Those aggrieved by EPA issuing a works approval or certain licences can appeal to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) for an independent review of the decision.

When you can appeal a works approval decision

Any person who is aggrieved by the granting of a works approval may lodge an appeal. There are two grounds on which an appeal may be lodged:

  • if discharge(s) in accordance with the approval will ‘unreasonably or adversely’ affect the interests of the appellant
  • if the discharge(s) will be inconsistent with the applicable state environment protection policy (SEPP) or, if there is no applicable SEPP, the discharge would cause pollution.

Section 33B(2) of the Environment Protection Act 1970 (the Act) provides more information on the grounds for which an appeal can be made .

An appeal must be lodged within 21 days of EPA making its decision to grant the works approval. The grounds on which the appeal is lodged must be stated. Refer to sections 32(2) and 33B(1) of the Act for more information on lodging an appeal.

A second or third-party appeal against a decision of EPA has the effect of putting the decision in abeyance. See sections 33A(8), 33B(4) and 36 of the Act for more information on what happens when an appeal has been lodged.

Third parties may also request EPA to notify them if and when a works approval is granted. Those considering lodging an appeal against the works approval may wish to be notified so the appeal can be lodged within the time limit allowed. See sections 19B(3) and 19B(5)(a) of the Act for more information.

When you can appeal a licence decision

A person may only appeal against the issue or amendment of a licence in one situation. This is where the applicant failed to obtain a works approval as required by the Act. If a works approval was obtained, the conditions of the licence must be consistent with the conditions of the works approval and further appeal rights are not considered necessary.

However, if a discharger has failed to obtain a works approval, in addition to any penalty imposed, the application will be treated in the same manner as an application for a works approval. EPA will advertise that it has received the application, make available copies or summaries for comment, receive written comments and, if appropriate, hold a conference.

Wherever possible, information about proposed licence conditions will be made available to interested parties during the works approval stage.

An appeal must be lodged within 21 days of EPA’s decision and only on those grounds described above. See sections 20(7), 20A(6), 32(2) and 33B of the Act for more information on lodging an appeal.

A second or third-party appeal against a decision of EPA has the effect of putting the decision in abeyance. See sections 33A(8), 33B(4) and 36 of the Act for more information on what happens when an appeal has been lodged.

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Reviewed 24 September 2020