Consultation has now been completed and a new State Environment Protection Policy (Waters) was declared in October 2018.

The new SEPP (Waters) ensures that Victoria has a contemporary statutory policy for the protection and management of surface water and groundwater in Victoria. This is achieved by establishing in law the uses and environmental values to be protected, defining the level of environmental quality required for their protection, and setting rules and obligations to ensure management actions are taken to protect water quality.

SEPP (Waters) updates and replaces two previous SEPPs to provide a single instrument to guide water quality management in Victoria and improve protection of our waterways, bays and coastal waters. It provides environmental quality objectives which better reflect conditions of our water environments and is based on extensive monitoring data, the latest scientific understanding and relevant national standards. It also more clearly identifies rules for decision makers and obligations on industry to guide the protection and management of water quality in Victoria.

Public Consultation

As part of the SEPP (Waters) review, the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) and Environment Protection Authority (EPA) developed a new draft SEPP (Waters), policy impact assessment and implementation plan. These draft documents were provided via this website for public consultation from February – June 2018. EPA advertised the release of the review documentation in The Age, Herald Sun and Koori Mail newspapers.

The public consultation period also included 10 workshops, many meetings, several one-on-one discussions and numerous phone conversations with stakeholders. DELWP and EPA received a total of 83 formal submissions. In addition, many informal comments made throughout the consultation process (meetings and briefing sessions) were considered in the finalisation of the SEPP (Waters).

DELWP and EPA have produced a “Summary of Comment and Response Report” to provide an overview of public submissions on the draft SEPP (Waters), draft Policy Impact Assessment and draft Implementation Plan, and responses to the submissions made. A copy of the report, along with all public submissions made, are available via the DELWP website

Information on the new SEPP (Waters), including final support documents such as the Implementation Plan and Monitoring, Evaluation and Reporting Framework, are available via the DELWP and EPA websites.