On 1 July 2021, new environmental laws came into effect that focus on the prevention of harm to the environment and human health from pollution and waste. The centrepiece of these new laws are duties relating to environment protection, particularly the General Environmental Duty (GED).

This Statement of Regulatory Intent outlines the approach the Environment Protection Authority Victoria (EPA) will take to ensure you achieve compliance with these new duties – an approach that is consistent, transparent and proportionate. Importantly, this statement includes information about what you can expect when an EPA officer visits your business, including how they will assess whether or not you’re discharging your obligations to prevent harm to the environment and human health.

Understanding and controlling your risks is key to complying with the new duties. EPA will work with you to do so, with a focus on educating and supporting you to prevent harm from your activities. To this end, we’ve produced many publications and other materials that are centred around the four steps for controlling hazards and risks that are shown in Figure 1: Steps in controlling risks and hazards. When our officers visit your business and assess your compliance with the new laws, they will want to know that you understand these steps and are proactively taking action to implement them.

We recognise that risks to the environment and human health are often linked to the scale of a business operation and expect that larger businesses will generally have a more sophisticated understanding of their risks and systems in place to show how they’re controlling them.

You know your businesses and you are in the best position to determine the risks posed to the environment and human health by your operations, and how they can be best controlled.

Steps in controlling risks and hazards

Steps in controlling hazards and risks infographic

Reviewed 2 July 2021