If you refer a project under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Act 1999 (EPBC Act), you'll need to pay fees unless you qualify for an exemption or waiver. Fees help us to recover the costs of the assessment and approval process.
You may need Australian Government approval if your proposed project or development could impact protected matters.
If your project may need approval, you must first refer it to us and pay the referral fee.
If your project needs a full assessment, you'll pay more fees.
These fees cover the costs of processing your application and assessing your referral for approval. The referral fee is standard for all applications but the assessment fees vary depending on your project.
Learn more about our cost recovery process.
Projects only need referral if they will, or are likely to, have a significant impact on protected matters. Avoid paying unnecessary fees by:
- doing a self-assessment
- booking a free pre-referral meeting with us
- giving us as much helpful information as possible.
The set referral fee is $6,577.
When you refer a project to us under the EPBC Act, we'll send you an invoice for this amount.
If the Environment minister decides that your project is not a controlled action, it won't need assessment. You can start your project without paying more fees.
If the minister decides your project is a controlled action, it will go through the assessment process.
Reconsideration of controlled action decision
You can ask the minister to reconsider a controlled action decision.
The fee to request reconsideration is $6,577.
We'll decide which assessment approach your project will go through.
If your project is a controlled action, we'll send you a decision notice that includes a decision on the assessment approach.
We'll also include a schedule of fees for your assessment.
The base fee is different for each method of assessment:
- Assessments on referral information: $8,964.
- Assessments on preliminary documentation: $8,010.
- Assessments by public environment report or environmental impact: $25,583.
- Assessments by bilateral agreement or accredited process: $18,146.
However, the total fee may be higher, depending on your project's complexity and the work we need to do to assess it.
Minimising assessment fees
To keep fees down:
- plan to take your action in a way that avoids or minimises potential impacts on protected matters
- include enough information in your referral documents, such as surveys, to clearly show how you've avoided significant impacts on protected matters
- provide everything else we may ask for as we move through the process
- provide clear information about what you'll do, the impacts you'll have and how you'll undertake your project.
These measures will minimise the time we'll take to assess your project.
Any stop-clock process, such as asking you for more information, will add more costs and delay a decision.
Fee for evaluating management plans
You can have management plans approved at no cost during the approval process.
The fee for evaluating management plans after approval is $2,690.
Contingent activities fees
You may have to pay additional fees before we can begin working on your application or assessing your project.
For an assessment, there will be staged fees. We'll be clear about when the fees for each stage are due.
Requesting more information
The fee is $1,701 if the minister needs more information to:
- make a referral decision
- decide on an assessment approach
- decide on approval.
This is known as a stop-clock process, or stop-clock fee.
Varying action management plans
There are 2 fees to vary a management plan:
- $2,690 for the variation
- $710 for the administration.
Asking for a reconsideration of fees
If you don't agree with the schedule of fees we give you, you can ask for a reconsideration within 30 days. You can only do this once.
Send your request in writing to the assessment area responsible for assessing your project.
Paying assessment fees
We break the fees into 4 stages over the assessment process, which will be clear in your schedule of fees.
We'll revisit your remaining assessment fees:
- once you've given us all the information we asked for
- your information has been made available for public comment.
The information you give us may change some of the complexities and uncertainties of your assessment. This means your remaining fees may reduce.
We'll send you a statement of charges for the fees you need to pay. You can pay by credit card, bank transfer or cheque.
We won't progress assessment stages until you've paid the requested fee at that time.
Claiming an exemption
People who are not acting on behalf of a company are exempt from fees. To work out whether you're exempt, check Part 5 Subdivision M of the EPBC Regulations.
You may also be exempt if you're a small business. Check your referral application to see if you meet the Australian Tax Office criteria for a small business.
Fill in information including:
- the day or income year when you became a small business entity (if applicable)
- a declaration that you're not taking the action on behalf of, or for the benefit of, another person or entity.
If you're eligible for an exemption, you cannot apply for a waiver.
Applying for a waiver
If you're not exempt from a fee, you may apply for a waiver. You can only apply for a waiver at the time you submit a referral.
To work out whether you're eligible, check Part 5 Subdivision K of the EPBC Regulations.
Apply in writing to the minister for a waiver and include:
- your name and contact details
- your ABN or ACN, if you have one
- the referral number (if available)
- the grounds on which you consider a waiver should be made and the reasons that you think it should be granted.
We'll decide within 20 business days whether to grant your request for a waiver.
Once we have made the waiver decision, we'll let you know. If we don't grant the waiver, you'll need to pay the referral fee.
We'll then start the 20-business-day referral decision process.
Get in touch
For more information about the fees, please contact our Referrals Gateway team:
- Email: email@example.com
- Phone: 1800 423 135 between 9 am and 5 pm Canberra time.