Licences sit in the highest-risk tier of our Permissions scheme.

You need a development licence and operating licence when you’re proposing to operate a licenced activity.

If you are applying for a development or operating licence, you need to provide detailed information about your proposed activity.

If you’re not sure your activity needs a licence, see Check if you need a permission.

Submit an application

If you’ve already prepared your development or operating licence application, submit it online through the EPA portal from 1 July 2021.

If it’s your first time using our online licence application, the following guide will help you both prepare and then apply online.

Preparing your licence application

When applying for a new licence it’s important that you’re well prepared before completing an online application. The amount and type of information you provide will generally be proportionate to the level of risk from your activity. We also consider whether your proposed controls are in line with state of knowledge and best available techniques and technology.

The licence application process requires you to provide information and evidence for EPA to take into account how you:


Check if your application has additional requirements. You must submit supporting evidence needed to meet any additional requirements for your application.

Completing a licence application

When you apply for a licence online, you’ll find a helpful navigation tool, ‘Steps’, in the left-hand of the screen. This provides a step-by-step map of the question topics, from start to finish. It also tracks your progress as you move through the application form by ticking off your completed sections.

Some questions in the licence application are compulsory and these have an asterisk (*). There are also questions you don’t need to answer if they’re not relevant to your activity. If this is the case, type ‘not applicable’ and justify why in the field provided. If you leave it blank, you can’t progress.

Supplement your answers by attaching documents to the online form where necessary. This is important, as you must make sure we have enough information and evidence to assess your application. There’s an opportunity to attach documents on a dedicated page at the end of the application.

The following information gives a summary of a new development or operating licence online application.

How to apply for a licence

  • 1 to 4: Applicant type, applicant details, suitability to hold a permission

    Topics 1 to 4 in the licence application establish the type of application you want and who’s applying for it. Also, if you meet the criteria to hold an EPA permission.

    1. Application details:

    • select ‘new’ from the drop-down menu.

    2. Application type:

    • select ‘licence’ from the drop-down menu.

    3. Applicant details:

    • provide your name and contact details of permission applicants
    • provide the company’s details, including ABN and ACN (if applicable)

    4. Suitability to hold a permission:

  • 5 to 7: Scheduled permission activity, location and waste information

    These questions establish the specific activity that you need a licence for and the location where it will occur. Within this, if your activity involves receiving or transporting waste you must also provide the relevant waste code. This information is important as it identifies the waste that you will receive or transport.

    5. Scheduled permission activity:

    • select your relevant activity category:
      • waste treatment, disposal, transport and recycling
      • primary industry and allied operations
      • extractive industry and mining
      • animal derived by-products and food
      • textiles
      • wood and wood derivatives
      • chemicals including petroleum
      • non-metallic mineral
      • metals and engineering
      • printing
    • select your relevant scheduled activity from the drop-down menu. Find a list of the operating licence activities authorised by EPA on Types of licences
    • provide a summary of your scheduled activity (1000 word limit).

    6. Activity locations:

    • Provide details as to whether your activity is operating at a fixed location or is mobile. Your activity might be mobile if you transport waste or if you conduct it at multiple locations.
    • If fixed select:
      • the ‘add a location’ button
      • your location on the map or by typing into the search box in the map. You can add additional details (for example a shed or unit number if you are in an industrial estate) in the unstructured address field. 

    Note: After selecting your location, you can add additional details (for example your shop number if you are in a shopping centre) in the unstructured address field.

    7. Waste Information:

    • If you are applying for a waste-related permission, please select the appropriate waste codes and associated amounts, forms and disposal categories from the drop-down menu.

    For more information on your obligations regarding receiving or transporting industrial waste, see Waste duties. For information on waste codes, see Waste codes transition to the Environment Protection Regulations 2021 (publication 1967).

  • 8 to 11: Proposed activity, risk assessment, risk management, community engagement

    These questions ask for details of your proposed activity. For example, how you are undertaking it and what processes, systems and technologies are you using? Also, how are you going to eliminate or reduce any potential impact on human health or the environment. This includes consideration of reducing impact, as far as reasonably practicable. Lastly, how you’re going to manage any residual impacts.

    8. Proposed activity

    Topic 8 requires you to provide details for the following.

