Local government (councils) play an important role under the Environment Protection Act 2017 (the Act). They're our partners, joint-regulators and duty holders in the environment protection framework.  

Councils regulate several key environmental and human health issues using their powers under the Act. They also act as land managers and provide key services to the community, such as waste collection and landfill management.

View a recent webinar for local government outlining important changes to environment protection laws and how EPA is supporting you to be ready to regulate. Questions and answers from the webinar have also been published on this page. 

Duty holders

EPA regulates council activities that may have environmental or human health impacts, including:  

  • landfills 
  • waste facilities such as transfer stations 
  • land management including local roads and public spaces 
  • construction.  

The local government sector guide (publication 1821) is for councils in their role of duty holder. It can help identify which activities could cause harm from pollution and waste. The guide also includes information about managing risks (including examples), legal obligations and common hazards in councils.

Joint regulators

Councils play an essential role in protecting the environment and human health. They do this by helping to regulate: 

Find out how functions and powers are delegated to councils.

Memorandum of understanding between EPA and the Municipal Association of Victoria

EPA has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV) on behalf of local government. An MoU is a type of arrangement. EPA and MAV signed the MOU on 22 June 2021. The term of the MoU is 36 months until 21 June 2024.

This MoU outlines our approach to working with local councils. MAV represents Victoria’s 79 local councils. The MoU reflects EPA’s commitment to support our partnerships with local councils as joint regulators.

EPA and MAV commit to meet objectives in the MoU. These are based on agreed principles about the roles and responsibilities of EPA and local government as joint regulators. The areas where we share responsibility are:

  • litter
  • illegal dumping
  • noise
  • on-site wastewater management systems with a capacity of up to 5000 litres on any day.

The reason we have an MoU is to:

  • acknowledge the important working relationship between EPA and local councils
  • provide a framework to guide and support local councils as joint regulators.

The key focus areas in the MoU are:

  • support for local government to implement  areas of shared responsibility
  • engagement and consultation
  • the regulatory framework that applies to EPA and local government.

The MoU does not:

  • stop EPA and MAV from working on any other issues the MoU doesn’t cover
  • stop EPA from direct engagement with any local council on any other issues the MoU doesn’t cover.

Over the life of the MoU, EPA and MAV will consult with councils about the key focus areas. Together, we’ll develop them further and set out new schedules to the MoU. We encourage councils to work with MAV to address their interests through the MoU.

The Officers for the Protection of the Local Environment program

Officers for the Protection of the Local Environment (OPLE) are EPA authorised officers, based in councils. They help council officers with compliance and enforcement action for minor local pollution incidents. 

Read next

Reviewed 21 July 2021