Licences and approvals

Approvals reform

Approvals reform and licence modernisation

Approvals and licences are key statutory mechanisms used by EPA to protect the Victorian environment. The Approvals Review Final Report (publication 1521) focused on four types of EPA approvals under Victoria’s Environment Protection Act:

  • works approvals (issued under section 19B of the Act)
  • licensing approvals (section 20)
  • research, development and demonstration approvals (RD&Ds) (section 19D)
  • emergency or commissioning approvals (section 30A).

The reforms identified in the report will provide proponents, assessors and the community with much greater certainty regarding the basis and time frames for EPA’s approvals and exemption decisions. They will result in a significantly more timely process for industry, particularly at the pre-statutory stage.

EPA’s vision is to provide a streamlined, transparent, fair and predictable works approval and licensing system to Victoria’s community and industry. 

Implementation of the reforms

Chapter 9 of the Approvals Review Final Report provides a full list of reforms. The table below is a summary of the reforms, listed by theme.

Reform theme Recommendation Status Progress to date
Changes to works approvals exemption B Complete A dedicated exemptions web page has been developed. It provides guidance on how to apply for an exemption; and provides summary details of all EPA exemptions issued since June 2013. 
Pathway decision framework A, C Complete The new Approvals Proposal Form and Pathway form and guidelines are now available.
Guidelines (principles) G.2 Complete EPA has finalised the guideline on the application of the environment protection principles to EPA’s approvals process. See How to apply environment protection principles to EPA’s approvals process.
Guidelines (works approvals) G.2 Complete Works approval guidance and the application process have been reviewed. We have published the updated Works approvals application guideline (publication 1307) and a new, web-based works approval application checklist.
Reducing 30A approvals E Complete A licence condition has been added to the water industry (sewage treatment A03) licences to help reduce 30A approvals in the event of extreme wet weather.
Coordination with other approving agencies F Complete EPA has finalised a joint process and guidance for the parallel processing of works approvals and planning permits. The agreed arrangements are recorded in a coordination plan. See our works approval page for more information.
Publish summary works approval assessment report to portal J.1 Complete Publication of summary works approval assessment reports to commence by 31 December 2014 on EPA Interaction Portal.
Licence modernisation
Periodic licence reviews H 2014–15 This project will develop a prioritisation framework for the periodic review of licences. The framework will also cover the review of licence limits and conditions. Reviews are due to commence by June 2015.
Alternative Program to recognise excellence I 2014–15 This program will pilot a new approach to earned autonomy for licence holders. The pilot is due to be launched in early 2015.

EPA will report on the progress of our approvals reforms in annual reports.

Page last updated on 4 Jul 2017