The amended Environment Protection Act 2017 (the Act) will change how Victoria regulates pollution, waste and contamination from businesses. It signals the start of a fairer, more balanced era of environmental regulation for Victorian businesses.

The Act will come into effect on 1 July 2021.  

Preparing Victorians for new laws

The Act aims for fairness for people who run their business legally. It will strengthen our powers to investigate businesses. There will also be large increases to penalties for rogue operators. 

This means EPA is now preparing engagement activities and communications to help you meet your obligations under the new Act.
We call our plan the Readiness Roadmap. It provides timeframes for: 

  • key engagement activities
  • key publications
  • critical milestones to help Victorians prepare.

Its purpose is to show you, what activities we'll be doing and when, to help you prepare.

Readiness Roadmap to the new Environment Protection Act

Who the Readiness Roadmap is for

The Readiness Roadmap is for all of EPA’s stakeholders:

  • The Victorian community. This includes citizens, community groups and traditional owners.
  • Industry. This primarily means those that will need an EPA permission to operate. It includes people who hold a licence, permit or registration with EPA or will need to in future. We also recommend you check the business tabs below for other relevant information.
  • Businesses. This means all businesses who have obligations under the Act. For example,  businesses such as restaurants, mechanics, hairdressers and others that may not necessarily need an EPA permission to operate.
  • Government. This includes local councils and government departments.

How to use the Readiness Roadmap

The Readiness Roadmap is divided into quarters. Each quarter represents a period of three months.

The images below list the key ways in which EPA will engage with the community, business, industry and government. The drop-down lists below each image have more information. This information will have details about each of the items in the image, plus more items happening within that three-month timeframe.

The Readiness Roadmap is a live document. This means it will grow and change. We will update it regularly.

Find out more about what happened from October to December 2020

In this quarter the main focus of EPA’s engagement activity will be building understanding of the new laws. This includes the new Act and the Regulations that will support them.

Readiness roadmap October to December

  • All

    Release of the proposed final subordinate legislation

    The Government has released proposed final versions of the Regulations and Environmental Reference Standards. This will allow business, industry and local government more time to understand and prepare for the commencement of the new laws ahead of July 2021. 

  • Business

    The Small Business Program pilot launches. EPA will work with a limited number of eligible small businesses across Victoria to offer free expert advice about managing risks under the new environment protection laws. EPA will work with small business participants from dry cleaning, automotive repair or maintenance or automotive body repair sectors. This is so they can create positive changes to the way they manage pollution and waste.

    Sector guides released

    EPA released a series of sector guides. They are for the construction, manufacturing, waste & recycling, agriculture, mining & quarrying, retail and local government sectors. There is also a guide on understanding the concept of reasonably practicable for business.

    Publication: Construction and demolition

    EPA has published Civil construction, building and demolition guide.

    This guide supports the civil construction, building and demolition industries to eliminate or reduce the risk of harm to human health and the environment through good environmental practice.

    Read the Civil construction, building and demolition guide

    Publication: Understanding what is reasonably practicable

    EPA has published Reasonably practicable guidance. Under the Environment Protection Act 2017, three duties require you to minimise or respond to risks so far as reasonably practicable. This guidance provides information about how to determine what is reasonably practicable.

    Read Reasonably practicable

  • Industry

    Planned for this quarter

    Waste: There are new waste duties under the new laws. EPA will release information about the new system and onboarding for the waste industry.

    Planned for November

    Industry reference groups will meet this month. A reference group is a group of people we set up to consult with us on environmental issues. Through reference groups, we learn about industry’s environmental concerns. Reference groups’ advice and input help shape our policies. We work with six industry reference groups. These groups pass information on to the industries they represent.

    Find out more

  • Community

    EPA’s quarterly community newsletter, Your Environment Your EPA, will share an update on the new laws. You can read our latest edition or subscribe now.
  • Government

    Local government toolkits

    Local councils are co-regulators of environment protection laws. This means they have some responsibilities for enforcing those laws. EPA will release toolkits for local councils. EPA released the Litter and waste toolkit for local councils in December.

Find out more about what happened from January to March 2021

In this quarter EPA’s main focus will be guidance to help explain more specifics. This includes the new framework, how EPA will enact the law and how obligations and processes are to be met.

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  • All

    Webinar: Victoria’s new environment protection laws – your questions answered

    This free event on 3 February was for members of the community, local councils, businesses and industry. In it we explored key changes to environmental Regulations and answered attendees’ questions.

    Watch a recording of the webinar. 

    EPA releases contaminated land policy and guidance

    The Contaminated Land Policy explains the principles, main duties, status of contamination and EPA’s expectations for how to manage contamination.

    What is contaminated land?  is a new guidance publication. It covers the definition of contaminated land and the principles and standards that EPA applies to identifying contaminated land under the Act.

    These documents and other information on contaminated land are available on our website.

    Webinar: AEBN National Environmental Compliance Conference

    This webinar is part of the Australian Environment Business Network conference. It will focus on environmental compliance and funding in 2021. Hear from key regulators, leading environmental lawyers and environmental experts. The conference is for industry, business and councils. 

