There are a number of Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Cth) (EPBC Act) decisions which allow formal public participation. Once notice has been given about the assessment of a proposed action the public has ten business days to lodge a submission. Submissions can be made on the EPBC Act website: http://www.environment.gov.au/topics/about-us/legislation/environment-protection-and-biodiversity-conservation-act-1999.
The Minister must then make the decision regarding the referral within twenty business days of receiving the referral, unless further information is needed. In making the decision the Minister must consider public comments. The Minister must give notice of, and the reasons for, the decision to the person proposing the action.
There is no general right of appeal against the Minister's decision. The only mechanism that can be used to challenge the Minister's decision is judicial review by the Federal Court if the Minister has made an error of law in making the decision.
The public may have further rights to comment during the environmental impact assessment process depending on the type of process undertaken.
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