The Environment Protection Act 1970 (EP Act) provides EPA with its powers. Some of these powers are delegated by EPA to staff in specific roles.
The EP Act allows EPA to appoint individuals to the role of authorised officer. The appointed officers can then exercise powers given to them under the EP Act.
The primary role of EPA’s authorised officers is to ensure that businesses, government and individuals comply with the EP Act. They do this by:
- inspecting businesses and premises
- providing guidance and advice about how to comply
- enforcing the law – requiring risks and impacts to be remedied
- where necessary, applying sanctions or punishment to deter non-compliance.
EPA has authorised officers working in specialised areas such as motor vehicles and litter, who only exercise powers specific to their roles. See EPA authorisations: roles and powers policy (Publication 1478) for more information.
EPA also has authorised Officers for the Protection of the Local Environment (OPLEs) working within Victorian councils to address local pollution issues, as part of a pilot program. Read more about OPLEs.
The EPA Authorised Officers brochure (Publication 1422) provides the community and EPA duty holders, such as EPA licensed and non-licensed businesses, with an easy-to-understand summary of the role and powers of authorised officers.
EPA informants are authorised officers who lead and conduct major investigations undertaken by EPA. As part of this role, informants:
- are appointed to undertake legal proceedings in a court of law, on behalf of EPA, for offences against all legislation administered by EPA
- are delegated the power to issue a notice of contravention to formally advise the recipient that they are contravening a legal requirement and apply a daily penalty. A notice of contravention will be issued where there is a major ongoing contravention and further enforcement action is planned; and prepare briefs of evidence.
Managers and team leaders responsible for licensing, works approvals, permitting, notifiable chemicals and planning referrals, are delegated to decide on applications for approvals and to respond to planning referrals.
Where a remedial notice requires the recipient to undertake works at a cost above a certain level, the power to approve the remedial notice is delegated to specific EPA managers and executives from EPA's Regional Services Directorate, and the CEO.