Decision makers who use the Environment Reference Standard

Victoria’s laws say who needs to consider the reference standards and when.

These decision makers must consider the reference standards in these situations:

  • EPA, when assessing licence applications, applications for a licence exemption, or a permit for discharge of waste to aquifer
  • The Minister for the Environment, when deciding whether to recommend making a Regulation or a compliance code under the Environment Protection Act 2017
  • The Minister for the Environment, when deciding whether to declare an issue to be an “issue of environmental concern”
  • The Minister for Water, when making specified decisions under the Water Act 1989
  • Councils, when considering whether to grant a permit exemption to construct, install or alter an on-site wastewater management system
  • Environmental auditors, when carrying out their functions
  • Project proponents, when preparing specified impact assessments and statements under the Major Transport Projects Facilitation Act 2009
  • The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal, when reviewing specified decisions under several acts.

These decision makers may consider the reference standards in these situations:

  • The Responsible Authority under the Planning and Environment Act 1987 may consider any relevant reference standard when deciding on an application for a planning permit
  • Any other decision maker can use the reference standards, where they are helpful, to assist with making an environment protection decision.

When EPA uses the Environment Reference Standard

EPA will use the Environment Reference Standard (ERS) as a guiding reference in many situations. This includes when we:

  • monitor and assess environmental quality
  • provide information and education to the Victorian community about environmental conditions (for example, EPA AirWatch)
  • identify and respond to threats to the environment and human health
  • take opportunities to improve environmental quality
  • make important decisions as the environment protection regulator, such as when we assess applications for development licences, operating licences, and pilot project licences
  • provide advice and recommendations to other decision makers
  • advise the Minister for the Environment about significant impacts on the environment and human health.

Read more about the ERS

The Environment Reference Standard

Guide to the Environment Reference Standard (publication 1992)

How the Environment Reference Standard applies

Reviewed 19 July 2021