You may need to refer your project to us if it could impact protected matters.
The Protected Matters Search Tool (PMST) identifies protected matters in your area of interest.
That makes it useful when you're planning a project that might have a significant impact on the environment. It will help you understand which protected matters might be on or near your land.
We use the EPBC Act to define what's 'significant'.
How to use the tool
Start your search for protected matters on the PMST tool.
Drawing on the map
You can research a specific location by drawing a shape on the map.
You can also upload an existing shape with geographic coordinates onto the map (a KMZ file).
By defining geographic coordinates (latitude, longitude), you can get reports for:
- a point
- a line
- an area of interest.
You can then add layers or explore the map.
You can add visual overlays (layers) to the map to note extra details. For example, you can identify any:
- heritage places or property
- critical habitats
- declared Ramsar wetlands
- marine parks
- property, local council and electoral boundaries.
Exploring the map
You can also explore your selected area in greater detail by clicking on it. This will help you understand what is on or near your land. For example, it will help you identify:
- matters of national environmental significance
- areas with regional forest agreements
- state and territory reserves
- locations of existing EPBC Act referrals.
Generating a report
Next, you can generate a report that identifies any protected matters in or around your area of interest. The report is available to download as a PDF or Excel document.
It will tell you whether the region has any nationally protected matters such as:
- threatened animals, plants, habitats
- World Heritage properties
- Commonwealth heritage places or properties.
You can click on the links in the report to see if any threatened animal or plant in the region is
- critically endangered.
This will help you check how the development you propose might have an impact on the area or species.
About the report
The PMST report gives you a starting list of any protected matters that might be in and around your selected area.
It's not an exhaustive list of what actually exists around your area of interest. It is a valuable tool for decision-making and research.
Local knowledge and expertise should also complement the data in the report. More definitive knowledge comes from scientific methods, such as ground surveys of the project area.
How it helps with a self-assessment
You can use your PMST report to help you understand if or how your actions might impact one or more protected matters.
For example, it can help you self-assess how your actions might impact any protected matters.
If your PMST report shows that your project might impact one or more protected matters, your next step is to check the Significant Impact Guidelines 1.1
These guidelines will help you assess the impact that your project might have on a protected matter. They will also help you identify possible ways to avoid or reduce those impacts. For example, you might choose a different site or building design.
This is all part of our self-assessment process.
Doing a self-assessment will help you decide whether to refer an action to us for assessment.
If you think you may need to make a referral, we recommend organising a pre-referral meeting with us to discuss your next steps.
You won't be able to access PMST on Wednesdays between 5:30 pm and 7:30 pm Canberra time. This is because we'll take the tool offline for routine maintenance at that time.
Get in touch
If you need help or want to report an issue with using the tool, email our Geospatial Helpdesk on email@example.com.