Pollution from odour can cause harm to the environment or people. Businesses must make sure that any odour from their activities or premises doesn’t impact the local community. This includes being responsible for contractors or tradespeople they may hire.  

What the law says about odour

Odour is a key environmental issue set out in the Environment Protection Act  2017  (the Act). Odour is also clearly defined as a form of pollution and offensive odour constitutes a harm in accordance with the Act. Odour is also included in the environment reference standard under section 93 of the Act. 

Under the Act, the risk of harm from odour that is offensive to the sense of human beings must be reduced as far as reasonably practicable, with the overall objective of an air environment that is free from offensive odours. 

Permissions and odour

Depending on the type of activity, businesses may need a permission such as a licence, registration or permit to operate. The Environment Protection Regulations say which premises this applies to.

Australian Standards and odour

There are also Australian Standards about odour. They give businesses information about sampling and analysing odour.  

Your local council and odour

Your local council may also have rules for the community and businesses to follow. 

Read more about odour 

About odour 

Odour and EPA's role

Report odour 

Describing what odour smells like

Reviewed 30 January 2023