Licences and approvals

Works approvals

On this page:

You can find works approvals – as well as works approval applications and assessment summaries – on the EPA Interaction Portal:

Search for a works approval or an exemption under the Environment Protection Act

Works approvals are issued by EPA Victoria under the Environment Protection Act 1970 (‘the Act’). They are required for industrial and waste management activities that have the potential for significant environmental impact.

A works approval permits plant and equipment to be installed, the operation of which will result in one or more of:

  • the discharge of waste to the environment
  • an increase in, or alteration to, an existing discharge
  • a change in the way waste is treated or stored.

If the proposed works are for a research or demonstration project of limited scale and duration, and with minimal potential environmental impact rather than a full commercial operation, it may qualify for a research, development and demonstration approval, rather than a works approval.

Why do we have works approvals?

EPA’s works approval process is designed to ensure the best and most cost-effective environmental outcomes on projects are achieved. Without works approvals there is an increased risk of industrial projects causing pollution issues and requiring expensive retrofitting. Works approvals are an opportunity to save energy and water and to reduce waste at the project design stage, creating value for a business.

How to apply for a works approval

The process for applying for a works approval is explained in our Licensing and works approvals – guidance for business pages.

Are there exemptions from works approval requirements?

EPA can grant works approval exemptions for some activities that are eligible for an exemption under the Environment Protection (Scheduled Premises) Regulations 2017.

EPA also grants works approval exemptions under the Environment Protection Act. Our Works approval exemptions page explains this further.

EPA’s assessment process

Works approval applications are publicly advertised in the Herald–Sun and local newspapers, and may be accessed on EPA’s website. Members of the public may lodge comments with EPA within 21 days of advertising. Applications are also referred to other relevant agencies for their review and advice.

This process is designed to identify any community concerns early on and allow prompt resolution. If comments are received from any third parties, the applicant will be provided with an opportunity to address the concerns raised. EPA may convene a conference of the parties to assist in resolving those concerns.

EPA will complete its assessment, taking into account any public comments received and any applicant responses. EPA will then decide whether to issue a works approval and whether to attach any conditions to the approval. Proposed conditions will be discussed with applicants.

The Act requires that EPA makes a decision on works approval applications within four months of receiving a complete application. EPA may request further information from the applicant during the process or require an extension of time to complete the assessment.

If an appeal is made against the works approval and/or its conditions, the appeal will be heard by the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal.

For further details refer to section 2 of Part A of the EPA’s works approval assessment process (publication 1657).

Works approval compliance

When the works have been completed, the applicant must contact EPA to arrange an inspection of the completed works. In most cases a licence will then be required for operation of the works.

Where appropriate, EPA will issue a commissioning approval before the licence, to allow start-up and testing of initial operations and to confirm compliance with the works approval.

For further details refer to section 3 of Part A of the EPA’s works approval assessment process (publication 1657).

Page last updated on 1 May 2019