A proponent of a project with one or more of the following characteristics may apply to have it declared a 'coordinated project' under the State Development and Public Works Organisation Act 1971 (SDPWO Act):
- complex approval requirements, involving local, state and federal governments
- significant environmental effects
- strategic significance to the locality, region or state, including for the infrastructure, economic and social benefits, capital investment or employment opportunities it may provide
- significant infrastructure requirements.
The Coordinator-General chooses the weight attributed to each of the above factors. The Coordinator-General is not bound to declare a project a coordinated project merely because it satisfies one or more of these characteristics.
In making the declaration decision, the Coordinator-General must have regard to:
- detailed information about the project given by the proponent in an initial advice statement
- relevant planning schemes or policy frameworks of a local government, the State or the Commonwealth
- relevant State policies and government priorities
- a pre-feasibility assessment of the project, including how it satisfies an identified need or demand
- the capacity of the proponent to undertake and complete the environmental impact statement (EIS) or impact assessment report (IAR) for the project
- any other matter considered relevant.
Two types of declaration
There are two types of coordinated project declaration:
- requiring an EIS
- requiring an IAR.
The Coordinator-General may also independently declare a coordinated project if justified. Coordinated project declarations are published in the Queensland Government Gazette.
Changes to impact assessment legislation during 2014
The SDPWO Act was amended by the State Development, Infrastructure and Planning (Red Tape Reduction) and Other Legislation Amendment Act 2014. This fact sheet provides a summary of changes ( 107 KB) that commenced 1 October 2014.
Current and completed EIS projects
- Coordinated projects currently going through EIS process
- Coordinated projects for which the EIS process is complete
- Coordinated projects map
Purpose of declaration
A coordinated project declaration does not imply government approval of, support for or commitment to the project in question.
Rather, it means the project requires a rigorous impact assessment involving whole-of-government coordination, either by a comprehensive EIS or a targeted IAR.
The declaration does not exempt the project proponent from the need to:
- obtain necessary development approvals
- comply with relevant planning and environment laws and planning instruments.
Refusal of application
If the Coordinator-General refuses to declare a coordinated project, he must inform the applicant in writing, including a statement of reasons for the refusal.
Lapsing of EIS and IAR
From 1 October 2014, a draft EIS must be accepted by the Coordinator-General as the final EIS within 18 months of the terms of reference for the EIS being finalised; and a draft IAR as the final IAR within 18 months of the declaration being made - unless an extension is granted by the Coordinator-General. Otherwise, the coordinated project declaration lapses.
Other environmental assessment laws
The SDPWO Act is one of a number of pieces of legislation in Queensland under which the environmental impacts of development projects can be assessed. Examples of other legislation are the:
- Environmental Protection Act 1994
- Sustainable Planning Act 2009.