We're improving the way we process environmental assessments under the EPBC Act. A new referral form and online portals that will simplify the referral, assessment and public comments processes, is available from Thursday 7 April 2022.
Continued funding has been secured for ongoing system enhancements through to 2025, this will ensure the system can continue to grow and adapt to meet future business needs. This funding includes enhancements to both the Business and Public portals as well as the new referral form. If you have any suggestions on how we can make improvements, you can send them to EPBC.RSU@awe.gov.au.
On 29 March 2022 the EPBC Act referral submission component of Online Services was disabled. Read only access will be available for a limited time.
New EPBC Act Business Portal
The new Business Portal replaces the old way of lodging referrals via Online Services. The new portal design included extensive stakeholder consultation and has been built to be more intuitive and user friendly for all users.
All project information, with the exception of not-yet-submitted draft applications, and all the referrals actions that you have previously used in Online Services, will be available in the new Business Portal.
You will need to create a new EPBC Act Business Portal account if:
- you need to submit a new referral
- you have an existing assessment underway
- you have an existing approval
- you need to contact the department about any of your assessments and/or approvals and are making a request or submitting a variation.
You need to create a new business portal account:
- before you submit a new referral
- if you are in any statutory decision stages of the referrals or assessments – in this instance create your account as soon as possible as future communications will be sent through the portal
- for existing approvals – prior to contacting the department to submit documents or request variations.
Have Your Say is still open for comments for referrals which are within their comment period.
EPBC Act Public Notices is still available for viewing and new notices are being published as needed.
New EPBC Act Public Portal
The Public Portal has been developed to replace the EPBC Act Public Notices and Have Your Say pages. It has been designed to improve the way in which we process referrals and capture feedback under the EPBC Act.
Public comments for projects submitted in the new Business Portal will be made through the new Public Portal.
As a member of the public, you'll be able to follow a projects progress and comment when you have the opportunity.
Referrals submitted via Online Services before 29 March will be concluded using the existing system, with public comments made via the EPBC Act Public Notices and Have Your Say pages.
Purpose of the project
We're improving the way we process referrals and environmental assessments under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act).
The project has been running since May 2020, the first release is 7 April 2022 with enhancements running through to the end of June 2022.
The three key areas of change are:
- A new online EPBC Act Business Portal and a new referral form for assessment applications. As a proponent, you'll be able to see how your application is progressing through the assessment process, as well as:
- receive notifications
- provide any information we request
- make payments
- A new online dedicated EPBC Act Public Portal. As a member of the public, you'll be able to follow a project’s progress and comment when you have the opportunity.
- A new digital environmental assessment system. This will integrate both portals with assessment and other government data sources. As a result, everyone will be able to make better-informed environmental decisions.
Benefits of the project
Improving these things will create a better experience for everyone by:
- reducing the time to complete referrals by simplifying and automating processes
- increasing the level of transparency by allowing:
- proponents to track progress and provide information when requested
- everyone to track and comment on referrals
- improving our processing times by delivering a user-friendly assessment process
How did we get here?
Quarter 4 2020
- Consultations with proponents and the public to understand their needs.
Quarter 2 2021
- Build commences.
- External working group convenes to ensure what we build and how we transition to the new system meets our users’ needs.
Quarter 3 2021
- Ongoing scheduled engagement commences with the External Working Group.
Quarter 4 2021
- Webinar series for impacted or interested stakeholders commence.
- Tools and information to help transition from the old system to the new become available, including a comparison of the current Online Services form with the new referral form.
- Internal and external users test the system to get it ready for launch.
- Training begins for staff who'll support the new system and its users.
Quarter 1 2022
- Webinars 3 and 4 were delivered to ready external stakeholders for the transition.
- External Working Group led sessions to ensure deliverables are fit for purpose.
Quarter 2 2022
- New EPBC Act Business Portal and Referral Form launch.
- New EPBC Act Public Portal launches.
- New digital referral and assessment system launches.
- Online training videos and user guides become available.
- Continuous improvement to June 2022.
Get in touch
If you have any questions about the project, email EPBC.RSU@awe.gov.au