DELWP proposes EPA Act and land-use planning integration

DELWP proposes EPA Act and land-use planning integration

The Victorian Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) is proposing updates to the state’s land-use planning system to bring it in line with the EPA’s new environmental protection framework.

According to a DELWP statement, the proposed updates will ensure the Environment Protection Act 2017 (as amended to commence on 1 July 2020) and its subordinate instruments function at commencement, and that effective interaction between the environment protection framework and planning system is maintained.

“This includes amendments that will integrate updated requirements for the management of potentially contaminated land within the planning system,” the statement reads.

Proposed updates include changes to Victoria Planning Provision clauses that refer to instruments under the Environment Protection Act. They also include updates to Ministerial Direction No. 1 – Potentially Contaminated Land, and Planning Practice Note 30: Potentially Contaminated Land.

Specifically, DELWP is proposing a requirement that applications provide adequate information on the potential for contamination to have adverse effects on future land use and an assessment confirming the environmental conditions of a site are suitable for proposed use and development.

Ministerial direction is also being amended to incorporate reference to new instruments under the Environment Protection Act. This includes a new preliminary risk screen assessment, and an environmental audit that can be scoped.

“This amendment supports the policy reforms outlined in recommendation 14.2 of the EPA Inquiry,” the statement reads.

Additional changes include new subordinate instruments such as an Environment Reference Standard, and updating references to EPA publications including Best Practice Environmental Management Guidelines.

“These updates have been developed in collaboration with the EPA and deliver on commitments in the government response to the Independent Inquiry into the EPA. They follow on from extensive public consultation held to inform the development of Victoria’s new environment protection laws,” the statement reads.

DELWP is inviting feedback on the proposed updates through the Engage Victoria website until 5 May.

After receiving submissions from the public, DELWP will consider the feedback and finalise updated planning provisions in June 2020.

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