Are you aware there are new enforcement powers in Victoria for Environmental Protection Laws?

  • August 4th, 2021 at 8:06 pm

Environmental Protection Laws have changed in Victoria and businesses need to prepare themselves. These new laws will affect everyone – meaning all business owners, their staff and even the community need to be ready to implement these changes to remain complaint.

As of July 1st 2021, The Environment Protection Authority (EPA) Vic now have considerable powers to investigate and act on breaches of Environmental Protection Laws. Moving forward, there will be a new normal with how businesses must manage their waste – and the SBAA wants Victorian Business owners to be prepared for these changes.

Similar to a Health Inspector, The EPA can now inspect your business waste practices at any reasonable time without notice. If you are suspected of willfully or accidentally polluting, you will be investigated and may face harsh fines and punishment (Including fines for breaking the law, incurring the considerable cost of the clean-up of pollution etc).

  • If you have ANY waste or by-product from your business that you wouldn’t be happy to put into your own drinking water, bury in the soil next to where your food is grown, or something similar, then you need to understand how waste management must be conducted to be in line with the new laws.
  • Think about how this may affect your staff? Who will be dealing with the waste of your business on a daily basis? Who in your organisation accepts deliveries of potentially hazardous materials? Who is responsible for throwing things away, cleaning down surfaces, etc. They will also need to undertake training to understand their new responsibilities.

Some waste activities will now require authorization from the EPA when previously they could be performed with no oversight. For example, If you are renovating and need to work with the removal or storage of asbestos, you will now need permission from the EPA. This is only ONE example out of many activities that now require authorization. These permissions and licenses aim to regulate & track these potentially harmful activities and minimize their impact on the environment.

You might think the amended EPA laws don’t pertain to you … “I’ve never had to deal with the EPA before”, maybe they don’t, but if you have to dispose of waste, let’s say, toner from your printers, or if you store fuel for the mower to do your garden area, maybe your business borders onto a residential space, maybe even a park or a creek. If any of this sounds familiar, then you will need to be aware of the changes and make sure your business is compliant.

  • If you are a business owner in Victoria, you need to be prepared for these changes.
  • Your staff need to be prepared for these changes.
  • Both you & your staff need to know what your new responsibilities are.

Remember ignorance is no escape, and the EPA are doing everything they can to ensure you are informed and ready to adapt to the new laws.

The SBAA are here to help Victorian Business owners with this transition in 2 ways.

Register for our Free weekly webinar that outlines what has changed, and how you can adapt your business practices to protect the environment and avoid fines. You can register for our Webinars here:

https://smallbusinessassociation.com.au/events/introduction-to-the-new-environmental-protection-laws-vic/

OR

Learn and train at your own pace by signing up to the EPA’s E-learning to access 8 learning modules that will take you through the changes to environmental laws and outline your new responsibilities.
To Register for E-Learning, visit the EPA website here:

https://environm01.plateau.com/learning/user/portal.do?siteID=IPP%2dExternal&landingPage=login

  • Create a New Account by becoming a New User on the login page.
  • Enter your Details
  • In the “Site Registration Code” field, use the code SBAA to access for FREE
  • Once you get to your account screen, click on the “Browse all courses” link
  • From there you can access each of the 8 learning modules at your leisure.

If you would like more information or personalised advice, the EPA is happy to help business owners who call 1300 372 842.

Written by Brandon Cockfield, Marketing, Communications and Events Coordinator of Small Business Association of Australia.