Some waste handling and disposal businesses will need a licence, a permit or a registration for the first time, when the new Environment Protection Act starts on 1 July.
Environment Protection Authority Victoria (EPA) Director Tim Faragher says the new rules offer simpler and cheaper features for businesses, as well as better protection of the environment.
“The majority of the waste industry will need to have applications in by 1 October, so every waste business needs to be doing its homework now,” Mr Faragher said.
“And EPA is helping out; there’s a guidance document to show you how, available from our website,” he said.
The newly released guidance document ‘Changes to permissions in the Waste and Resource Recovery Sector’ is available at epa.vic.gov.au/about-epa/publications/1984
Once you have things under way, there’s more advice for businesses at epa.vic.gov.au/for-business/new-laws-and-your-business/permissions
“In general, large waste and resource recovery facilities will need an EPA licence, medium sized operators will need a permit – some of them for the first time – and small businesses will now need to register with EPA,” Mr Faragher said.
Among the types of waste operations that are new to formal EPA permissioning are municipal landfills servicing less than 5000 people, transfer stations and businesses that receive wastes for recycling and re-processing (including metal recyclers and auto-wreckers)
The EPA website is continually adding new support information and the modernised system of permissions offers a number of benefits for waste businesses, including:
• An on-line portal for self service applications
• Most applications will be for registrations that are issued within 24 hrs, with no separate EPA assessment required
• Full digital integration will allow Waste Tracker permits or registrations to be used immediately
• Waste Transport Permits and Registrations will last 5 years instead of 12 months
“The new EP Act, with its new system of licences, permits and registrations is designed to do a better job, and offer business time and money saving convenience, but you must do your homework from now, to be ready in time,” Mr Faragher said.
Waste businesses that produce, transport or receive reportable priority waste will also need to start using Waste Tracker on 1 July 2021.
There’s information on getting ready to use Waste Tracker, available at: epa.vic.gov.au/for-business/business-forms-permits-online-tools/waste-tracker
If you need advice, visit epa.vic.gov.au/for-business/new-laws-and-your-business/permissions
A major feature of the new EP Act is the General Environmental Duty (GED) that requires every Victorian to take all reasonable actions to prevent pollution.
From 1 July, the GED will be the primary obligation on duty holders in industry, and will enable EPA’s work in compliance and enforcement.
The GED applies to everything, and removes the need to impose every obligation through conditions added to one of those permission documents.
In general, permissions under the old legislation will be automatically transitioned to equivalent permissions under the new Act, and over a 12-month transition period, all Operating Licences will be brought in line with the new Act by amending conditions as required.
Permissions such as licences, permits and registrations will complement and support the GED by providing greater assurance that high-level risks to people’s health and the environment are being managed.
EPA has informed industry on the new legislation through a wide ranging program, including:
• Instructional webinars
• Engagement with representative groups
• Direct contact with more than 200 waste companies using Waste Transport Certificates
• The Australian Environmental Business Network
• The Metropolitan Waste & Resource Recovery Group
• Industry and company e-newsletters
• Direct emails to current licence and permission holders