You can book a free pre-referral meeting before you submit a referral. This meeting helps you to understand the referral process better. It can also help you to plan ahead.
Book a meeting to discuss your questions about the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Act 1999 (EPBC Act) and your project.
Meeting with an assessment officer early in your project will help you to understand:
- what you need to know before you submit a referral
- our referral and assessment processes.
It also a good time to ask our staff any questions about your project.
Book a pre-referral meeting once you've:
- completed a self-assessment
- used the Protected Matters Search Tool
- considered any protected matters that your project or action might impact.
This meeting is a good idea when you:
- are planning to refer your project to us
- don't understand what the EPBC Act means for your project
- want to discuss any potential impacts or protected matters
- have questions about our processes, including what they may cost.
You don't legally need to book a pre-referral meeting, but it will help you to understand the potential impact of your project.
If you're not sure whether you need to refer your project, we strongly recommend booking a meeting.
Prepare for the meeting
Before your meeting, complete a self-assessment. It may also help to know what's involved in the referral process.
You should have information ready about your project, such as:
- a location or map of the project (if available)
- a description of your project, including a timeline
- a time frame for when you might make your referral
- any survey or supporting information you might already have
- a list of any questions you may have for us.
Complete and return the information on proposed action template (DOCX 97 KB). This will give you a guide on what else you may need to bring to a pre-referral meeting.
The information you provide will help our assessment officers to prepare for the meeting, and ensure it meets your needs.
You'll also need to tell us what you want to discuss by drafting an agenda. You can use our pre-referral meeting agenda template (DOCX 83 KB).
At the meeting
You'll meet with our assessment officers. The meeting is likely to take about 30 minutes.
You can choose whether to hold the meeting online, over the phone or face-to-face.
We'll talk about the EPBC Act and the referral process. We'll explain:
- the referral and assessment process and timelines
- what costs you could expect
- what kind of information and documentation to include with your referral.
We'll also discuss the information you provided. This could include:
- details of previous referrals for the project (if any)
- research on your project, like surveys or baseline studies
- details of how your project may impact protected matters
- details of how you have avoided impacts or will try to minimise them
- solutions that could stop or shrink impacts
- other environmental actions you might be planning.
Outcome of the meeting
After the meeting, you'll be better informed about the referral and assessment process, and the kinds of things we need to know about your project.
We won't know everything about your project until you've referred it. This means that after the meeting, we won't be able to tell you whether or not:
- you need to refer your action
- your project is likely to be approved.
You need to decide whether or not to refer your project based on your self-assessment.
If you're not sure, the only way to achieve legal certainty is to refer it. If you decide not to refer it, and your project has an impact on a protected matter, there may be legal consequences [link to new page 'Action without approvals'].
The pre-referral meeting helps to give you all the right information before you decide.
Book your pre-referral meeting
To book a pre-referral meeting:
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Phone: 1800 423 135 between 9 am and 5 pm Canberra time
- Post a letter to:
Referrals Gateway and Business Systems
Governance and Reform Branch
Environment Approvals Division
Department of Climate Change, Energy, Environment and Water
GPO Box 3090
CANBERRA ACT 2601