Last updated 14 December 2016     This chapter is currently under review.

Airports

The Airports Act 1996 (Cth) regulates major airports. At these airports, the Airports (Environment Protection) Regulations 1997 (Cth) regulate noise pollution and impose a general environmental duty on operators to take all reasonable and practicable measures to prevent pollution, offensive noise and adverse impacts to ecosystems and cultural heritage.

For other airports, Queensland laws such as the Sustainable Planning Act 2009 (Qld) (Sustainable Planning Act) and the Environmental Protection Act 1994 (Qld) (Environmental Protection Act) apply.

For complaints about airport noise contact the Airports Division of the Commonwealth Department of Transport and Main Roads or the Queensland Department of Environment and Heritage Protection.

Aquaculture

Aquaculture development is regulated at a state level by local government under the Sustainable Planning Act. Environmental impacts of aquaculture as an environmentally relevant activity is regulated by the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection under the Environmental Protection Act, and disease and escape of aquaculture product issues are regulated by the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries under the Fisheries Act 1994 (Qld).

Aquaculture development adjacent to the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area is regulated at a Commonwealth level by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority under the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park (Aquaculture) Regulations 2000 (Cth), and if the proposed development is a controlled action under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Cth) it is regulated under that Act.

Coastal development

The Coastal Management Plan provides policy direction for natural resource management decision makers about land on the coast such as coastal reserves, beaches, esplanades and tidal areas. Information about coastal planning is available from the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection.

Electricity generation and transmission

The Electricity Act 1994 (Qld) regulates the generation, transmission and supply of electricity in Queensland. This Act is a component of the planning framework because of the control of the construction and maintenance of power lines, which are a significant reason of vegetation clearing and habitat fragmentation.

Ports

Major ports are managed by port authorities and are largely exempt from local government planning schemes. Port authorities control development on strategic port land under a land use plan prepared under the Transport Infrastructure Act 1994 (Qld) and integrated into the integrated development assessment system under the Sustainable Planning Act. Noise, dust, odour and other forms of environmental harm and environmental nuisance are regulated under the Environmental Protection Act.

The Sustainable Ports Development Act 2015 (Qld) restricts port expansions, dredging and disposal of dredge spoil.

Pollution from ships in ports is regulated under the Transport Operations (Marine Pollution) Act 1995 (Qld), which is administered by the Department of Transport and Main Roads.

Roads

The Department of Transport and Main Roads plans, constructs and manages main roads and highways under the Transport Infrastructure Act 1994 (Qld) and the Transport Planning and Coordination Act 1994 (Qld).

Local governments control and maintain local roads. Noise, dust, odour and other forms of environmental nuisance from road construction are regulated under the Environmental Protection Act.

Coordinated projects

The State Development and Public Works Organisation Act 1971 (Qld) provides a general power to the state government’s Coordinator-General to facilitate development projects and to require an environmental impact statement (EIS) (ss 25–54). This is one of four main environmental impact assessment processes in Queensland and the main one used for the largest and most damaging projects.

The EIS process begins when the Coordinator-General declares a project to be a ‘coordinated project’ (s 26). Public notice must be given of the draft terms of reference for the EIS, and during this time the public may make submissions. The proponent must then prepare the EIS to address the terms of reference. The public is given a further opportunity to make comments on the draft EIS before it is finalised. The Coordinator-General must then prepare a report evaluating the EIS, the submissions and any other additional information from the proponent and give a copy of the report to the proponent. This EIS process does not itself mean approval or refusal of the development, but is used in other assessment processes such as the Sustainable Planning Act.