News and updates

New Environment Protection Act explained at Traralgon Open House

23 Apr 2019


Businesses in Environment Protection Authority Victoria’s (EPA) Gippsland area are being invited to hear how the new Environment Protection Act will affect them at an Open House in Traralgon on Tuesday 30 April 2019.

An earlier Open House planned for March was postponed because of the East Gippsland fires.

The new Act emphasises the need to prevent pollution occurring, but still gives EPA, as the regulator, significant deterrents including fines up to $1.6 million for breaches.

Reckless and deliberate acts that cause pollution could lead to fines of up to $3.2m and possible jail for individuals.

Businesses, as well as individuals, in the area will be covered by the new laws from 1 July 2020.

EPA will be proactively engaging with businesses so they know what they have to do to be compliant, and the benefits that being compliant bring.

“The region has faced environmental challenges including dust and odour, as well as sewage spills and pollution events in our creeks and waterways. EPA officers are often called because of pollution incidents and the Gippsland public are very good at maintaining a watchful eye,” said Stephen Lansdell EPA Regional Manager Gippsland Region.

“This Act will help us prevent those and other kinds of pollution challenges. While there are businesses that wilfully ignore their obligation to protect the environment, many simply don’t understand what they have to do to be compliant with it.

“Ignorance is not a defence and from July 2020 offenders could face large fines if they cause pollution and harm the environment or the community.

“If business is not compliant, they should know the potential penalties can be extremely costly, and as the Act gives wider powers, there’s a much greater chance of detection leading to an EPA sanction."

EPA is planning events throughout the lead up to the implementation of the new laws and as a first step, the Authority is holding a series of open houses for local businesses and community members to come along and discuss the new Act and how it affects businesses.

The Gippsland open house will be held in Traralgon at the Century Inn, 5 Airfield Rd, Traralgon on Tuesday 30 April from 10.30am to 12.30pm.

For more information and to register go to https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/victorias-new-environment-protection-laws-and-their-impacts-tickets-51953079058

Background
The Environment Protection Amendment Act 2018 provides the foundation for a transformation of Victoria’s environment protection laws and Environment Protection Authority Victoria (EPA).

The Victorian Government intends this new legislation to take effect from 1 July 2020. It includes a new approach to environmental issues, focusing on preventing waste and pollution impacts rather than managing those impacts after they have occurred.

The legislation will enhance the protection of Victoria’s environment and human health through a more proportionate, risk-based environment protection framework that includes:

  • A preventative approach through a general environmental duty.
  • A tiered system of EPA permissions to support risk based and proportionate regulatory oversight.
  • Significant reforms to contaminated land and waste management.
  • Increased maximum penalties.
  • Requirements for more environmental information to be publicly available.
  • Modernising and strengthening EPA’s compliance and enforcement powers.

You can view the Act at the Victorian Parliament’s website.

Fact sheet: Environment Protection Amendment Act 2018

Page last updated on 23 Apr 2019