What is EPA Reform?

The Victorian Government committed to modernise 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

The new Victorian environment protection laws came into effect on 1 July 2021. Environment Protection Regulations (regulations) and the Environment Reference Standard (ERS) have been developed to support the new laws.

These laws were previously intended to come into effect on 1 July 2020 but were delayed during April 2020 due to the impacts of coronavirus (COVID-19).

The new regulations, ERS and the Response to Public Comments report are available at the EPA website here. The report sets out how all substantive comments received during public consultation on the draft regulations and ERS were responded to.

Learn more about the new environmental regulations

The EPA held an information webinar on Victoria's new environment protection laws on Wednesday 3 February 2021. The webinar was called Victoria’s New Environment Protection Laws- Update from EPA Victoria.

You can watch the webinar and find out more about the new environmental regulations at the EPA website here.

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

As part of its response to the independent inquiry into the EPA, the Victorian Government committed $6.47 million to implement the Officers for the Protection of the Local Environment (OPLEs) pilot program.

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.

Initially, 11 OPLEs were employed, authorised by EPA and placed in 13 council offices across Victoria. In June 2019, the Victorian Government committed a further $3.4 million to expand the pilot. This allowed the pilot to grow to 23 councils supported by 19 OPLEs.

The extra funding recognises EPA’s critical role in preventing harm from pollution and waste. The expanded OPLE pilot will continue to focus on responding to smaller-scale, lower-risk pollution issues in communities such as dust, odour, noise and small-scale illegal dumping. It also includes a focus on reducing illegal chemical and waste stockpiling.

The OPLE pilot is strengthening relationships between EPA and councils, resulting in faster responses to smaller-scale pollution, increased accountability and better outcomes for community, industry and government. You can read case studies that showcase success stories for EPA OPLEs on the EPA website.

The participating councils are

Metro councils

Brimbank City

City of Casey

City of Greater Dandenong

City of Kingston

City of Melton

City of Port Phillip

City of Whittlesea

Hobsons Bay City

Hume City

Maribyrnong City

Mornington Peninsula Shire

Wyndham City

Regional councils

Baw Baw Shire

Buloke Shire

Central Goldfields Shire

City of Ballarat

City of Wodonga

Greater Shepparton City

Latrobe City

Loddon Shire

Mildura Rural City

Moorabool Shire

Surf Coast Shire

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.