Your activity may need authorising under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act). This law helps us to protect and manage nationally significant plants, animals, habitats and places. There are penalties for unauthorised activities. Apply for a permit or licence before you begin your activity.
Unauthorised interactions with listed species
You must notify the Secretary of the Department within 7 days of becoming aware of your unauthorised activity interacting with a listed species.
In this context, 'interacting with' means unintentionally killing, injuring, trading, taking, keeping or moving a listed species.
'Listed species' means either:
- a member of a listed threatened species
- a member of a listed threatened ecological community
- any cetacean (whale, dolphin or porpoise) species
- a member of a listed migratory species
- a member of a listed marine species.
If you need to report someone else's activity, you can report a breach of the EPBC Act.
The Australian Government has signed a number of agreements with other parties to protect and conserve biodiversity in an area of land or sea. These agreements are established under Chapter 5 Part 14 of the EPBC Act.
Learn more about our conservation agreements.
Sea dumping permits
Deliberately dumping waste and other matter in Australian waters is prohibited. However, you can apply for a permit for disposing of some controlled materials. This also covers burials at sea and building artificial reefs.
Learn more about sea dumping permits.
Commonwealth area permits
Access to biological resources
If you're doing research and development on any genetic resources or biochemical compounds, you can apply for a permit to access biological resources in Commonwealth areas.
Some activities in Commonwealth parks and reserves need a permit, licence or lease. These activities include:
- commercial events and tours
- commercial filming and photography
Some activities in Australian Marine Parks (marine protected areas) need a permit, class approval or activity licence in line with the marine park management plans.
Some commercial activities and operations in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park and the Great Barrier Reef (Coast) Marine Park also require a permit.
- Environmental Impact Assessment approvals from the Australian Antarctic Program.
Species and ecological communities permits
In or on any Commonwealth area, you'll need a listed species and ecological community permit to kill, injure, trade, take, keep or move either:
- a listed species or ecological community
- a listed migratory species
- a listed marine species.
You'll also need a permit to kill, injure, trade, take, keep or move protected species in the Commonwealth Territories of:
- Cocos (Keeling) Islands
- Christmas Island
- the Coral Sea Islands.
Whale and dolphin research permits
If you're researching cetaceans in the Australian Whale Sanctuary, you'll need a cetaceans research permit. Australian residents also need a permit for research activities in international waters beyond the sanctuary.
The Australian Fisheries Management Authority manages:
- statutory fishing rights
- fisher permits
- fish receiver permits
- scientific permits in the Australian Fishing Zone or in a specified fishery.
Learn more about fishing rights and permits.
Regional forestry agreements
A forestry operation can be exempt from Part 3 of the EPBC Act if it's undertaken according to a Regional Forestry Agreement (RFA).
Part 3 of the Act sets out requirements for obtaining environmental approvals where actions may have a significant impact on protected matters.
Learn more about regional forestry agreements.
Wildlife trade permits
If you're moving animals or plants, or their parts and derivatives, to or from Australia, check if you need a wildlife trade permit.
You'll generally need a permit to export Australian native specimens.
Plant and animal specimens suitable for live import into Australia are listed on the Live Import List.
Exotic bird owners need record-keeping forms for 'high interest' and 'low interest' birds under the Exotic Bird Record-keeping Scheme (EBRS).
Get in touch
For questions about approvals, permits and other regulations under the EPBC Act, contact us:
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Phone: 1800 423 135 between 9 am and 5 pm Canberra time.