Under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act), the Commonwealth Environment minister can make a written agreement with a state or territory government called a bilateral agreement. The Australian Government has established bilateral agreements with every state and territory.
About bilateral agreements
The EPBC allows for agreements between governments to assess projects together.
Under a bilateral agreement, the Australian Government and state or territory authorities agree to follow processes to assess environmental impacts that reduce duplication. These assessments can be efficient and effective.'
A bilateral agreement can strengthen cooperation and streamline processes between governments.
To make a bilateral agreement, the Commonwealth minister must follow processes under the EPBC Act to help safeguard protected matters.
Read the detail on bilateral agreements in Chapter 3 of the EPBC Act.
Bilateral agreements have been in place with all states and territories since 2015:
- Australian Capital Territory (ACT)
- New South Wales (NSW)
- Northern Territory (NT)
- Queensland (Qld)
- South Australia (SA)
- Tasmania (Tas.)
- Victoria (Vic.)
- Western Australia (WA)
A bilateral agreement assessment allows a state or territory to conduct a single process to assess the environmental impacts of a proposed action (project or development).
After their assessment, the state or territory gives us a report assessing assessing the project's likely impacts on protected matters.
When assessed in this way a project needs our approval, as well as one from the state or territory, before it can go ahead
To learn more about shared environmental assessments in your state, please contact your local authority.
Get in touch
To learn more about shared environmental assessments in your state, contact your local authority or our Referrals Gateway team:
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Phone: 1800 423 135 between 9 am and 5 pm Canberra time.