    The webinar will be from 10 am – 12.30 pm on Wednesday, 24 February 2021.

    Register for the AEBN conference

    Consultation on contaminated land assessment methods

    The proposed final Environment Protection Regulations empower EPA to specify a method for determining background levels for contaminated land and groundwater. EPA will invite feedback on proposed methods between February and March 2021.

  • Business

    Consultation on proposed waste determinations

    EPA is seeking feedback on proposed determinations about waste and resource recovery. A determination sets out specific conditions for an activity. These determinations set out conditions for those who receive certain types of industrial waste and want to reuse it. Meeting the conditions in the proposed determinations will allow the reuse of this waste without further EPA approval. 

    You can provide feedback between 1 and 28 February 2021.

    Leave feedback on waste determinations

    Webinar: Introduction to Waste Tracker

    EPA’s new waste tracking system, Waste Tracker, will replace electronic waste transport certificates. It will help duty holders meet their obligations and track transaction information about reportable priority waste.

    This webinar will provide an introduction to Waste Tracker, which we’ll start using when new laws commence on 1 July 2021. 

    The webinar will be from 2 pm – 3 pm on 23 February 2021.

    Webinar: AEBN Waste – new laws and developments

    Australian Environment Business Network Webinar, with EPA. It will provide details of new Victorian waste laws and requirements. This webinar will help industry and business to understand how to comply with the law.

    The webinar will be from 10 am – 12:30 pm on Wednesday 24 March.

    Register for the AEBN waste conference

    Planned for this quarter

    The Small Business Program pilot site visits start. EPA will work with eligible small businesses to help them prepare for changes to the legislation. In this quarter, consultants will make onsite visits to a maximum of 100 eligible businesses. Participants will have two visits between February 2021 and February 2022 and fill out two short surveys following each visit. Businesses will receive a personalised action plan. This is so they can create positive changes to the way they manage pollution and waste.

    Planned for January

    Industry Partnership Program: Industry partners will be invited to express their interest in participating in the program which will involve them providing training for businesses.

    Planned for February

    Industry Partnership Program: Successful industry partners who will deliver training for businesses will be announced.

    Planned for March

    Industry Partnership Program: Proposed commencement of training to be delivered by industry partners.

  • Industry

    Consultation on proposed waste determinations

    EPA is seeking feedback on proposed determinations about waste and resource recovery. A determination sets out specific conditions for an activity. These determinations set out conditions for those who receive certain types of industrial waste and want to reuse it. Meeting the conditions in the proposed determinations will allow the reuse of this waste without further EPA approval. 

    You can provide feedback between 1 and 28 February 2021.

    Leave feedback on waste determinations

    Webinar: AEBN Waste – new laws and developments

    Australian Environment Business Network Webinar, with EPA. It will provide details of new Victorian waste laws and requirements. This webinar will help industry and business to understand how to comply with the law.

    The webinar will be from 10 am – 12:30 pm on Wednesday 24 March.

    Register for the AEBN waste conference

    Planned for this quarter

    EPA will release guidance for new permission holders. A permission is a licence or approval to conduct activities which may result in pollution or waste. It includes conditions for managing that pollution or waste. Some businesses will become permission holders for the first time. EPA will release advice and guidance to help those businesses comply with the law.

    Some EPA licence holders may have new conditions under the new laws. EPA plans to release information on what applies to you and how.

    Industry reference groups will meet this month. A reference group is a group of people we set up to consult with us on environmental issues. Through reference groups, we learn about industry’s environmental concerns. Reference groups’ advice and input help shape our policies. We work with six industry reference groups. These groups pass information on to the industries they represent. Planned for 25 February to 12 March.

    Find out more

    Planned for January

    New information for the waste industry will be published on EPA’s website.

    Planned for February

    Construction Industry Civil Contractors Federation (CCF) event. CCF is the peak industry body for civil construction. EPA will provide information and guidance so that CCF can support members to understand the new laws.

    Find out more

    Planned for March

    Multiple Sectors: Sustainability Leaders Summit. This is an executive level event over two days. It will explore the macro and micro issues shaping sustainability. EPA anticipates this will include content about the new environment protection laws.

    Find out more

    Multiple Sectors: Australian Environment Business Network (AEBN) webinar. The AEBN represents industry, business and councils across Australia, on environmental and carbon matters impacting business operations. EPA anticipates a webinar about the new environment protection laws.

    Find out more

    Agriculture: Farmworld. Farmworld is a series of regional agricultural shows. They showcase a range of agribusiness interests including management of pollution and waste. It provides an opportunity to chat with EPA and learn about managing environmental risks.

    Find out more

  • Community

    Community group and environmental advocacy groups meet for quarterly for updates from EPA on issues and new laws.
  • Government

    Planned for February

    Government: Australian Environment Business Network (AEBN) National Environmental Compliance webinar- new laws focus. The AEBN represents industry, business and councils across Australia, on environmental and carbon matters impacting business operations. EPA anticipates a webinar about the new environment protection laws.

