Application for a declaration under environment and resources laws
VCAT has the power to make declarations or an order under some environment and natural resources laws.
A declaration can determine the meaning or effect of provisions in an act, notice, licence, permit or the like. A declaration or order may also be used to decide whether a decision made by the original decision-making authority is valid.
You may apply under the following planning and environment laws:
- Section 305A of the Water Act 1989
- Section 37 of the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988
- Section 436 of the Environment Protection Act 2017
- Section 48A of the Catchment and Land Protection Act 1994
- Section 69 of the Climate Change Act 2017
In some cases, declarations can only be made by a presidential member of VCAT. In other cases declarations can only be made by either a presidential member or another member who is a lawyer.
How to respond to an application you have received notice about
If you believe your interests will be affected by an application made by another person, you can participate in the case if you received notice about it.
To participate, you must submit a statement of grounds within the time limit stated on the notice of the application.
What’s a statement of grounds?
A statement that explains your position in a case, and whether you agree or disagree with the issues raised in an application.
The statement should briefly explain why you're contesting the environment and resources case at VCAT.
When submitting a statement of grounds, you can select your level of participation in the case:
- You can come to the hearing and present your case (fees apply); or
- You can choose to have no further involvement. Your written submission will be considered by VCAT, but you will not be a party and receive any further communication about the application or VCAT's final decision.
Time limits do not apply to an application for a declaration relating to the environment.
We can explain the application process and what the form is asking you for. Contact us to get support.
We cannot give you legal advice. This means we cannot tell you what to write in your application or recommend how to get the outcome you want.
Seek legal help if you are unsure about your options or need advice about your claim.
Do I need a lawyer or professional representative?
You may have legal or other professional representation to appear at VCAT (such as a lawyer, relative, or some other person). In Environment and Resources cases you do not need to have VCAT's permission to be represented.
Find legal services that may be able to assist you.
Access and privacy
VCAT hearings and files are usually public.
VCAT has limited authority to restrict who can access cases and files but, in certain circumstances, you can apply for confidentiality.
Legislation that applies to this type of case