Environment Protection Authority (EPA)
The Environment Protection Authority (EPA) is established by the Environment Protection Act 1997 (the Act). As a statutory position, the EPA is responsible for adminstering the Act. The Director of Environment Protection and Water Regulation holds the EPA position.
The administrative function of the EPA involves meeting the objectives of the Act, which include:
- protecting the environment;
- ensuring decision-making incorporates ecologically sustainable development principles;
- establishing a single and integrated regulatory framework for environmental protection; and
- encouraging responsibility by the whole community for the environment - general environmental duty of care.
The EPA meets these objectives by granting environmental authorisations, promoting environmental awareness, entering into environmental protection agreements, developing codes of practice with industry and issuing notices, environment protection orders and a range of other instruments. The Act covers all environment protection activities including air, noise, land and water pollution.
In addition to the Act, the EPA has the responsibility for administering the Water Resources Act 2007 (the WR Act). The WR Act aims to ensure the use and management of the Territory's water resources are sustainable while protecting the ecosystems that depend on the waterways. It is also designed to protect waterways and aquifers from damage.
The Director of Environment Protection and Water Regulation also holds the statutory position of Clinical Waste Controller under the Clinical Waste Act 1990 with responsibility for approving transporters of clinical waste in the ACT.
General Environmental Duty
The Act provides for each person in the ACT to take all practicable and reasonable steps to prevent or minimise environmental harm or environmental nuisance their actions might cause. This means that all Canberrans have a duty to protect the environment. There is also a legal obligation by those carrying out non-domestic activities to report any significant environmental harm caused by their actions.
In most cases concerns about the environment should be referred to the source or person causing the problem. However when approaching the person causing the problem has not been or is unlikely to be sucessful, refer to the ACT pollution hotline.
Under Section 19 of the Act, many documents kept by the EPA are public documents and are available to be viewed at the EPA Office, Dame Pattie Menzies House, 16 Challis Street Dickson ACT.
Review of Decisions
Under the Act most decisions of the EPA, such as the granting of Environmental Authorisations, may be reviewed by the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal (ACAT) .