The Commonwealth minister for the Environment (the minister) invites comments on Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act) referrals. You can tell us what you think about a project proposal we've received for the minister to consider. You must comment within 10 business days of us publishing the referral.
Some actions (projects and developments) need to be referred to us under the EPBC Act.
These actions include any projects that could impact nationally significant (protected) animals, plants, habitats or places. We call these things 'protected matters'.
We publish referrals on our Public Notices database, along with their related documents, so the public can see them.
However, some assessment components of referrals are published by the states and territories. That's because they're managed under state processes.
Who can comment on referrals
The minister invites comments on referrals from the public. You can comment on:
- how the referral affects protected matters
- whether the action is a controlled action
- whether the referral information is correct.
The minister also invites comments from:
- relevant state and territory ministers – on whether the action is a controlled action and which approach would best assess its impacts on protected matters
- ministers from relevant Australian Government portfolios – on information to help the minister decide if the action is a controlled action
- the Australian Heritage Council, where relevant – on whether the action is a controlled action.
Making effective comments
The minister can only use comments relating to specific protected matters. To make your comment as helpful as possible, state:
- whether you believe the action is a controlled action
- why you believe it is or isn't
- whether the proposed action has an impact on protected matters
- how the proposed action will have that impact
- which parts of the proposed project will have an impact on a particular protected matter.
If you think the referral information is misleading or incorrect, tell us why and give us the right information if you can.
- the source of key information to support your views, if possible
- your contact details in case we need to ask you more questions.
How to comment on referrals
You can comment for up to 10 business days after we publish the referral in the invitations to comment.
The deadline for comments is based on Australian Eastern Standard/Daylight Time (AEST or AEDT) business days in Canberra. We do not account for public holidays in other states or territories.
To comment on the referral:
- Find it in the Have Your Say page.
- Select ‘make a comment’ on the referral listing.
- Read the referral documents, which tell you about the proposed action.
- Fill in and submit the online form.
Your comments will appear on the Have Your Say page under the 'Invitations to comment' tab.
We can only accept comments submitted this way. We can't accept them through email or phone.
We will provide your comments to the minister (or their delegate) to help them make the referral decision.
The minister (or their delegate) will make the decision, and we'll publish it, within 10 business days of comments closing.
The minister (or their delegate) isn't required to consider any comments we receive after 10 business days.
However, they may consider late comments at their discretion.
Privacy and confidentiality
Public submissions aren’t normally confidential. They may be:
- released under the Freedom of Information Act 1982
- given to third parties for procedural fairness purposes (also called natural justice).
If you'd prefer your submission to be confidential:
- select the option in the Have Your Say survey to have us treat your feedback as confidential
- tell us in your comment why it needs to be confidential.
We’ll do our best to keep your comment confidential, but we can't exempt it from privacy laws.
Get in touch
For questions about the public comment process, contact us by either:
- phone: 1800 423 135
- email: firstname.lastname@example.org
If you can’t view documents in PDF format, call the Community Information Unit on 1800 803 772.