Information on this page is not current law. It details new laws that commence on 1 July 2021 under the Environment Protection Act 2017 and the Environment Protection Regulations.

‘Proposed final’ versions of the new subordinate legislation – the Environment Protection Regulations and Environment Reference Standard (ERS) – have been released to support Victorians to prepare for the new Environment Protection laws.

When the new laws commence, we’ll use a new range of tools called ‘permissions’. While we currently have licences, permits and registrations will be two other levels of permissions. This new approach is risk-based and flexible. It aims to make it easier for businesses to meet their environmental obligations.

Understanding the new requirements

From July 1 some activities that didn’t need our authorisation will need a permission. For example, you will need a registration if your activity involves:

  • smaller landfills 
  • small-scale tyre waste storage 
  • dry cleaning. 

Some temporary activities, like outdoor concerts and use of some wastes, now need a permit.  

Most of the waste industry needs a permission. This includes: 

New requirements give authority for approved lawful places to receive certain types of waste

Check the following permissions summary to make sure your business will be operating lawfully from 1 July 2021.

About licences for high-risk activities

Licences are our permissions tool for high-risk, high complexity activities. From 1 July 2021 there will be three types of licences.

When you need a development licence

Examples of when you might need a development licence include if you:  

  • undertake an activity that needed a works approval before 1 July 2021 
  • set up a medium or large-scale waste and resource recovery facility (WRR). 

When you need an operating licence

An example of when you might need an operating licence

  • if you undertake an activity that needed a licence before 1 July 2021. 

Have a large-scale waste resource recovery (WRR) facility that: 

  • receives or processes more than 4,000 tonnes of waste (including combustible waste) a month 
  • stores more than 10,000 m³ of waste at any time. 

When you need a pilot project licence

Pilot project licences are for research, development or demonstration of a new technology or technique. 

About permits for medium-risk activities

Permits are our permissions tool for medium-risk activities. Examples of when you might need a permit include if you: 

  • undertake an activity that needed an EPA or council approval before 1 July 2021 
  • operate a small municipal landfill 
  • supply or use reportable priority waste

You will also need a permit for WRR facilities that: 

  • receive and process more than 4,000 tonnes of waste (excluding combustible waste) a month 
  • store more than 10,000 m³ of waste at a time. 

Some activities that didn’t require an EPA permission or approval before 1 July 2021 will require a permit after that date. Businesses starting an ongoing scheduled activity before the new regulations come into force will also need a permit.  

If you need a permit, you must apply before the end of any temporary exemption period that Regulations set. 

About registrations for low-risk activities

Registrations are our permissions tool for low-risk activities. Some smaller operators will need a registration when the new laws commence. This includes some operators falling below levels set out in the Scheduled Premises Regulations. These levels relate to: 

  • the capacity your business can handle 
  • the volume of material your business produces or handles. 

Examples of when you might need a registration include if you are: 

  • a council, health service or ambulance service temporarily storing biomedical waste 
  • temporarily storing asbestos 
  • temporarily storing 1,000 litres or less of designated waste not created on your site 
  • transporting waste in a vehicle (depending on the type of waste) 
  • a WRR facility storing 5 to 5,000 m³ of waste (including combustible waste) at a time 
  • a dry cleaner. 

If your existing activity needs a registration, you must apply before the end of any temporary exemption period Regulations set. 

If your activity is new and starts operating from 1 July 2021, there’s no exemption period. You must apply for a registration before your activity starts. 

What new laws mean for current EPA licence, approval or exemption holders

Most activities that already have a licence, approval or exemption will need a permission when the new laws commence. EPA will transition all existing licences, approvals and exemptions to the new Act by: 

  • contacting licence holders to explain the changes 
  • changing waste acceptance and treatment codes, and their conditions 
  • changing conditions to reflect the new laws. 

This means: 

  • licences become operating licences 
  • permits and other approvals become permits or registrations 
  • many exemptions will need a permission.  

What to do if you currently have an exemption

Apply for a permit if you held an exemption 1 July 2021 for: 

  • running a municipal landfill for a council serving less than 5,000 people 
  • running a temporary on-site plant to treat waste not created on your site. 

Apply for a registration if you held an exemption before 1 July 2021 for temporarily storing:  

  •  biomedical waste not created on your site 
  •  asbestos not created on your site 
  •  designated waste not created on your site. 

Check this page for updates on when you must apply.

Read more about permissions and licences

Permissions

Development licences

Operating licences

Pilot project licences

Permits

Registrations 

Reviewed 18 March 2021