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:

Click here to view table.

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.