EPA appoints Environmental auditors under the Environment Protection Act 2017. They must meet all the appointment requirements, according to EPA’s assessment process. This includes being considered experts in their field.

Environmental auditors conduct preliminary risk screen assessments and environmental audits. They may also perform other functions allowed for under legislation. This includes the  Environment Protection Regulations 2021.

Why environmental auditors need to be independent experts

Environmental auditors have a duty of care to the environment and to the people of Victoria. This includes their clients.  

An environmental auditor must not have:

  • a conflict of interest in relation to a site or stakeholder
  • a financial interest in a site
  • assessed the same site and commented on its suitability for use before. This is unless it's a further environmental audit of an operations site,  such as a landfill. 

Being independent means an auditor can’t:

  • rely just on the work of consultants engaged by the client. They must have their own opinions and conclusions about the work undertaken on the site. 
  • be involved in the design or implementation of site clean-up or management.  
  • be an advocate for the client, e.g, arguing a lesser case for the level of site assessment or remediation. 

How EPA works with appointed environmental auditors

Under the legislation, it’s EPA’s role to appoint environmental auditors. It is also EPAs role to oversee their conduct.

It’s an environmental auditor’s responsibility to make sure their work and conduct is: 

  • is independent 
  • is of a high quality
  • avoids conflicts of interest.

EPA provides guidelines for environmental auditor conduct and the environmental audit system. EPA can receive complaints about an environmental auditor’s performance or conduct. EPA can issue penalties or suspend or revoke an environmental auditor’s appointment. 

How environmental auditors work with environmental consultants

Environmental auditors often work with environmental consultants. An environmental auditor will review the work of the environmental consultant. This may include: 

  • collecting and testing samples 
  • conducting data modelling or analysis  
  • preparing an assessment report or other report  
  • contributing to the environmental auditing process. 

Environmental consultants have expertise in environmental science or engineering. They can perform assessments, studies and conduct cleanup programs for contaminated sites. They can’t conduct environmental audits or preliminary risk screen assessments.

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Reviewed 4 July 2023