In brief - Bill increases maximum penalties in Contaminated
Land Management Act
A new Bill in NSW will strengthen environmental penalties, give
greater powers to the Environment Protection Authority
(EPA) and make other significant changes, particularly for
environment protection licence (EPL) holders, those who cause
contamination and the waste industry.
Higher contaminated land penalties
While NSW already has some of the highest penalties for
environmental crime nationally, the state government is
incrementally reforming environmental regulation in NSW to
"give the Environment Protection Authority back its
bite". Parliament assented to the Protection of the Environment Legislation Amendment Bill
2014 on 28 October 2014.
The Bill increases the maximum penalties in the Contaminated Land Management Act 1997 (NSW) ("CLM
Act") to be the same as penalties for similar environmental
offences in other legislation and makes the following additional
There are significant increases in penalties for offences
relating to the duty to report contamination and other offences.
For example, the penalties have increased significantly for a
person or corporation that does not comply with a Management Order
(by over $800,000 for corporations).
Where a deadline is missed for a notice issued under the CLM
Act, parties are still obliged to comply.
The EPA is now permitted to require financial assurance to
secure funding for the carrying out of a Management Order.
The EPA can now require waste transporters to be fitted with
approved GPS devices.
A range of alternative sentencing options for
the court, including monetary benefit orders (allowing recovery of
monetary benefits gained from an offence), publication orders,
orders to provide financial assurance, to attend training courses
and to restore or enhance the environment.
Undertakings are now enforceable by the EPA
and the courts.
Greater powers afforded to the EPA to remedy
or restrain statutory breaches of legislation and to revoke or
suspend EPLs. Statutory notices of intention to suspend or revoke
EPLs are no longer required.
In addition to occupiers and contaminators, owners and
landlords may now be issued with clean up notices under
the POEO Act.
Previously, pollution incidents involving the emission of odour
were not required to be notified. Pollution incidents
involving material harm must now be reported, even though
odour may be the only indication that an offence has occurred.
EPA likely to pursue offenders vigorously and issue larger
The bill is yet to commence, but we expect that as a result of
the reforms, we will see greater activity by the EPA in the
detection and prosecution of environmental incidents, particularly
the issuing of larger penalties.
This legal update is an overview of existing eligible project activities and new project types proposed to be developed.
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