The Australian and Western Australian governments have entered into a bilateral agreement under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Cth) (EPBC Act) relating to environmental assessments.
Among other matters, the agreement includes the clearing permit assessment process under Part V Division 2 of the Environmental Protection Act 1986 (EP Act).
The bilateral agreement allows the state to conduct environmental assessments on behalf of the Australian Government, removing the need for a separate assessment and reducing duplication.
The bilateral agreement began on 1 January 2015.
View the Western Australia bilateral agreement on the Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water website.
For more information, refer to the frequently asked questions below.
Applications under the assessment bilateral agreement
Clearing activities intended to be assessed under the assessment bilateral agreement must initially be referred by the applicant to the Australian Government. Read more on the Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water website.
After the Commonwealth Minister for the Environment determines that the clearing action is a 'controlled action', you must submit an EP Act clearing permit application using the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation application forms below.
Clearing permit applications assessed under the assessment bilateral agreement must be supported by a document describing:
- the proposed clearing action
- likely relevant impacts on the matters of national environmental significance
- feasible alternatives to the proposed clearing action
- mitigation measures
- assessment of the relevant impacts of the clearing.
Forms and information
Frequently asked questionsShow more
When does the bilateral agreement commence?
The bilateral agreement commenced on 1 January 2015.
What processes does the bilateral agreement cover?
The bilateral agreement accredits the native vegetation clearing permit assessment processes under Part V Division 2 of the EP Act.
The bilateral agreement also accredits the Environmental Protection Authority’s (EPA’s) Public Environmental Review (PER) and Assessment on Proponent Information—Category A (API-A) levels of assessment.
What does the agreement mean?
Accreditation allows us to assess the impacts of clearing on relevant matters of national environmental significance while undertaking an EP Act clearing permit assessment. The CEO of DWER will make a decision under the EP Act on the clearing application and provide the assessment report to the Commonwealth Minister for the Environment for an approval decision under the EPBC Act. This means duplication of assessment is avoided.
Does the bilateral agreement apply to all clearing applications?
The bilateral agreement may apply to clearing applications which have or are likely to have a significant impact on a matter of national environmental significance and have been determined by the Commonwealth Minister for the Environment to be a controlled action.
If you are unsure if your clearing action is likely to have a significant impact on a matter of national environmental significance, refer the clearing action to the Australian Government Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water.
Will the bilateral agreement apply to clearing applications under assessment prior to the commencement of the agreement?
The bilateral agreement does not apply to clearing applications already under assessment by DWER.
It does apply to clearing applications determined to be a controlled action by the Commonwealth Minister for the Environment after the commencement date.
What about clearing applications for mining and petroleum related activities?
The Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety (DMIRS) has delegated authority to administer the clearing provisions for mining and petroleum activities. Clearing permit applications assessed by DMIRS under delegation can also be assessed under the bilateral agreement, where applicable.
How can my clearing permit application be assessed under the bilateral agreement?
Proposed clearing actions that have or are likely to have a significant impact on a matter of national environmental significance must initially still be referred to the Australian Government under the EPBC Act.
The opportunity for a clearing application to be assessed by DWER under the bilateral agreement depends on the timing of the alignment of the referral to the Australian Government and clearing application to DWER.
What is happening with the bilateral agreement for environmental approval?
WA is still negotiating an approval bilateral agreement with the Australian Government. A draft approval bilateral agreement will be available for public comment before the approval bilateral agreement is finalised.
Who can I contact?
For further information on native vegetation assessment processes under the bilateral agreement, contact us on (08) 6467 5000 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For further information on EPA processes, refer to the EPA website or contact the Office of the Environmental Protection Authority on (08) 6145 0842 or email email@example.com.