What's new in law archives: 2003

For recent changes see What's new in law - DEC

For proposed environmental legislation and current regulatory impact statements see
DEC public consultation.

The EPA became part of the Department of Environment and Conservation (DEC) in September 2003. This archive only relates to the EPA. 

September 2003

  • Radiation Control Regulation 2003 (gazetted 29.8.03) replaces the Radiation Control Regulation 1993. The new Regulation commences on 1 September 2003, except for the requirement to register ionizing radiation apparatus used in radiotherapy which commences 1 February 2004. The two Regulations are generally the same, but a number of changes have been made. In particular, a new offence has been included requiring employers to ensure that their employees are not exposed to ionizing radiation that exceeds specified dose limits; the maximum penalties for existing offences under the Regulation have been increased to reflect the seriousness of the offences; on-the-spot fines ('penalty notices') can now be issued for most offences under the Act and Regulation; and some new and increased fees are payable in relation to licensing, registration, accreditation and approvals.
  • Pesticides Amendment (User Training) Regulation 2003 (gazetted 29.8.03) requires users of pesticides for commercial or occupational purposes, or in connection with agricultural or forestry operations, to be trained to particular levels of competency in pesticide use by 1 September 2005. From that date, it will be an offence for a person to use a pesticide without the required qualifications, or to engage such a person to use a pesticide, in those circumstances. It will also be an offence for a person to falsely represent that the person has the required qualifications. There are some limited exceptions to the training requirement, including where small quantities of pesticides available to the general public which are commonly used for domestic purposes are applied by hand or hand-held equipment, or where an unqualified person is being directly supervised by a qualified person in certain circumstances. 

August 2003

  • Protection of the Environment Operations Amendment (Kosciuszko National Park) Regulation 2003 (gazetted 1.8.03; commences 24.11.03) declares the Director-General of National Parks and Wildlife to be the appropriate regulatory authority under the Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997 for certain non-scheduled activities in Kosciuszko National Park. The Regulation also empowers officers of the National Parks and Wildlife Service to issue on-the-spot fines for a range of environmental offences committed in Kosciuszko National Park.
  • Protection of the Environment Operations (Penalty Notices) Amendment Regulation 2003 (gazetted 1.8.03) enables officers from one local council to issue on-the-spot fines for offences committed in another local council's area if the officers are authorised to do so by that other council. This will facilitate enforcement activities that require action across local government boundaries (for example, the activities of the Regional Illegal Dumping Squad in Sydney's west). The Regulation also enables Sydney Catchment Authority officers to issue on-the-spot fines for the offences of permitting land to be used as an unlawful waste facility, and transporting waste to an unlawful waste facility.
  • Protection of the Environment Operations (General) Amendment (Load-based Licensing) Regulation 2003 (gazetted 1.8.03) provides that the fees payable by licensees on the termination or expiration of a load reduction agreement (LRA) may be determined by reference to either the weighted or actual load of assessable pollutants reported to the EPA. LRAs are agreements between a licensee and the EPA to reduce the licensee's pollutant load by a future date. The licensee pays a reduced fee as though the agreed improvements have already been achieved, freeing funds for pollution abatement.

July 2003

  • EPA Guidelines for Seeking Environmental Court Orders (2003) published. The guidelines deal with sentencing options available for environmental offences under Part 8.3 of the Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997. The sentencing options covered by the guidelines are: investigation costs orders, publication orders, monetary benefits orders, environmental service orders and environmental audit orders. The guidelines discuss the EPA's view of the purpose of the orders, and the principles it will take into account in deciding whether to seek one of the orders in its prosecutions. Some of these orders are now available under other legislation administered by the EPA, for example the Pesticides Act 1999, and the guidelines will also apply to prosecutions under that legislation.
  • Guidelines for the Burning of Bio-material: Record Keeping and Reporting Requirements for Electricity Generating Facilities (2003), made under Chapter 3B of the Protection of the Environment Operations (General) Regulation 1998, were gazetted on 4 July 2003. The Regulation prohibits the burning of certain bio-material from Australian native trees in electricity generating works capable of supplying more than 200 kilowatts of electricity. The occupier of premises where any bio-material is burned in the electricity generating works must comply with the record-keeping, reporting and auditing requirements set out in the Guidelines. An Annual Bio-material Rpoert must be submitted to the EPA in the form set out in the Appendix to the Guidelines.
  • Contaminated Land Management Amendment Bill 2003 (introduced into NSW Parliament on 2.7.03) proposes amending the contaminated land site auditor scheme by modifying the accreditation process, strengthening the EPA's monitoring and oversight powers including its ability to take disciplinary action, and clarifying the role of the accreditation panel. Site auditors carry out independent reviews of investigations or remediation of land that is or may be contaminated and certify whether the land is suitable for particular uses. A consultation paper on the proposed amendments was released in June 2002.
  • Protection of the Environment Operations (General) Amendment (Exemption) Regulation 2003 (gazetted 27.6.03; commences 1.7.03) provides that a person does not commit the offence of water pollution under the Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997 by discharging treated sewage into certain navigable waters from a certified on-board sewage treatment system installed on a vessel. This exemption only applies if the system is installed and maintained in accordance with the Marine Pollution Regulation 2001 and the vessel is being operated in accordance with any plan of management approved for the vessel under that Regulation. 
  • The EPA is currently reviewing the Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997 (POEO Act) and Contaminated Land Management Act 1997 (CLM Act). The EPA is keen to hear what the public thinks about these laws and is also conducting a series of public seminars. 

April 2003

  • Unhealthy Building Land Act 1990 (UBL Act) and Regulation repealed with effect from 28 April 2003 by the Statute Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act (No 2) 2002 (assented to 29.11.02). The UBL Act prohibited building on unhealthy building land (ie certain land identified as low-lying or flood-prone, or potentially contaminated) and provided for the issuing of certificates as to whether land has been declared to be unhealthy building land. Prior to its repeal, the UBL Act was rarely used as development is now effectively regulated under other environmental and planning legislation. As part of the transition the EPA has developed an unhealthy building land policy for councils to use. Planning certificates issued under s 149 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 will note whether the policy applies to the relevant land.

January 2003

  • Protection of the Environment Operations (General) Amendment (Burning of Bio-Material) Regulation 2003 (gazetted 10.1.03; commenced 24.1.03) makes it an offence to burn certain bio-material from Australian native trees in electricity generating works capable of supplying more than 200 kilowatts of electricity. The occupier of premises where any bio-material is burned in the electricity generating works must comply with record-keeping and reporting requirements to be set out in EPA guidelines. It is an offence to fail to comply with these requirements, or to provide false or misleading information. The reports will be made available to the public by the EPA, which has been declared to be the appropriate regulatory authority in relation to these matters.
Page last updated: 20 November 2015