters are, and will continue to be, similar to those already approved
- any relevant economic and social matters that you want the decision-maker to consider.
We'll acknowledge your extension request and let you know if we need more information.
The minister will consider whether the extension will increase or change the impacts your project has on protected matters. They'll then aim to make their decision within 20 business days, and will:
- notify you in writing
- publish the decision on EPBC Act Public Portal.
Shortening approval periods
We can't shorten an approval period. If your project plan changes to a point where it no longer reflects the project you referred, you may need to refer the project to us again.
However, if you've completed your project and met all condition requirements, you can ask to vary the conditions to reduce or end your annual compliance reporting obligations.
Get in touch
For any general questions about EPBC Act approvals and requests, contact the Post Approvals Section:
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Phone: 1800 423 135 between 9 am and 5 pm Canberra time.