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
- 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
- Environmental Protection Act 1997.
- The Environment Protection Guidelines for business and industry page covers the environmental legislation and codes of practice affecting ACT businesses.
New South Wales
- Environmental Management and Pollution Control Act 1994.
- Information on Environmental policies, publications, procedures and strategies.
What to do...
- If your business is likely to perform an action or activity that will affect the environment, find out if you will need approval under the EPBC Act.
- Find out which environmental licences and permits your business will need.
- Use the Department of the Environment's Protected Matters Search Tool to search your local area and see if it's likely to be affected by the EPBC Act.
- For information on environmental assessments, visit the Department of the Environment website.
- Find out more on the EPBC Act, approvals, permits and licences.
- Consult an experienced business adviser, accountant or solicitor.