The EPA and DSE released a discussion paper in June 2011 in
relation to the statutory policy review currently being undertaken
by the two departments. Written comments on the statutory policy
review discussion paper close on 19 August 2011.
The statutory policy review is a result of a number of factors,
namely the potential impacts of climate change, an emphasis on a
holistic approach to management of environmental issues, increased
emphasis on regulatory efficiency and ongoing reform of the
EPA. It aims to unlock the potential to deliver continually
improving outcomes for the Victorian environment that can be
monitored, evaluated and verified.
The review will examine the function, structure, content,
management and effectiveness of statutory policies, particularly
State Environment Protection Policies (SEPP) and
Waste Management Policies (WMP). It is not a
review of individual policies, nor is it a review of the
Environment Protection Act (EP Act) or
Victoria's broader environment protection
The discussion papers sets out, amongst other things, the need for
a statutory policy review, the content for the review of statutory
policy, the critical challenges for statutory policy, approaches to
standard setting in Victoria and other jurisdictions, and potential
models and specific suggestions for reform.
The discussion paper outlines some of the key features considered
to form part of an effective statutory policy framework, which
responding to current and emerging environmental
responsive, clear and more accessible standard setting
establishing a clear hierarchy of instruments
improved implementation of achieve objectives
improved coordination and management of policies within and
clearer accountability for environmental performance.
The discussion paper also indentifies four potential models for
change to statutory policy:
Model 1 – make minor changes to streamline statutory
Model 2 – make significant changes to the scope and
structure of statutory policy.
Model 3 – implement innovative reform of statutory
policy to drive regional or local approaches.
Model 4 – abolish statutory policy and rely on the EP
Act, Regulations and guidance.
There are also some further specific suggestions to improve and
reform statutory policy in Victoria. These include:
improving accessibility by making the policies easier to
navigate, use more consistent language and are shorter documents
that avoid repetition
improving flexibility whilst retaining scrutiny
improving accountability, management and coordination.
These suggestions for reform echo comments of VCAT on EPA's
waste management policies in SITA Australia Pty Ltd and PWM
(Lyndhurst) Pty Ltd v Greater Dandenong CC  VCAT 156 and
more recent comments in the EPA Compliance and Enforcement Review
(February 2011). For example, the Review commented that the style
of drafting in EPA policies varies significantly and is often
inconsistent. The Review reported that business and the community
found that SEPPs are complex, difficulty to navigate and in some
cases inconsistent and ambiguous. The Review made a number of
recommendations for improvement that, in short, required a clear
framework for statutory and non-statutory guidance to be produced
by the EPA.
The EPA and DSE are currently running stakeholder meetings to
discuss the review and receive feedback.
DLA Piper can assist you with environmental compliance advice and
responding to EPA investigations or enforcement action. In relation
to this discussion paper, we can assist with:
advising on or preparation of a submission to the EPA and DSE
on the discussion paper
advising on the implications of any changes to the statutory
policy framework that may arise from the review.
This publication is intended as a general overview and
discussion of the subjects dealt with. It is not intended to be,
and should not used as, a substitute for taking legal advice in any
specific situation. DLA Piper Australia will accept no
responsibility for any actions taken or not taken on the basis of
DLA Piper Australia is part of DLA Piper, a global law firm,
operating through various separate and distinct legal entities. For
further information, please refer to www.dlapiper.com
To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.
Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.
This legal update is an overview of existing eligible project activities and new project types proposed to be developed.
Some comments from our readers… “The articles are extremely timely and highly applicable” “I often find critical information not available elsewhere” “As in-house counsel, Mondaq’s service is of great value”
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).