EPA is focused on providing the Victorian community with up-to-date, relevant data on environmental pollutants that affect the health of our community – including air pollution.

We do this by measuring the air for pollutants that can affect human health and the environment, reporting on the results and sharing this information via:

Air pollution is measured at several locations throughout Victoria, providing us and the community with information on the concentration of pollutants in the air.

Some monitors are fixed and some are mobile. EPA has been monitoring ambient air quality at some locations, such as Alphington, Footscray and Traralgon, for more than 30 years.

The air pollution data collected at these stations forms the basis of our annual reporting on Victoria’s ambient air quality.

This is done by assessing the data against the national air quality standards, known as the Ambient Air Quality National Environment Protection Measure (AAQ NEPM).

Previously, the national air quality standards were incorporated into a State Environment Protection Policy (Ambient Air Quality), but this has been superseded by legislation introduced on 1 July 2021 – the Environment Protection Act 2017  (‘the Act’).

National air quality standards are incorporated into the Environment Reference Standard which is made under the Act.

The cornerstone of the Act is the general environmental duty (GED) that requires all Victorians to understand and minimise their risks of harm to human health and the environment from pollution and waste.

This means everyone must take steps to actively prevent or minimise those risks for activities that produce pollution or waste.

To assist with this, a Business/Industry Guideline for Assessing and Minimising Air Pollution in Victoria (for air pollution managers and specialists) has been developed. The guideline can be found here.

The draft guideline was published on the Engage Victoria website in June 2021. You can find our response to public comments here.

Guideline overview

This guideline applies to any industry or business that releases air emissions; air quality consultants; risk assessors; other environmental professionals involved in the assessment and control of air pollution; and is also valuable to communities interested in Victoria’s air quality management framework.

The guideline provides:

  • a clear framework for assessing potential risks from air emissions on the environment and human health
  • air pollution assessment criteria (APACs) replacing the design criteria in the State Environment Protect Policy for Air Quality Management (SEPP AQM)
  • guidance on ways to minimise air emissions and manage residual risk
  • clarity on EPA’s expectations for how industry and business should prevent, minimise and manage risk from air emissions 

Who this guideline is for

Business/industry

The guideline supports licence holders in implementing the GED by providing them with a clear, consistent and proportionate way of assessing and minimising risks. Without it, licence holders would need to develop these methods themselves, creating inconsistencies and possible non-compliance.

Community

The guideline will also be valuable to Victorian communities already interested in Victoria’s air quality management framework.

Reviewed 11 August 2022