The Department of Parks and Wildlife's  advisory role in the land use planning system is linked closely to, and complements, the referral and assessment processes of the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA).

Under the Environmental Protection Act 1986, the EPA is responsible for formally assessing planning proposals and schemes that are likely to have a significant impact on the environment. The Office of the EPA (OEPA) helps the EPA to carry out its functions.

The following is a guide to help government agencies decide whether to approach the Department of Parks and Wildlife and/or the OEPA for environmental advice on planning and development matters.

Subdivision and development applications

Subdivision and development applications should be directed to Parks and Wildlife regional offices, but only where there is a clear need for advice from the department.

Exceptions are those proposals likely to have a significant impact on the environment that require referral to the EPA under the Environmental Protection Act 1986Guides and forms for the referral of proposals to the EPA are at

Planning schemes and amendments

All region and local planning schemes and amendments are referred directly to the EPA as required under the planning legislation. The OEPA may seek advice from the Department of Parks and Wildlife on individual planning schemes and amendments. The department does not expect a separate referral during the subsequent advertising period unless the referral authority has a particular need for advice from the Department of Parks and Wildlife.

Structure plans preceding a planning scheme or scheme amendment

Structure plans and outline development plans that precede a scheme amendment may be referred to the OEPA and the Department of Parks and Wildlife for review of potential environmental impacts.

Structure plans for sites not requiring scheme amendments

Structure plans and outline development plans for sites that do not require further rezoning before subdivision and development should be referred to the relevant the Parks and Wildlife regional office where the referral authority has a clear need for advice on any of the environmental issues below.

Major policies, strategies and planning initiatives

Both agencies should be informed of proposed major policies, strategies and other planning initiatives that have environmental implications.

General enquiries on environmental planning matters

Parks and Wildlife regional offices are generally the initial contact for advice on environmental planning matters for the factors listed below.

The OEPA is the contact for advice relating to the referral of proposals and schemes to the EPA and the assessment processes and criteria applied by the EPA.

Environmental factors

Factors on which the department may provide advice when reviewing land use planning referrals from other agencies include:

Biodiversity and natural areas

  • Conservation reserve system
  • Ecological linkages
  • Biodiversity protection targets
  • Threatened ecological communities
  • Native vegetation and flora
  • Native fauna
  • Wetlands
  • Special landscapes e.g. karst
  • Marine ecosystems

Department of Parks and Wildlife-managed areas

  • All values and threats to the conservation estate
  • Fire, weeds and pests for unallocated crown lands and unvested reserves

The department does not routinely provide advice on all of the above factors.