Under the Environment Protection Act 2017  (the Act), EPA will delegate functions and powers to local governments. Councils will have the power to appoint employees as authorised officers.  

Authorised officers will have a wider range of powers to support council to:  

  • regulate onsite wastewater management systems (OWMS) of less than 5000 litres   
  • regulate noise from residential construction sites. 

These delegated powers are in addition to the direct powers councils have under the Act and Regulations. 

The delegation will take place in two stages: 

  1. EPA’s Governing Board will delegate to local governments. 
  2. Councils will appoint employees as authorised officers. 

The delegation has two important limitations: 

  1. Councils can only appoint an employee or class of employee, as an authorised officer.  
  2. While council authorised officers can investigate and issue certain notices, they can’t take further enforcement action such as court proceedings. The power to take proceedings sits with EPA. This limitation doesn’t apply to offences under the Act or Regulations where councils have direct powers.   

Support for councils

EPA has developed a series of toolkits and guidance to support councils in understanding their responsibilities under the new Act including:

We also held a webinar for local government outlining important changes to environment protection laws and how EPA is supporting you to be ready to regulate. The webinar, and questions and answers from the webinar are available here.

Reviewed 18 June 2021