Information on this page is not current law. It details new laws that commence on 1 July 2021 under the Environment Protection Act 2017.

A licence is for a prescribed activity requiring the highest level of regulatory control within our permissions scheme (publication 1799). This is due to the potential high risk of harm to human health and the environment.  

Licence applications involve a detailed assessment process. Once we approve a licence, it will usually include both standard and customised conditions. We will continue to oversee these conditions to ensure they are complied with.  

Types of licences  

There are three types of licence. All three are for high-risk activities, but they have different durations and life stages. They are as follows:  

  • pilot project licence for the research, development or demonstration of a new technology or technique  
  • development licence replacing works approval, this licence is for the design, construction and modification stages of complex high-risk activities  
  • operating licence for ongoing operational activities.  

Who can apply for a licence?  

You can apply for a licence if you are:  

  • a person  
  • a company  
  • a statutory corporation  
  • a municipal council.  


You will need to pay an application fee. The amount is based on the type of your operation and the quality of discharge to the environment. Operating licences will have to pay an annual fee.  

Licence amendments  

A licence amendment can be initiated by either us or you. Here are some of the reasons for a licence amendment.  

EPA-initiated amendment  

We can amend a licence by issuing a ‘notice of amendment’ to a licence holder. Before we amend an existing licence, we will discuss any proposed changes with you. Some of our reasons for amending a licence can include:  

  • we consider different conditions or licence limits are required for operating licences  
  • we need to amend a licence for administrative reasons.  

There is no fee for a licence amendment we have initiated.  

Licence holder-initiated amendment  

You will be able to apply to have a licence amended online (currently under development).  

Licence transfer  

When there’s a change to the occupier of a site, the new occupier must apply to transfer the licence. You will be able to apply to transfer your licence online (currently under development).  

Licence revocation and suspension  

We can revoke or suspend a licence. Some of the reasons for this can include:  

  • you are not meeting your licence conditions  
  • you have failed to pay your licence fees  
  • your site has become exempt from licensing under a change in regulations.  

We will tell you we intend to revoke or suspend your licence, before we do. We will also explain the reasons for this. This is so you have reasonable time to provide evidence why this shouldn’t occur. See our Compliance and Enforcement Policy.  

Licence surrender  

You can apply to surrender your licence if your scheduled activity will be finishing soon. You will be able to apply to surrender your licence online (currently under development).  

A surrender of licence will be finalised once the scheduled activity has finished. This may be dependent on conditions we consider appropriate.

Read next

Find out about development licences

Find out about operating licences

Find out about pilot project licences

Find out about registrations

Find out about permits

Find out about exemptions 

Reviewed 8 July 2020