    Find out more

    Planned for March

    State government partners meet for quarterly for updates from EPA on issues and new laws.

Find out more about what’s happening from April to June 2021

In this quarter EPA’s main focus will be onboarding users to new systems, providing details of transition arrangements, and providing specific guidance for new systems and processes that EPA will be using under the new Act.

Readiness roadmap April to June

  • Business

    Planned for this quarter

    Guidance: Guidance implementation and awareness activities. As EPA releases new guidance for different sectors we will work to inform sectors through engagement activities.

    Portal: Onboarding of users into new portal. EPA’s Interaction Portal is how businesses will access some of EPA’s services online. For example, to submit a waste transport certificate, or apply for a licence. We have been working on changes to the Portal. In this quarter we will outline the process for onboarding new and existing users to the Interaction Portal.

    Find out more

    Auditors: Information about re-appointment applications and the assessment process will be available. Environmental auditors give independent assessments of site conditions and risks. EPA will continue to oversee the environmental audit system under the new laws. In this quarter we will be sharing information about how we appoint environmental auditors.

    The Small Business Program pilot continues. EPA will work with eligible small businesses to help them prepare for changes to the legislation. In this quarter, visits from consultants continue. 

    Industry Partnership Program: Eligible industry partners will provide training for businesses on new environment protection laws. The program is planned to finish in June before to intended Environment Protection Act 2017 commencement.

    Planned for May

    Portal: Live for registrations. EPA’s Interaction Portal is to access our services online. For example, to submit a waste transport certificate, or apply for a licence. We have been working on changes to the Portal. In this quarter we will roll out support for new and existing users and open Portal registrations.

    Find out more

  • Industry

    Planned for this quarter

    Guidance: Guidance implementation and awareness activities continue. As EPA releases new guidance for different sectors we will work to inform sectors through engagement activities.

    Auditors: Information re-appointment application and assessment process. Environmental auditors give independent assessments of site conditions and risks. EPA will continue to oversee the environmental audit system under the new laws. In this quarter we will be sharing information about how we appoint environmental auditors.

    Planned for April

    Multiple Sectors: Australian Environment Business Network (AEBN) contaminated land webinar. The AEBN represents industry, business and councils across Australia, on environmental and carbon matters impacting business operations. EPA anticipates a webinar about managing contaminated land under the new environment protection laws.

    Find out more

    Businesses that hold an existing permission (licence, works approval or permit): EPA will communicate with current permission holders about amendments to their permissions to bring them into alignment with the new Act. We will contact you and explain what the amendments mean and what you need to do.

    Waste: Waste Tracker preparations - We will start targeted engagement to onboard users. We will provide user guides, support and information on how to use it.

    Victorian Waste Management Association (VWMA) annual conference. The VWMA represents the waste and recycling sectors. It works to promote best practice and provides services and advice on matters including environmental regulations. 20 April 2021.

    Find out more

    Planned for May

    Industry reference groups will meet this month. A reference group is a group of people we set up to consult with us on environmental issues. Through reference groups, we learn about industry’s environmental concerns. Reference groups’ advice and input help shape our policies. We work with six industry reference groups. These groups pass information on to the industries they represent. 24 May – 11 June, Dates TBC.

    Find out more

    Waste: Waste Tracker preparations - Targeted engagement continues to onboard users. The EPA Interaction Portal will now be open. User guides, support and information will be available.

    Manufacturing: EPA attendance at National Manufacturing Week. National Manufacturing Week is Australia’s largest event for the manufacturing sector. It includes activities, and events that cover a range of manufacturing interests including management of pollution and waste.

    Find out more

    Planned for June

    Waste Tracker goes live. Waste Tracker is EPA’s new online system for tracking the movement of reportable priority waste. You will be able to use Waste Tracker to generate waste transport certificates from late June. User guides, support and information will be available.

  • Community

    Community engagement: Community and environmental advocacy groups meet for quarterly updates from EPA on issues and new laws.
  • Government

    Planned for this quarter

    Local Government and joint regulators: appointments and delegations finalised. EPA has statutory powers we can use to prevent harm to the environment and human health. We can delegate powers to EPA staff, like Environment Protection Officers, or external bodies, like Local Councils. We do this when a person or body can help us fulfil our regulatory objectives. In this quarter we will finalise which of those powers we’ll delegate under the new laws.

    Local councils are co-regulators of environment protection laws. This means that they have some responsibilities for enforcing those laws. In April, EPA will release two new toolkits for local councils:

    • Residential noise enforcement toolkit
    • Onsite wastewater management systems (OWMS) enforcement toolkit

    Stakeholder engagement: State Government partners meet for quarterly updates on EPA's new laws.

    Planned for April

    Multiple Sectors: Australian Environment Business Network (AEBN) contaminated land webinar. The AEBN represents industry, business and councils across Australia, on environmental and carbon matters impacting business operations. EPA anticipates a webinar about managing contaminated land under the new environment protection laws.

    Find out more

Staying informed

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If you have questions or want more information, contact us. 1300 372 842 (1300 EPA VIC) or contact@epa.vic.gov.au 

Reviewed 17 March 2021