New environment protection laws were scheduled to come into effect in Victoria on 1 July 2020 – laws that apply to all Victorians and all businesses trading in Victoria. The Environment Protection Amendment Act 2018 (the Act) will transform Victoria's environment protection laws and Environment Protection Authority Victoria (EPA).
The Victorian Government has announced the Act's intended commencement has been postponed and is now intended to commence on 1 July 2021. This change is to ease the burden on business and industry as they address the impacts of the current circumstances.
As a result of this announcement, EPA will continue to regulate under the Environment Protection Act 1970, including all subordinate legislation (regulations and statutory policies including State environment protection policies and waste management policies). This means that Victorian business, organisations, and community should continue to work and act under the existing laws.
All Victorian businesses should continue to take a preventative approach to environmental protection, and please continue to follow EPA regulations and guidance.
As Victoria's regulator of pollution and waste, we remain focused on preventing harm to communities and our shared environment and continue to carry out our regulatory functions. This essential regulatory work includes:
- responding to priority pollution reports
- carrying out regulatory compliance and enforcement activities, including thorough inspections
- providing environmental and public health advice, including to emergency services
- continuing clean up of high-risk sites
- air quality monitoring
- regulatory approvals
- waste crime prevention
- consulting with community on decisions that affect them.
EPA will adopt a proportionate regulatory approach that takes full account of the current circumstances while ensuring risks to Victoria's environment continue to be managed.
To assist duty holders regulated by EPA, we have extended the remit of our dedicated coronavirus support team. This team is focused on:
- supporting essential services such as the waste, energy, and water sectors with timely response to queries
- supporting business continuity planning and implementation by all duty holders
- development of additional guidance on coronavirus related matters
- provision of advice on the postponement of the introduction of the Act.
For more information about the legislation announcement, contact EPA by calling 1300 EPA VIC (1300 372 842 – 24 hours), by emailing [email protected].