The biggest transformation in EPA’s history is underway. This means we’ll be more equipped than ever to meet the environmental challenges facing Victoria.
We’ll provide the science-first advice and leadership Victorians need to protect their health and environment.
We’re passionate about this state staying one of the most liveable places on the planet – a place where community and industry continue to thrive.
Becoming a world-class regulator
The Victorian Government undertook a public inquiry into EPA and its final conclusions were released in 2016. The community and business told us they want a world class regulator that prevents harm to the environment and public health. We are committed to working with Victorians to deliver on that vision.
The final report from the Independent Inquiry into EPA (the Inquiry) identified 48 areas for potential improvement. In January 2017 the Government released its response to the Inquiry, providing support in full or in part for all 48 recommendations made by the Inquiry.
Our organisational strategy, Our environment, Our health, is guiding our implementation of the Government’s response to the Inquiry and transformation to a world class regulator.
The Government’s response to the Inquiry provided support for a legislative overhaul of the Environment Protection Act 1970 through two phases.
The first happened in October 2017, when the new Environment Protection Act 2017 was passed by Parliament. From 1 July 2018, this Act established EPA as an independent statutory authority and legislated a Governing Board, Chief Executive Officer and Chief Environmental Scientist.
Completing the legislative overhaul is the Environment Protection Amendment Act 2018 (the Amendment Act) which amends the Environment Protection Act 2017 (the 2017 Act). The Amendment Act was passed by Parliament and received Royal Assent in August 2018.
Implementation of the new legislation will form part of EPA’s ongoing organisation-wide transformation. Following the Inquiry, we are overhauling many of our services, systems and processes, while ensuring we are fully equipped to work with our new legislation.
The Government intends for the amended 2017 Act to commence on 1 July 2020. When it commences, the amended Act will give EPA enhanced powers and tools to prevent risks to the environment and human health as well as the ability to issue stronger sanctions and penalties which hold environmental polluters to account.
A centerpiece of the legislation is a new general environmental duty which will require businesses and individuals conducting activities that pose a risk to human health and the environment to understand those risks and take reasonably practicable steps to eliminate or minimise them. In an Australian first, the general environmental duty is criminally enforceable.
Read more about the parliamentary process on the Parliament of Victoria website. The Victorian Legislation website contains a copy of the Amendment Act.
Until 1 July 2020, the Environment Protection Act 1970 and the current version of the Environment Protection Act 2017 will continue to apply.
Between now and 2020, we will undertake extensive consultation with industry, business and community as we prepare for the implementation of the amended Act.
We are committed to keeping all stakeholders informed of key developments in a timely and transparent manner, and we will use a variety of channels, including our website, direct engagement, workshops, surveys and other methods.
Our principles for implementation include:
- We will help community and business understand the general environmental duty (to prevent risk or harm) and other changes in the legislation.
- We will engage stakeholders on the changes that affect them and welcome feedback throughout implementation.
- We will provide guidance to stakeholders about ways to meet their obligations and manage risks to the environment and human health.
- We will provide timely and accessible information about EPA's regulatory approach under the new legislation.
- We will continue to strengthen our effectiveness in responding to harm from pollution and waste offences.
How to get involved
Your input on the future protection and management of our environment is vital.
As EPA develops the necessary regulations and other subordinate legislation required for the operation of our amended Act, we will provide industry, business and the community, with a range of engagement opportunities.
Over the coming year, we will also be releasing further industry guidance materials to help you comply with your environmental responsibilities.
If you have questions related to subordinate legislation and the development of industry guidance, or would like to get involved, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can also subscribe to our regular newsletters to hear about upcoming consultations, events and workshops relevant to your community or business, or contact us with general questions.
1 July 2020 – Expected commencement of the amended Environment Protection Act 2017
August 2018 – The Environment Protection Amendment Bill 2018 passed by Victorian Parliament and received Royal Assent, becoming the Environment Protection Amendment Act 2018.
1 July 2018 – The Environment Protection Act 2017 came into full effect, establishing EPA as an independent statutory authority and legislating the role of a Governing Board, Chief Executive Officer and Chief Environmental Scientist. The Governing Board also commenced.
20 June 2018 – The second reading of the Environment Protection Amendment Bill 2018 occurred in the Legislative Assembly of the Victorian Parliament.
May 2018 – EPA Governing Board announced: https://www.premier.vic.gov.au/new-epa-governance-board-finalised/
October 2017 – The Environment Protection Bill 2017 was passed by the Victorian Parliament and received Royal Assent, becoming the Environment Protection Act 2017.