Victoria’s new environmental protection laws are here 

From July 1 2021, Victoria has new environment protection laws. These sweeping changes will affect thousands of Victorian businesses.

The new environment protection laws create an obligation for all Victorians to proactively manage environmental and human health risks arising from their activities.

Whereas the old legislation focused on punishing polluters, the new laws require proactive risk management behaviours.

The crux of the new laws, which draw on workplace safety legislation, is the General Environmental Duty (GED):

“A person who is engaging in an activity that may give rise to risks of harm to human health or the environment from pollution or waste must minimise those risks, so far as reasonably practicable.”

(source: EP Amendment Act 2018)

Doing what is reasonably practicable means putting in place risk management controls that balance the following:

  • The likelihood of those risks eventuating
  • The degree of harm that would result if those risks eventuated
  • What you know, or ought to know about the harm, or risks, and any ways of eliminating or reducing them
  • The availability and suitability of ways to eliminate or reduce those risks
  • The cost of eliminating or reducing those risks.

What does this mean for your business?

As a business owner or manager, you must do three things:

  • Understand your risks
  • Understand the availability of controls to eliminate or reduce your risks
  • Implement available, suitable and cost-effective controls

Depending on the type of business you run, you may have additional obligations such as: a business registration or permits, waste tracking or to manage contaminated land.

Ask GED Edge what you need to do next.

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