Licences and approvals

Licensing improvement

On this page:

Update of the licence management guidelines

Following the consultation on the changes to the Licence management guidelines (publication 1322), comments on the publication are now closed. Publication 1322 helps to clarify licence conditions and how to demonstrate compliance with them.

EPA’s response to the comments on this publication can be found in this document (publication 1675). Publication 1322 is now updated.

Periodic licence reviews

In 2015, EPA began reviewing the licences of all EPA-licensed sites. To prioritise the review, we have developed a framework based on our Licensed Operator Risk Assessment model.

The review comes after the Approvals review final report (publication 1521), released in 2013, identified a need to ensure licences are kept up to date with changing science, environmental conditions and community standards (Recommendation H). EPA’s periodic reviews will involve updating conditions, licence limits and administrative details. They will ensure premises plans are of good quality (see guidelines to prepare premises plans – landfill [Word 98KB], other types of premises [Word 106KB]).

The reviews will also assess the adequacy of existing conditions to produce the intended result.

EPA initiated a licensing reform program in 2010 to transform how we interact with business and ensure improved compliance. The program resulted in environmental licences that: are more accessible, set clear and standardised responsibilities for both the licence holder and EPA, and are outcome-focused. For more information, see Licensing reform 2010.

Licence review 2016

EPA identified landfill licences as a priority in 2015–16.

In consultation with the landfill sector, we developed a set of new landfill licence conditions. The implementation of these conditions onto landfill licences is under way. For more information on the landfill licence review, see Landfill Improvements Program.

2017 standard conditions review

Following multiple internal and external consultations, EPA has updated its set of standard licence conditions. The updated conditions, as well as response to submissions received during the public consultation period can be found in this document (Word 142KB).

The Licence management guidelines (publication 1322) have also been updated following a recent consultation on proposed changes. The guidelines clarify licence conditions and how to demonstrate compliance with them. The implementation of the updated standard conditions will not take place before November 2017. EPA’s response to the comments on this publication can be found in this document (publication 1675).

For more background information, watch the introductory webinar EPA ran on 16 February 2017. The webinar consisted of a presentation introducing the periodic reviews in more detail, a discussion of an example to demonstrate what reviewing standard conditions looks like, and 15 minutes of question time.

Watch the recording of the webinar below.

2017 sector licences review

In 2017, the licence review will focus on the following scheduled category sectors:

  • G02 (Coal Processing)
  • K01 (Power Stations)
  • C01 (Extractive Industry and Mining)

The scope of the licence review is indicated below (click image for large version; text description of figure):


Future sector licence review

The proposed planning for the following years is as follows:

  • 2018 – waste year – A01, A02, A04, A07, G05, premises
  • 2019 – air year – A06, A08, A09, D01, D02, D03, D05, D06, D07, D08, E01, F02, F03, G01, G03, G04, H01, H03, H05, I01, I02, I03, I05, I06, J01, L01, L03
  • 2020 – water year – A03,  B03, K04

How can licence holders get involved?

EPA will continue to engage with licence holders regarding the reviews of standard conditions and sector licences.

We will seek input into both the reviews using surveys, calls for submissions and direct emails to licence holders. We will put details of proposed engagement activities on this page.

EPA will contact individual licence holders for the 2017 sectors to discuss the review of their licences. We will require updated administrative data and active involvement in the review of air, water and waste discharge tables.

What is the timeline for the review program?

Click image for large version (text description of figure).

More information

If you would like further information about the licence reviews, please contact the Licence Review team by emailing

For general information, please contact:

EPA Victoria
GPO Box 4395
Melbourne, Victoria 3001
T: 1300 372 842 (1300 EPA VIC)

Q&A from the webinar

Standard conditions review process + Expand all Collapse all

  • Will I have another chance to provide final comments?

    The public consultation, which ran until 16 of March 2017, was the key time to provide feedback.

    Considering the number of licences that EPA will be reviewing (over 650), we will need to focus on feedback received during the consultation. Once the final wording of the conditions is decided, licence holders will be advised of the changes made and when to expect a final amended licence.

  • How will feedback be considered? Who will decide on the final wording?

    EPA will decide on the final wording based on our licence conditions key principles and several parameters: we aim to ensure the suggested changes are clear to industry and the community, and that the conditions are enforceable and use plain English.

    We will respond to all the feedback we receive and will justify changes and non-changes to conditions.

  • Will you provide an amended licence for review?

    No. EPA will be amending licences through a bulk update. It will be extremely difficult to make any changes when the licences are being issued, so comments must be provided during the public consultation.

Scope of the review + Expand all Collapse all

  • When the licence review takes place, will there be additional conditions added to our existing licence?

    There are two types of reviews of licences: this webinar is on the standard conditions review, which will impact all licences.

    The other type of review is specific reviews of individual licences, which is being rolled out on a sector-by-sector basis across all 42 sectors. These sectorial reviews started last year, and will continue over the next four years.

    During the standard conditions review, EPA does not foresee adding additional conditions, as we are focusing on clarifying existing conditions.

    During the sector reviews, EPA will aim to harmonise all licences within a sector, and this may lead to new conditions being added to or removed from your licence. Individual licence holders will be contacted when their licence is reviewed as part of a sector review, and will be given the opportunity to actively participate in the review of their licence.

  • Will we be able to review the amended premises plans during the standard conditions review or are we required to submit licence amendment applications?

    This type of request will not be covered during the standard conditions review, and would require a licence amendment application (Word 508KB).

    During the sectorial review, EPA will be engaging with licence holders one by one, and will review premises plans. Licence holders need to apply for a licence amendment to make updates such as new discharge points or change of conditions, even during a sectorial update.

    If you need to change your premises plan now, and if you’re not part of the 2017 sectors (see question ‘What is the next sector to be reviewed?’ below), you should apply for a licence amendment.

  • Will the licence management publication 1322 be updated and made available at the same time as the other changes?

    EPA relies heavily on Licence management (publication 1322) to make sure compliance requirements with the conditions are clear.

    Licence management and other relevant guidelines will be made available at the same time as licences are issued.

Other questions + Expand all Collapse all

  • Will the reviewed standard conditions cause any additional costs to my operations?

    EPA is reviewing the wording of conditions to provide greater clarity. The intent behind the standard conditions will not change, which means the obligations related to the conditions will not change either, and there should be no additional costs.

  • What is the next sector to be reviewed?

    Coal processing, power stations, and mining and extractive industries will be the next sectors to be reviewed in 2017. The following sectors will be grouped by similar discharges to the environment, in the following order:

    • waste (e.g., composting and prescribed industrial waste management)
    • air (e.g., chemical works and processing sites)
    • water (e.g., wastewater treatment plants).
  • EPA regulates sites with other regulators – for example, extractive industry. Are there thoughts being put into duplicated conditions?

    The key part of sector reviews is to work with fellow regulators. We will be looking at mining and extractive industries together with Earth Resources Regulation (ERR).

    We will try to provide clarity on regulatory expectations from EPA as compared to other regulators, and will take duplication of conditions into consideration.

Page last updated on 29 Dec 2017