Environmental legislation

All Australian businesses can play a part in environmental management, but whether environmental laws affect your business directly will depend on your business activities.

Federal, state and local governments jointly administer the environmental protection laws in Australia through bilateral agreements. As a business owner, you should understand which laws apply to you.

The federal Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act, administered by the Department of the Environment, covers the assessment and approval process of national environmental and cultural concerns. The Department also administers specific Acts that cover activities relating to:

  • the sea
  • importing
  • heritage issues
  • hazardous waste
  • fuel quality.

State and territory environment laws apply to specific business activities and are administered by both state and local governments in the form of licences and permits. Find out more information on environmental licences and permits.

Government agencies and industry groups also have a role in developing voluntary codes of practice that address the industry's impact on the environment.

Environmental legislation in your state or territory

Australian Capital Territory

New South Wales

Northern Territory

Queensland

South Australia

Tasmania

Victoria

Western Australia

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