Environmental auditors are appointed by EPA under the Environment Protection Act 2017. They meet all the appointment requirements, according to EPA’s assessment process, including being considered experts in their field.
Auditors conduct preliminary risk screen assessments and environmental audits. They may also perform other functions provided for under legislation, as well as prescribed functions that are outlined in the Environment Protection Regulations 2021.
Why auditors need to be independent experts
Environmental auditors’ primary duty of care is to the environment and to the people of Victoria, above all others. This includes their clients.
The auditor must not have:
- a conflict of interest
- a financial interest in a site
- previously assessed a site and commented on its suitability for use, unless it's a further audit of operations related to the original audit.
Being independent means an auditor can’t:
- rely just on the opinions, conclusions or reports about a site or activity from consultants engaged by the client
- have an involvement in the design or implementation of site cleanup or management
- be an advocate for the client in arguing a lesser case for the level of site assessment or remediation.
How EPA works with appointed auditors
Under the Environment Protection Act 2017, it’s EPA’s role to appoint environmental auditors and oversee their conduct.
It’s an auditor’s responsibility to make sure their preliminary risk screen assessments and audits are independent and of high quality. They also need to consider their independence and avoid conflicts of interest when undertaking their other functions.
We provide guidelines in relation to auditor conduct and the environmental audit system. EPA can issue penalties or suspend or revoke an auditor’s appointment based on their conduct.
How auditors work with environmental consultants
Environmental auditors frequently work with environmental consultants. The auditor reviews the work of the consultant who may:
- take and test samples
- conduct data modelling or analysis
- prepare an assessment report or other report
- contribute to the auditing process.
Environmental consultants have expertise in environmental science or engineering. They can do assessments, studies and conduct cleanup programs for contaminated sites. They can’t conduct audits or preliminary risk screen assessments.
Reviewed 21 September 2021