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    Coat of ArmsMedia Release
    Minister for Environment and Heritage Protection and Minister for National Parks and the Great Barrier Reef
    The Honourable Steven Miles

    Environmental authority register adds to transparency

    Minister for Environment and Heritage Protection and Minister for National Parks and the Great Barrier Reef
    The Honourable Steven Miles

    Thursday, February 16, 2017

    Environmental authority register adds to transparency

    The Department of Environment and Heritage Protection’s expanded online environmental authority (EA) register will add to the public transparency surrounding these documents.

    Environment Minister Dr Steven Miles said the upgraded register would dramatically increase the number of EAs available online.

    “Previously we only had petroleum, gas and mining EAs online. Now we are placing all EAs online, almost 7000 of them,” Dr Miles said.

    “These were always publicly available, but any that weren’t related to petroleum, gas or mining had to be specifically applied for.”

    The revised register is due to come online tomorrow (February 17).

    Dr Miles said EAs, licences and other environmental approvals were required under various legislation EHP handled.

    Any company that carries out an environmentally relevant activity requires an EA.

    Environmentally relevant activities are those that could potentially release contaminants into the environment, such as mining or resource activities, chemical manufacturing, waste treatment, petroleum and gas activities, and in some cases agricultural activities.

    “EAs are public documents and members of the public are always interested in seeing what they contain and how the government ensures the environment is protected,” Dr Miles said.

    “EHP’s expanded online EA register will bring up a complete EA listing in spreadsheet form that can be searched in a variety of ways using the spreadsheet filters, and will provide an online link to access the specific EA that is sought.”

    Dr Miles said the revised EA register was part of EHP’s move to its new Connect system – a digital platform to streamline business services and provide easier access and more economical business interactions for customers and members of the public.

    “During this move we’ve had to temporarily take the EA register offline, but it will be back in early February better than before,” he said.

    “Through the Connect system we are also making more public documents available online.

    “For example, EHP is also working to place its enforcement tools, such as Environmental Protection Orders, in an easily accessible online format.

    “At the last count there were some 180 of these. Again, these were always publicly available, but were not available online.”

    CEO of EDO Queensland, Jo-Anne Bragg, praised the government’s initiative in having copies of environmental authorities online.

    “Our government agencies have a duty to proactively provide information to the community," Ms Bragg said.

    “Matters of environmental interest affect all Queenslanders, and it is important that interested members of the public and advocates of environmental issues have ready access to public documentation such as EAs and Environmental Protection Orders online.

    “This information is necessary for organisations such as the Environmental Defenders Office, whose lawyers are routinely called upon by the community to provide legal advice on environmental matters.

    “The community needs to know if industry is complying with conditions protecting air, water and nature.

    “There is also the fact that environmental approvals and compliance actions need to be undertaken in a transparent manner.

    “Having these documents online will also save the Department and the community time and resources,” Ms Bragg said.

    Dr Miles said the Connect system would also make it easier for EHP customers to apply for and receive EAs online.

    While the register is offline, copies of EAs can be obtained by emailing public.register@ehp.qld.gov.au.

    ENDS

    MEDIA 0412 393 909