Contaminated sites provisions of the Environment Protection
Act 1993 (SA) (EP Act) were passed by parliament in late 2007.
The majority of these provisions became operational on 1 July
This is the first time South Australia has had a specific regime
for the regulation of historically contaminated sites: that is,
sites that have long-standing contamination due to the nature of
activities undertaken on those sites over time. This includes
tanning, battery manufacture, land fill, chemical manufacture and
For pollution 'incidents', the current machinery of
environmental protection orders, cleanup orders and reporting
requirements under the EP Act remain. However, in the case of
historical site contamination, the South Australian Environment
Protection Authority (EPA) is now able to issue to 'appropriate
persons' (in order, polluters and owners) site contamination
assessment orders (SCAOs) and site remediation orders (SROs).
The new provisions also permit persons with contaminated sites
to enter into a voluntary arrangement for investigation and cleanup
that will not involve the issuing of an SCAO or SRO by the EPA.
The EP Act also allows owners of land to transfer liability for
assessment and remediation by way of sale, provided that the
transaction is bona fide and not made for the purposes of avoiding
responsibilities under the EP Act. The EPA must be notified.
The new provisions establish a site contamination auditor
accreditation scheme whereby only accredited auditors (or those
under the direct supervision of an accredited auditor) may lawfully
undertake a site contamination audit.
Contaminated Sites And The Land Use Planning Regime
Planning SA is currently reviewing the Development Act
1993 (SA) to identify appropriate amendments to reflect the
new site contamination regime under the EPA.
For the time being, the land use planning system in South
Australia will address the development of contaminated sites
through Advisory Notice on Planning No 20 –
Contaminated Sites. The Advisory notice provides relevant
planning authorities with guidance on how to incorporate into the
rezoning and development approval process, the assessment and
remediation of contaminated land proposed for 'sensitive'
National Polutant Inventory Reporting
Changes to National Pollutant Inventory (NPI) reporting
requirements have been adopted through amendment to the South
Australian Environment Protection (National Pollutant
Inventory) Policy 2008 (NPI EPP).
In addition, penalties can now be applied in South Australia if
a NPI report is not submitted, submitted late or does not contain
the required information. The first report due under the new
changes will be required for the financial year 2008-2009.
A New Irrigation Act
The South Australian Parliament has passed a new Irrigation
Act 2009 (SA). It came into effect on 23 April 2009 and
replaces the Irrigation Act 1994 (SA).
The new Act follows a review of the Irrigation Act and
the Renmark Irrigation Trust Act 1936 (SA). Another Bill
will be introduced repealing the latter Act.
In addition to addressing a number of governance issues
identified in the review process, the new Act aims to ensure State
compliance with several national water and environmental
initiatives and is intended to achieve consistency with the
Commonwealth Water Act 2007 (Cth).
Water trading in and between irrigation districts as envisaged
by the Commonwealth Water Act is facilitated under the new
Act and irrigation trusts are prohibited from unreasonably
restricting the efficiency and scope of water trade.
Individual trust members will be able to transform their
irrigation right into a water licence held under the Natural
Resources Management Act 2004 (SA) which was consequentially
amended under the new Act.
Padthaway Water Allocation Plan
The 2009 Water Allocation Plan for the Padthaway Prescribed
Wells Area was adopted by the Minister for Environment and
Conservation on 26 April 2009. Licensees will have received their
new volumetric licence from the Department of Water, Land and
Biodiversity Conservation before 30 of June 2009. As a result,
licensees will have to ensure their water use is within the volume
shown on their licence for the 2009-2010 water use year.
Licensees will have the right to pump an additional 10% of water
for the first two years. This volume will appear as a Bridging
Volume on the licence, and is intended to provide licensees with
time to adjust to their new allocation.
DLA Phillips Fox is one of the largest legal firms in
Australasia and a member of DLA Piper Group, an alliance of
independent legal practices. It is a separate and distinct legal
entity. For more information visit
This publication is intended as a first point of reference and
should not be relied on as a substitute for professional advice.
Specialist legal advice should always be sought in relation to any
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).