Legislation, policies and guidelines

Environment Protection Act 1997

The Environment Protection Act 1997 (the Act) protects the environment from pollution and its effects. The Act provides the regulatory framework to help reduce and eliminate the discharge of pollutants into the air, land and water.

The Act establishes the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) as the statutory decision maker for environmental regulation and policy. The EPA administers legislation covering air and water quality, waste, contaminated land, noise, pesticides and hazardous waste.

Environment Protection Policies

Environment Protection Policies help to explain and apply the Environment Protection Act 1997 and the Environment Protection Regulation 2005. The following policies provide information relating to particular areas of environment protection.

Separation distance guidelines

The Separation Distance Guidelines for Air Emissions aim to help prevent odour and air emissions from industrial, commercial and agriculture uses adversely affecting neighbouring sensitive land uses.

Air Quality Monitoring

The ACT Government monitors air quality in order to ensure that the health and wellbeing of Canberrans is maintained. Monitoring provides information on the concentration of pollutants in the air.

Water Resources Act 2007

The Water Resources Act 2007 controls how we can use water directly from water bodies including surface water and ground water in the ACT.

All water use from Territory water bodies including streams, dams or groundwater is controlled by the Act. This includes the allocation of water and the licensing of use, licensing of drillers and licenses for the construction of bores and waterway works (including farm dams and weirs).

While the Water Resources Act 2007 applies to water that ACTEW takes from rivers and streams, it does not apply to the use of water by ACTEW's mains supply customers, water collected in rainwater tanks, or the on-site use of wastewater.

National Environment Protection Measures (NEPMs)

The National Environment Protection Council (NEPC) comprises one minister from each participating jurisdiction (the Commonwealth, States and Territories). Complementary legislation in each jurisdiction establishes NEPC and gives it the power to make National Environment Protection Measures (NEPMs).

NEPMs are designed to provide equivalent protection from pollution to all Australians and to ensure that decisions by businesses are not distorted and markets are not fragmented by variations in environmental standards between jurisdictions.

The decision to develop a NEPM is advertised nationally and members of the public are invited to register an interest in the NEPM. Draft NEPMs are released for public comment before being finalised for consideration by NEPC. If approved by NEPC, the NEPM is tabled in the Commonwealth Parliament and, if passed, it becomes law in participating jurisdictions.

The EPA implements the following NEPMs:

Small Memorials in ACT Forest and Reserves

This memorials policy guides members of the community who wish to place a small memorial in a park, reserve, forests or other unleased land managed by the ACT Parks and Conservation Service.

Requests can only be considered for small memorials that commemorate an outstanding contribution by a person, group, or organisation to the ACT, the ACT Government or a particular area of land, or an event of historical significance to that area of land. Examples of an outstanding contribution include a park carer of long standing who has demonstrated environmental and social benefits to the conservation estate, or a major benefactor whose contribution has had significant environmental benefits to the conservation estate.

The policy provides a consistent approach to responding to requests for the placement of small memorials in either forestry land, reserves or other unleased land managed by the Parks and Conservation Service that commemorate an event, organisation, group or person.

For further information refer to the Small Memorials Policy in Forests and Reserves. If your request meets the criteria of the policy to place a memorial in an ACT park or reserve please complete and submit the Small Memorials in ACT Forests and Reserves Application Form.