Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997 (NSW)
University-wide concern. Impacts on reputation and funding.
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NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA)
85 Faulkner Street
P.O. Box 494
02 6773 7000
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VC Compliance Delegate
Jo Scanlan, Chief Operating Officer
Bradley Nixon, Associate Director Operational Services
Business Units Impacted
The POEO Act object is to protect, restore and enhance the environment in NSW and to promote public access to information and involvement in environment protection.
There is a broad allocation of responsibilities under the Act between the EPA, local councils and other public authorities. The EPA is made the regulatory authority for:
* activities listed in Schedule 1 to the Act and the premises where they are carried out
* activities carried out by a State or public authority
* other activities in relation to which a licence regulating water pollution is issued.
In nearly all other cases, the regulatory authority is the relevant local council.
The Act also:
- Allocates the drafting and publishing of PEP's (Protection of the Environment Policies) and associated impact statements to the EPA.
- Establishes a system of Environment Protection Licences for the purposes of carrying out scheduled activities (e.g. chemical production, sterilisation activities, waste processing electricity generation, livestock intensive activities, etc) and scheduled development work (development designed to enable scheduled activities to take place on the premises).
- Provides for the issue of environment protection notices (clean-up notices, prevention notices, and prohibition notices) - It is an offence under the Act not to comply with such notices and penalties include sizeable fines.
- Defines a tiered mechanism to classify offences and provides for maximum penalties (eg: to willfully dispose of waste in a manner that harms or is likely to harm the environment is a Tier 1 offence that may attract large fines and potential imprisonment).
- Provides for voluntary and mandatory environmental audits and procedural matters for the conduct of investigations (including scope, associated notice requirements, powers of entry, and duty to provide information).