EPA Victoria publishes Compliance Code for eight Big Build Projects

Image courtesy of Victorian Government.
Image courtesy of Victorian Government.

A new Compliance Code for eight of Victoria’s Big Build Projects provides practical guidance on how to comply with obligations under the new Environment Protection Act 2017.

Effective from July 1, the new Victorian law features responsibilities for all Victorians, including individuals and businesses to protect the environment and community, giving EPA Victoria greater enforcement capabilities.

EPA developed the Code in consultation with the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) and Major Transport Infrastructure Authority (MTIA) in response to concerns raised by the industry seeking assurance that existing approvals and environmental management frameworks would continue to be valid throughout the transition.

The Code will apply to eight major transport infrastructure projects currently being delivered by MTIA. These include: The North East Link, Melbourne Metro Rail, West Gate Tunnel, Mordialloc Freeway, Western Highway, Echuca-Moama, Edithvale and Bonbeach Level Crossing Removal and the Princes Highway East Duplication.

The Compliance Code focuses on providing guidelines for compliance across these projects with respect to key areas under the Act.

The first is the general environmental duty, which encourages businesses to minimise risks to both human and environmental health of their immediate operating area.

The second is the duty to manage contaminated land. This encourages an operator who is working on or owns contaminated land to minimise their own risks to both the environment and human health.

The third is the ‘obligation not to emit or permit the emission of unreasonable noise from a place or premises that are not residential premises.’

“The new Environment Protection Act gives EPA greater ability to protect our environment and community,” EPA Chief Executive Officer Lee Miezis told Roads & Infrastructure.

“The roads and infrastructure industries, like everyone, have a role to play in protecting our environment and the general environment duties provisions in the Act means we all have to takes steps to reduce the risk of pollution or call out actions that might create pollution.”

The Victorian Environmental Protection Authority had input into the Environment Effects Statement for each of the eight listed projects, to ensure the projects could continue design and construction in compliance to the code.

The Civil Contractors Federation Victoria has welcomed the Code of Compliance, noting that it was “the most appropriate tool to provide duty holders with assurance.”

Compliance Codes are a legal tool, which explains which actions can be taken to remain compliant under certain circumstances. They act as a guide for compliance, rather than a mandatory order.

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