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An EPA licence is required for all scheduled premises, unless the premises are exempted in the Environment Protection (Scheduled Premises and Exemptions) Regulations 2007.
A licence may be held by a legal entity, whether:
- a person
- a company
- a statutory corporation
- a municipal council.
Licences contain standard conditions that aim to control the operation of the premises so that there is no adverse effect on the environment. These conditions address areas such as waste acceptance and treatment, air and water discharges, and noise and odour. The Environment Protection Act 1970 (‘EP Act’) specifies penalties for breach of licence conditions and for operating a site without a licence.
A legal entity holding more than one EPA licence may voluntarily combine them into a single, amalgamated licence (previously known as a corporate licence). An amalgamated licence does not change a licence holder’s compliance obligations, but streamlines multiple licences in to one document.
An annual fee is payable to EPA for the duration of the licence. The amount of this fee depends on the type of operation and the volume and quality of any discharge to the environment. Licence fees are set out in the Environment Protection (Fees) Regulations 2001.
EPA licences and approvals are public documents.
To obtain a copy of a licence that you can’t find through this search, contact EPA on 1300 372 842 (1300 EPA VIC).
Licence application and issuing
The occupier of scheduled premises may apply for an EPA licence, usually following the completion of works that have been subject to a works approval. If it is satisfied that the works have been properly constructed in compliance with the works approval, EPA will issue a licence (subject to suitable conditions and discharge limits) for operation of the plant.
There is no fee for a licence application following works approval, or for a situation in which a works approval was not required.
Where a works approval was required but was not obtained, a fee equivalent to the works approval application fee is payable.
Licence amendment from works approval
When a works approval has been obtained for works at premises that already hold an EPA licence, and the occupier believes that the works have been completed in accordance with the works approval, an application for a licence amendment may be made.
On receiving this application EPA will inspect the works and, if they comply with the conditions of the works approval, will issue the licence amendment. EPA will issue the amendment within 21 days of inspecting the work (or at most 45 days after receiving the application).
There is usually no fee for this type of amendment.
EPA can amend licence conditions by issuing a notice of amendment to the licence holder. EPA may do this if it considers that different conditions or licence limits are required, in which case the licence holder has the right of appeal. EPA may also amend a licence for administrative reasons that do not alter the obligations of the licence holder, in which case no appeal rights exist. EPA will discuss any proposed changes to an existing licence with the licence holder prior to amending it.
There is no fee for this type of amendment.
Licence amendment requested by the licence holder
A licence holder can apply to EPA to have any condition(s) of its licence amended by filling in the Approvals proposal pathway form (Word 508KB) and submitting it with supporting information to EPA. EPA will process an application for licence amendment within 60 days of receiving a complete application.
The fee for amendment, when requested by the licence holder, is the lower of:
- 10 per cent of the current annual licence fee
- 85 fee units ($1156 in 2015–16).
The dollar value of a fee unit in 2015–16 is $13.60.
Once you have completed the application please submit it to firstname.lastname@example.org
When an occupier of a licensed site changes, the new applicant should apply to EPA to transfer the licence. The fee for an application to transfer a licence is the lesser of:
Licence suspension and revocation
EPA has powers under the EP Act to revoke or suspend a licence for a specified period or until a licence holder has fulfilled conditions that have been specified by EPA.
EPA will give the licence holder procedural fairness before deciding whether to proceed with a suspension, by giving notice of its intention to suspend the licence, and the grounds for suspension. The licence holder will be given a reasonable opportunity to demonstrate and provide evidence why the proposed suspension should not occur.
The licence may also be revoked by EPA for a range of reasons, including that the licence holder has ceased to operate or has failed to pay licence fees, or that the premises have become exempt from licensing by a change in the Regulations.
Further information on when EPA may revoke or suspend a licence is detailed in EPA’s Compliance and Enforcement Policy.
When a licence holder believes that the site is no longer being operated in a manner that requires an EPA licence (that is, the scheduled activity has ceased or has become exempt), it may apply to surrender the licence. This may result in a refund of the unused portion of the current annual fee.
Monitoring licence compliance
A monitoring program must be developed by each licence holder to ensure they, and EPA, can determine licence compliance. To do this, a licence holder should use a risk-based approach to determine the level of monitoring required.
Licence holders should be familiar with how their site interacts with the environment and community, and be in a good position to develop an adequate monitoring program. These monitoring plans are auditable documents that a licence holder must retain on the licensed premises for seven years.
Licence holders must lodge an annual performance statement (APS) with EPA each year. The licence holder must indicate whether it has complied or not with each licence condition. Information supporting the APS must be held at the premises for seven years, and severe penalties are provided in the Act for providing a false or misleading APS.
APSs are public documents.
Support for licence holders
EPA has published guidelines to help licence holders understand their licence conditions.
Further information for licence holders on applying for, transferring and surrendering a licence and submitting an annual performance statement is available in the ‘For business and industry’ section.