The Protection of the Environment Operations
Amendment (Illegal Waste Disposal) Bill 2013 (Bill) was
introduced into the State Legislative Assembly by the Minister for
the Environment on 30 May 2013.
The stated purposes of the Bill are to:
create an offence of knowingly supplying false or
misleading information about waste in the course of
dealing with the waste that will be punishable by a maximum period
of imprisonment of 18 months as an alternative or in addition to a
maximum fine of $500,000 for a corporation and $240,000 for an
individual (at present the offence is a strict liability offence
that is punishable only by a maximum fine of $250,000 for a
corporation and $120,000 for an individual);
create an offence of committing a strict liability
waste offence (which includes polluting waters with waste,
polluting land, illegally dumping waste or using land as an illegal
waste facility) within 5 years of any previous conviction
for such an offence that will be punishable by a maximum
period of imprisonment of 2 years as an alternative or in addition
to a fine (at present a strict liability waste offence is
punishable only by a fine);
authorise the EPA to seize a motor vehicle or vessel it
has reason to believe has been used to commit any such repeat waste
offence and to enable the Land and Environment Court to
order the forfeiture of the motor vehicle or vessel to the State if
it convicts the person of the repeat waste offence;
extend the offence of using land as a waste facility
without lawful authority to using any place so as
to cover illegally using a body of water as a waste
remove from the Act the exemption from payment of the
contribution by licensees of waste facilities used for the
re-using, recovering, recycling or processing waste other than
liquid waste, so that the operation of any such exemption
can be dealt with in the regulations; and
enable the regulations to prescribe a protocol
that is to be used in determining the amount that
represents the monetary benefit acquired by the offender in
committing an offence and that the offender may be ordered to pay
as an additional penalty for the offence.
The Bill provides that savings and transitional provisions may
be implemented in the future, but does not implement such
The Minister's second reading speech specifically refers to
the recent examples of asbestos being dumped outside preschools and
on private property, while stating that the Bill is designed to
"crack down on illegal waste dumpers and break the business
model of organised illegal waste activities".
Most noticeably, the Bill imposes significant penalties and
imprisonment terms for the new offences of knowingly supplying
false or misleading information and repeat waste offences.
Currently, the supply of information, or causing or permitting
information to be supplied, is the subject of executive liability
(for directors and managers of a corporation) under section 169A of
the Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997. The
Bill does not make clear whether these new offences will attract
the same liability for directors and managers, though it is likely
that this is its intended effect.
PROGRESS THROUGH PARLIAMENT
The Bill has been subject to the Minister's second reading
speech and is presently awaiting debate and passage to the
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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This legal update is an overview of existing eligible project activities and new project types proposed to be developed.
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