New Victorian environmental laws

Articles

New Victorian environmental laws

01/08/2018

The Victorian Government has tabled the Environment Protection Amendment Bill 2018 in parliament which aims to make significant reforms to environmental regulation in Victoria.

The Bill introduces new powers, duties and compliance mechanisms.

 

The key changes include:

 

  • A new General Environmental Duty where responsible parties must identify and control risks of harm to humans or
    environment as far as reasonably practicable. Similar to the workplace safety laws.
  • Duty to Notify of Pollution Incidents as soon as practicable, and a duty to restore areas affected by pollution.
  • Duty to Manage Contaminated Land including duty to notify the EPA of historic contamination.
  • Waste Management Duties include consideration of alternatives to waste disposal.
  • Three-Tiered Permissions include either:
    1. Registration, or
    2. Permit, or
    3. Licence; depending on the risk profile.
  • Pollution and Contamination Notices similar to workplace safety Improvement Notices and Prohibition Notices, and site
    management orders which might be registered on title and binding on successors.
  • Surveillance and Investigation Powers to allow the EPA to increase its use of drones and other electronic surveillance and
    inspection measures.
  • Related Bodies Liability redirecting liability to comply to new entity if company is wound-up.
  • Criminal Penalties to apply for environmental breaches with maximum fine about $3m or five (5) years jail for individuals.
  • Privilege Against Self-Incrimination will continue, except for duty to
    notify of incidents or contamination.
  • Third Party Rights will allow those affected by breaches by others to seek civil orders to restrain the conduct.

       

If the Bill is passed it is scheduled to take effect from December 2020.

 

We will update you on this important environmental change as developments occur.

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