    Process and technology:
    • Summary of the background environmental condition – include siting consideration and surrounding sensitive receptors
    • Is the construction, installation or modification of plant or equipment required? Yes, or no?
    • Describe the processes or systems you will develop to perform the activity
    • Is this a new activity or a modification of an existing activity?
    • Outline your experience and competency in performing the activity.
    • Is the proposed activity a research, development or demonstration activity as part of a Pilot project?
    • Summary of measures used to comply with the general environmental duty.
    • Summary of measures considered as best available techniques or technologies.
    • Summary of greenhouse gas emissions generated from this activity.
    • Summary of systems and processes to prevent or minimise greenhouse gas emissions.
    • Summary of potential impacts from climate change on the activity and related adaptation methods.
    • Summary of how you’re managing waste in line with the waste management hierarchy.
    • Detail the systems and processes used to minimise risks of harm to human health and the environment from the handling, storage, use and transportation of substances.

    9. Risk assessment

    The application asks you to demonstrate that you have used an appropriate and proportionate risk assessment approach to assess the likely environmental risk associated with the activity. This is particularly around the generation of waste as well as the management of the risk of pollution to human health.

    Topic 9 requires you to provide details for the following.

    Human health and the environment:
    Environmental management:
    • Summary of environmental management systems used to prevent or minimise impact on the environment.
    • Will you undertake an environmental audit related to the activity? Yes or no.
    • Summary of post-closure plans, including aftercare management, decommissioning and rehabilitation.

    10. Risk management

    Where you’ve identified and assessed risks, the following section asks for information on the systems and controls that you’re adopting. More specifically it looks at managing risks related to: 

    • Air:
      • Summary of the activity's emissions to air.
      • Summary of the systems and processes to prevent or minimise impacts from air emissions.
    • Noise:
      • Summary of the activity's noise emissions.
      • Summary of the systems and processes to prevent or minimise impacts from noise emissions.
    • Water:
      • Summary of the activity's emissions to surface waters.
      • Summary of the systems and processes to prevent or minimise impacts to surface water.
    • Land and groundwater:
      • Summary of the activity's emissions to land or groundwater.
      • Summary of the systems and processes to prevent or minimise impacts to land and groundwater.
    • Odour:
      • Summary of the activity's emissions of odour.
      • Summary of the systems and processes to prevent or minimise impacts from odour emissions.
    • Waste
      • Does your activity include management or control of industrial waste, priority waste and/or reportable priority waste?
      • Detail of the type, quantity and treatment of waste.
      • Is the proposed activity included in a relevant schedule of a Regional Waste and Resource Recovery Implementation Plan?
    • Human health:
      • Summary of the activity's potential human health impacts.
      • Summary of the systems and processes to prevent or minimise impacts to human health.

    11. Community engagement

    The application asks if you’ve engaged with the community and other third parties regarding your activity, as follows:

    • Summarise any planned or completed consultation, as well as concerns raised and the approach to address them.
  • 12 to 15: Additional details, supporting evidence, application summary, submit and pay

    12. Additional details

    This section seeks information on regulatory engagement and permissions or approvals from other authorities, such as planning or catchment management authorities, other government authorities and also with the EPA. For example, previously holding a pilot project licence, emergency authorisation or exemption for this or another activity.

    Topic 12 requires you to provide details for the following.

    Other permissions and compliance:
    • any previous EPA permissions held
    • any currently held EPA permissions or authorisations
    • any currently held exemptions
    • any engagement with other regulatory authorities
    • any other required planning permits or approvals
    • any notices from EPA related to this location or activity.
    Other approvals:
    • Do you require a proof of performance testing plan?
    • Do you require financial assurance?

    13. Supporting evidence

    You need to attach any supporting evidence. In the field provided, give a summary of what you’re attaching including:

    • file titles
    • any document references.

    Here, you need to declare:

    During the assessment of your application, we may require additional information. We will contact you if this is the case.

    14. Application summary

    You can review your complete application at this step. If you identify any changes required, use the back button on the page to move back through the application steps.

    15. Submit and pay

    You will be given an application ID when you submit your application, it’s useful to record this number for future reference.

    To finalise your application, you may need to pay an application fee. If so, you will be presented with three options:

    1. Return to dashboard – this keeps the application in draft status and returns you to your permissions dashboard.
    2. Submit and pay later – this submits the application to EPA and triggers an invoice to be sent to the key contact on the application via email. The invoice will need to be paid before the application will be assessed.
    3. Submit and pay now – this takes you to EPA’s online payment gateway that enables you to pay the application fee via credit card.
  • Application resources for A13a

    Check you have provided all the required information before submitting your A13a licence application online. The list of required attachments is available on how to apply for a licence or permit for a waste resource and recovery activity.

Reviewed 24 July 2023