The new Environment Protection Amendment Act 2018  (the Act) introduces third party rights.

If a person or company not complying with the law adversely affects you, EPA may be able to act on your behalf. 

If the courts believe EPA has not acted where it should have, in a reasonable time after getting written notice, the new Act gives you greater rights to defend your interests. These are called third-party rights. It means that the court may allow you to make an application to the court yourself. If you’re successful, the court can order EPA to act within the scope of its powers.

Third-party rights, or civil remedies, are an important addition to the new Act and will bring Victoria into line with the rest of Australia. They’ll give broader access to justice to the general community. 

How third-party rights work

The court can allow a person to make a third-party application at its discretion, if it believes that EPA hasn’t acted, within a reasonable timeframe, after being asked to do so in writing. The court can also allow people who haven’t been adversely affected personally, to make an application. This only applies if the court believes this to be in the public interest.

This part of the Act starts on 1 July 2021, one year after the rest of the Act. This is to allow the justice system time to adapt and expand its capacity to meet the needs of the community.

Third party rights infographic

Reviewed 7 November 2019