What's new in law
Recent significant changes to legislation administered by the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) and related topics are listed below. Links to the text of the new Act, Regulation or Bill are provided where available (obtained from the NSW legislation or NSW Parliament websites).
- For a list of legislation administered by EPA, see legislation.
- See the Glossary for explanations of these terms: assent, Bill, gazette.
The Protection of the Environment Operations (Hunter River Salinity Trading Scheme) Amendment Regulation 2016 (the Amendment Regulation) (PDF 244KB), which commenced on 16 March 2017, implements recommended changes to the Protection of the Environment Operations (Hunter River Salinity Trading Scheme) Regulation 2002 arising from its statutory ten-year review. The primary amendment is increased flood flow thresholds under clause 11, which addresses the risk of the scheme salinity targets being exceeded during flood flows. The remaining amendments are of a minor nature (i.e. mechanical, administrative and tidy-up amendments), to improve clarity and consistency, and to remove repetition and redundant clauses. Find out more about the review of the Regulation.
The Protection of the Environment Operations (General) Amendment (Newcastle Air Monitoring) Regulation 2015 (PDF 197KB) makes provision for the establishment of the Newcastle Local Air Quality Monitoring Network. The Regulation includes provisions to:
- Require holders of environment protection licences in the Newcastle local government area to pay a levy towards the cost of the monitoring program
- Calculate the amount of the levy payable by those licence holders
- Require licence holders to provide the EPA with information about emissions
- Allow persons authorised by the EPA to enter land owned or occupied by licence holders for the purposes of the operation of the monitoring program
- Require the EPA to make air quality data available on its website and to publicly report on the monitoring program.
Find out more about the Newcastle Air Monitoring Regulation at the Commencement of Newcastle Local Air Quality Network Regulation webpage.
- The Protection of the Environment Operations Amendment (NSW Gas Plan) Regulation 2014 came into effect on 19 December 2014.
This Regulation amends the Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997 and the Protection of the Environment Operations (General) Regulation 2009 to ensure that all petroleum activities are regulated consistently. It requires all petroleum exploration, assessment and production activities to hold an Environment Protection Licence issued by the EPA, provides a new administrative fee scale for this activity, and requires operators licenced for this activity to pay load-based fees on specific assessable pollutants when the annual production capacity exceeds 0.5 petajoules. Find out more about the Protection of the Environment Operations Amendment (NSW Gas Plan) Regulation 2014.
- The Protection of the Environment Legislation Amendment Act 2014 makes a series of amendments to the Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997 (the POEO Act), the Contaminated Land Management Act 1997 (CLM Act) and the Radiation Control Act 1990 to strengthen and align environmental penalties and alternative sentencing options. The Act also makes miscellaneous amendments to the POEO Act and the CLM Act to support timely and cost-effective enforcement by the EPA, and to the Protection of the Environment Administration Act 1991. Find out more about the Protection of the Environment Legislation Amendment Act 2014.
- The Protection of the Environment Operations (General) Amendment (Fees and Penalty Notices) Regulation 2014 increases penalty notice amounts for some offences under the Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997 by amending the Protection of the Environment Operations (General) Regulation 2009. The Fees and Penalty Notices Regulation will increase penalty notice amounts to be proportionate to the seriousness, harm and nature of an offence. This Regulation will also prescribe additional staff as enforcement officers, include two-fee-based waste processing activities on Schedule 1 of the General Regulation that are currently listed in Schedule 1 of the POEO Act, and make other changes of a machinery nature to the General Regulation. Find out more about the Fees and Penalty Notices Regulation.
- The Protection of the Environment Administration Regulation 2012 remakes the Protection of the Environment Administration Regulation 2005 with no amendments. The Regulation makes provision for members of the Board of the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) to make disclosures of interests as required by clause 7(3) of Schedule 1 of the Protection of the Environment Administration Act 1991. In particular, the Regulation sets out requirements relating to the time that disclosures should be made and the form of such disclosures; prescribes the types of interests to be disclosed, including interests in real property, sources of outside income, gifts, contributions to travel, interests and positions in corporations, positions in associations, debts and dispositions of property; and includes requirements for keeping a Register of Disclosures by members of the Board and for inspecting the register. This Regulation is administered by the EPA.
February and March 2012
The NSW Government introduced the Protection of the Environment Legislation Amendment Act 2011 to amend the Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997 (POEO Act). The new provisions came into force in February and March 2012.
The Protection of the Environment Operations (General) Amendment (Pollution Incident Response Management Plans) Regulation 2012 amends the Protection of the Environment Operations (General) Regulation 2009 to prescribe certain matters relating to the form, content, testing and availability of pollution incident response management plans. The Amendment Regulation commenced on 29 February 2012. You can find further information about pollution incident response management plans here.
The changes to the POEO Act include:
The maximum penalty for failing to notify a pollution incident (in accordance with the POEO Act) has been doubled to $2 million.
In certain instances, the EPA and Ministry of Health can require payment for analysing the human health and environmental risks arising from an incident.
The EPA has greater powers to require a mandatory environmental audit.
Industry has to provide more information to the public, and make this available online.
The Protection of the Environment Legislation Amendment Act 2011 page provides further details on these new requirements.
Page last updated: 20 March 2017