Information on this page is not current law. It details new laws that commence on 1 July 2021 under the amended Environment Protection Act 2017.

The new environment protection laws take effect from 1 July 2021. 

EPA will use its powers under the amended Environment Protection Amendment Act 2017 (the Act) to protect human health and the environment. Some parts of the law will come into effect gradually, while others will be enforceable from day one.

‘Proposed final’ versions of the new subordinate legislation – the Environment Protection Regulations and Environment Reference Standard (ERS) – have been released to support Victorians to prepare for the new Environment Protection laws.

We’ll support you if you’ve taken reasonable steps to understand and meet your obligations under the Act. We’ll also support businesses that must make major changes to their compliance obligations. 

If you haven’t tried to understand or follow the new laws, we’ll act to make sure you meet your obligations. 

About enforcement and compliance

EPA will take a practical approach to enforcement and support voluntary compliance. You can find out how we plan to do this in our draft Regulatory Strategy 2020-2025 (publication 1800) (the Strategy). 

Two new EPA policies aim to help the Strategy work: 

The draft Compliance and Enforcement Policy explains how we’ll decide whether people have complied with the new laws. The policy covers what we can do to make sure people comply.

The draft Permissions scheme policy explains how we’ll give businesses and community bodies permission to conduct certain activities under the new laws. We’ll give permissions as registrations, permits or a licences. 

Current EPA licence holders will continue to hold their licences under the new Act. We’ll contact all licence holders as we transition to the new laws.

Find out more about our permissions framework

About third-party rights

Third-party rights are an important new tool that gives the community broader access to justice. You can apply for third party rights in the courts.

This part of the Act starts one year after the rest of the Act. This will give the justice system time to adapt and expand its capacity to meet community needs.

Find out more about third-party rights.

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Reviewed 17 March 2021