Australia: Victorian EPA's new guideline clarifies its approach to decision-making on works approvals

Clayton Utz Insights
Last Updated: 30 June 2014
Article by Emily Wilder

Key Points:

Complying with the Guideline will help ensure the EPA has the required material to properly consider the approval application, which could mean quicker decisions.

On 11 June 2014, the Victorian Environment Protection Authority issued a guideline, Application of the Environment Protection Principles to EPA's Approvals Process, explaining how it will consider the "Principles of Environment Protection", which are found in Part 1 of the Environment Protection Act 1970 (Vic).

The Guideline helps project proponents understand how the EPA expects them to consider the Principles when developing proposals and preparing applications for an EPA approval. It should be consulted to assist in ensuring that the decision-making process is as efficient as practicable.

Which development proposals does the Guideline affect?

The Guideline, which is not legally binding, is focused on development proposals that require an EPA approval. The Guideline will generally be relevant to applications for:

  • a Works Approval;
  • an exemption from a Works Approval requirement;
  • an emergency approval;
  • a research, development and demonstration approval; and
  • a licensing approval.

The Guideline is most applicable to Works Approval applications, especially those on the "standard track" assessment pathway.

How do the Principles apply to EPA's approval process?

The Principles may be relevant to proponents throughout the life of a project. However, they will be most relevant during the project planning and approval application phases. The EPA now expects proponents to demonstrate how the Principles have been considered and applied in applications for EPA approvals. It suggests that proponents discuss the applicability of the Principles early in the course of discussions with the EPA, in order to assist proponents in preparing application documentation which adequately demonstrates application of the Principles.

The relevance of each Principle depends upon the environmental issues arising in the context of each individual proposal. The EPA has identified those Principles that it considers to be the most and least relevant to approvals applications:

Often relevant and commonly applied in the approvals process
  • Principle 1B: Integration of economic, social and environmental considerations
  • Principle 1I: The wastes hierarchy
  • Principle 1J: Integrated environmental management
Sometimes relevant and applicable to assessments of particular types of proposals
  • Principle 1C: The precautionary principle
  • Principle 1D: Intergenerational equity
  • Principle 1E: Conservation of biological diversity and ecological integrity
Rarely relevant, but generally applicable to policy making and program development
  • Principle 1F: Improved valuation, pricing and incentive mechanisms
  • Principle 1G: Shared responsibility
  • Principle 1H: Product stewardship
  • Principle 1K: Enforcement
  • Principle 1L: Accountability

How to apply the Principles of Environment Protection

After identifying those Principles which are relevant to their particular project, the Guideline suggests that proponents should consider the following (in relation to the applicable Principle):

Principle What Proposals will the Principle will be relevant to? How should the Principle be demonstrated?
The principle of integration of economic, social and environmental considerations aims to optimise the outcome of available trade-offs to improve community wellbeing and the benefit of future generations. Measures adopted should be cost effective and in proportion to the significance of the environmental problems being addressed.

Principle will be relevant to Proposals:

  • that involve large amounts of resources, greenhouse gas generation, or significant hazards to health and environment; or
  • that may have a significant social, economic or environmental impact (whether medium or long term).
Conduct a comparative analysis of competing concerns and implications, including any opportunities to address significant adverse impacts.
The principle of the wastes hierarchy involves a hierarchy of preference for the management of wastes that echoes approaches that are widespread in human health.

Principle will be relevant to Proposals:

  • for which wastes will be generated, recycled, reused, processed, treated, stored and / or disposed of; or
  • for which a number of waste management options with different implications.
Analyse and compare the environmental, technical, logistical and financial issues associated with the proposal, ensuring that the final proposal conforms with best practice, and corresponds to the highest level in the hierarchy.
The principle of integrated environmental management requires that where the management of environmental impacts on one segment of the environment has potential impacts on another segment, the best practicable environmental outcome should be sought. Principle will be relevant to Proposals that may involve trade-offs between impacts on different sectors or different aspects of environmental management. Analyse and compare the impacts, benefits and risks associated with each option, and select the best overall environmental approach, ensuring that all options comply with statutory policy and reflect best practice.
The precautionary principle states that if there are threats of serious or irreversible environmental damage, lack of full scientific certainty should not be used as a reason for postponing measures to prevent environmental degradation.

Principle will be relevant to Proposals:

  • that involve a threat of serious or irreversible environmental impacts with a significant uncertainty about those impacts; or
  • that involve large amounts of resources, greenhouse gas generation, or significant hazards to health and environment.
Gather information and advice (from relevant experts and authorities) about the nature of the threat that the proposal poses to the environment.
The principle of intergenerational equity requires the present generation to ensure that the health, diversity and productivity of the environment is maintained or enhanced for the benefit of future generations.

Principle will be relevant to proposals:

  • that involve the generation of significant amounts of greenhouse gases; or
  • that may significantly impact biodiversity of ecological integrity; or
  • that may significantly and adversely affect future generations.
Gather expert information, advice and opinion on the application of this Principle, ensuring compliance with statutory policy requirements for greenhouse gas management and resource efficiency.
The principle of conservation of biological diversity and ecological integrity requires the present generation to protect the natural environment, its species and ecosystems. Principle will be relevant to proposals that may have significant impacts on biodiversity or ecological integrity. Gather information about any biodiversity or ecological impacts, from relevant experts and authorities, and undertake surveys and investigations to support the application.

The importance of the Principles to proponents in Victoria

When developing proposals and preparing application documentation for EPA approvals, it is important that the proponent discusses the application of the Principles to their project, and demonstrates how the relevant Principles are embodied in the project.

Complying with the Guideline will assist in ensuring that the EPA has the required material to properly consider the approval application. This, in turn, may assist in reducing decision-making timeframes.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

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”

Mondaq Advice Centre (MACs)
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
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).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Check to state you have read and
agree to our Terms and Conditions

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

Use of

You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.


Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.


Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here .

If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq by clicking here .

Information Collection and Use

We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

Mondaq News Alerts

In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.


A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

Log Files

We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

Surveys & Contests

From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.


If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.


This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to

Notification of Changes

If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

How to contact Mondaq

You can contact us with comments or queries at

If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.