What is EPA Reform?

The Victorian Government is committed to modernising the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) to meet Victoria’s environment and human health challenges now and into the future. The government response to the EPA Inquiry details the suite of reforms for the overall transformation of the EPA to a world class environmental regulator. These are the first major reforms since the EPA was formed in 1971. They will ensure the EPA continues to play its vitally important role for Victoria.

The implementation of the reforms ensures:

  • EPA will protect Victorians’ health and their environment, preventing and reducing harmful effects of pollution and waste.
  • EPA will deliver efficient, proportionate and consistent regulation which is vital for economic prosperity by ensuring Victoria is an attractive place to invest, work, live and visit.

The reforms will transform Victoria’s approach to environment protection over a number of years and will include engagement with community, business, and other stakeholders.

Read the Government Response to the Independent Inquiry to the EPA and summary in the document library.

Subordinate legislation: Regulations and Environment Reference Standards

On 1 July 2020 it is intended that the new Victorian environment protection laws will come into effect. Environment Protection Regulations (regulations) and the Environment Reference Standard (standards) have been developed to support the new laws.

Public consultation about the proposed regulations and standards was held between 2 September – 31 October 2019.

The submissions received are currently being reviewed and considered by EPA and DELWP before regulations and standards are made by government. All substantive comments will be responded to via a report published in 2020 on Engage Victoria.

It is anticipated that the new regulations and standards will be made in early 2020 and are intended to come into effect on 1 July 2020.

You can still find a copy of the proposed regulations and the Environment Reference Standard on Engage Victoria here.

Stay up to date by subscribing to EPA newsletters here.

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Previous consultation

EPA’s Organisational Strategy

EPA has embarked on a five-year reform program to provide the people of Victoria with a strong, agile and modern environmental regulator. We want to ensure we can meet both the environmental and human health challenges of the future, and the expectations of the community.

To help Victorians better understand who we are, what we do and the changes we’re making, EPA has released a digital version of our new organisational strategy, Our environment, Our health which can be viewed here.

Our environment, Our health sets out our vision and identifies five goals that will guide our work:

• Prevent harm

• Equip community and business

• Be an influential authority

• Respond to harm

• Organisational excellence

To help shape these goals and our priorities for the next five years, EPA held eight community consultations sessions in April and May 2017 in Benalla, Bendigo, Bairsdale, Dandenong, Morwell, Geelong, Sunshine and Warrnambool. Victorians from far and wide came along and shared their thoughts on how EPA might better serve them. To read more about who attended and the feedback shared, please click here.

Keep visiting this page to stay updated on further reform projects or sign up here to be notified of our progress and any opportunities to get involved.

Environment Protection Act 2017

Reforms news update: Environment Protection Act 2017 passed by Parliament

The Environment Protection Act 2017 has been passed by Parliament and received Royal Assent on 24 October 2017.

This is the first of two phases of legislative reform to overhaul the 47-year-old Environment Protection Act 1970 and replace it with modernised and fit-for-purpose legislation. The reforms in this first Act modernise the Environment Protection Authority's corporate governance and strengthen its status as a science-based regulator to ensure it is ready for the rest of the major transformation it will undergo. The second Bill (which will complete the reform of the Environment Protection Act 1970) is scheduled to be introduced to Parliament in 2018. Coupled with increased funding from the 2017-18 budget, these changes will build a stronger, modern and better resourced Environment Protection Authority for the future.

The Environment Protection Act 2017 is available online in the Victorian Statute Book.

Officers for the Protection of the Local Environment Pilot Program

Local government and EPA play a vital role in responding to pollution and waste issues that compromise environmental and public health, and adversely impact liveability and amenity. As part of its response to the independent inquiry into the EPA, the Victorian Government has committed $6.47 million to implement the Officers for the Protection of the Local Environment (OPLEs) program.

This pilot program will see officers authorised under the Environment Protection Act 1970 embedded within local councils across the state. Since release of its response, the Victorian Government has been engaging with key local government, industry and community stakeholders to gain their input into the design and rollout of the pilot program. All Victorian councils were invited to submit an Expression of Interest to participate in the pilot program.

The pilot program commenced in September 2017 and runs through to July 2019. OPLEs are EPA employees embedded within Victorian councils and will address small scale pollution reports which are currently not being comprehensively addressed by either local councils or the EPA.

The councils selected for the pilot are:

  • Port Phillip City Council
  • City of Casey
  • City of Greater Dandenong
  • Wyndham City Council
  • Surf Coast Shire Council
  • Rural City of Mildura
  • Greater Shepparton City Council
  • Rural City of Wodonga
  • Loddon Shire, Buloke Shire and Central Goldfields (shared OPLE)
  • Brimbank and Hobsons Bay (shared OPLE).

EPA is working with each of these councils individually to implement the OPLE Pilot Program.

For more information on the OPLE Pilot Program, please call 1300 372 842 (1300 EPA VIC).

Privacy statement

The Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) is committed to protecting personal information provided by you in accordance with the principles of the Victorian privacy laws. The information you provide will be used to enable us and Environment Protection Authority Victoria (EPA) to contact you with information about the reforms outlined in the government response, to notify you of engagement opportunities and to inform the reform work. Your contact details may be used by DELWP, EPA or its contracted service providers under confidentiality agreements to survey you about your experience with DELWP. The information you provide will be made available to DELWP, EPA and other government organisations for the stated purposes. You may access the information you have provided to DELWP by contacting epa.reform@delwp.vic.gov.au or 136 186.