Victoria's new Environmental Protection Law
Since 1 July 2021, the new Environmental Protection Act 2017 became enforceable after a one year postponement in its implementation to provide businesses and the public an opportunity to first manage the unexpected impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and necessary changes needed.
The new legislation follows an independent enquiry chaired by Amy Armytage to look at the future of the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) and its role in the face of a growing population and a changing economy.
The new laws are a major change to Victoria’s environmental protection regulations and require Victorians to understand and minimise risks of harm to human health and the environment, from pollution and waste. For businesses already managing their environmental risks through existing arrangements, these new laws likely mean little to no change.
Timeline - Environment Protection Act 2017
The new Act, the subordinate legislation and the EPA guidance are meant to provide clarity around good environmental practices for businesses and promote a proactive approach in managing their environmental obligations. In the first instance, the EPA is inviting businesses to start identifying their risks, assessing their impact to human health and environment, and implementing suitable risk control measures. Should the EPA be required to be involved at any stage, it is expected that businesses respond quickly to EPA advice and cooperate with EPA authorised officers during their inspections.
For more information and resources relating to the water industry specifically, you can visit the EPA website.