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When is an EES referral required?

The criteria for determining whether a project should be referred are available in the Ministerial guidelines for assessment of environmental effects.

Who can submit a referral?

A referral can be made by:

  • A project proponent – an individual or organisation responsible for the project
  • A minister or statutory body responsible for public works, such as VicRoads or a water authority
  • Ministers, agencies such as the Environment Protection Authority, or local government
  • The Minister for Planning may direct a project be referred.

To avoid delays a referral should be made early in the project approval process.

Pre-referral advice

If you plan to lodge a referral, please contact us first. We can help you to:

  • determine whether you should refer your project
  • clarify what information you need to provide.

We can guide you in conducting feasibility studies and developing a proposal.

Criteria to determine whether a project should be referred is in the Ministerial guidelines for assessing environmental effects.

For pre-referral advice contact us through Environment assessment.

Please note that to submit a request you will need to register or sign in to the system.

How to submit a referral

Referrals should contain the information outlined in the ministerial guidelines.

Download the referral template and enter the required information for your referral.

An electronic copy must be submitted through Environment assessment. Please note you will need to have lodged a pre-referral engagement request with Impact Assessment Unit about your project to be able to submit a referral. Please allow adequate time for this engagement to occur.

  • An acknowledgment email will be sent when the electronic copy is received and once the referral has been accepted.
  • The electronic copy of the referral form should be in Microsoft Word.
  • Supporting documents may be supplied as PDFs.
  • Supporting documents must be less than 20 MB.
  • Referral documents will be published on the department’s website once accepted for processing.

Please email the Impact Assessment Unit at  if you have any general questions about the referral process or the referrals portal.

When will a decision be made?

Once a referral has been formally accepted, the Minister for Planning will typically make a decision within 20 business days.

You (the proponent) and relevant decision-makers will be notified of the decision in writing. Public notice will then be given on this website.

Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) referrals

If your proposal is likely to have a significant impact on matters of national environmental significance, a separate referral may be required under the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.

Refer to the Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water for information.

If assessment is required under both the Environment Effects Act and the EPBC Act, the relevant process can be accredited under the Environment Assessment Bilateral Agreement between the Commonwealth and Victoria.

Page last updated: 24/10/23


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