Environmental laws aim to protect human health and the natural environment in the context of land-use planning and resource management. Environmental laws include Statutory rules made by parliament or by bodies the parliament delegates power to, for example a local council or a registration authority. See delegated legislation; statute. dealing with land-use planning, pollution control, protection of nature, the reservation and protection of public land, the management of natural resources, climate change, and environmental impact assessment.
State governments are responsible for most of this legislation. However, there is also important Commonwealth Government legislation that is relevant in some circumstances. Local government decision-makers play an important part in administering some environmental laws.
This chapter covers the laws that provide for public involvement in decision-making and the enforcement of land-use planning laws, environmental impact assessment, and pollution control laws. There are many other environmental laws about mining, forestry, heritage, coastal protection, water and waterways.
At the time of writing (1 July 2020), reform of certain Victorian environmental statutes has passed the Victorian Parliament. These include significant reforms to the Environment Protection A written law made by parliament. Also called an ‘Act of parliament’, ‘statute’ or legislation. 1970 (Vic) (which is Victoria’s principal pollution-control law) through the Environment Protection A change made to a legal document or Act of parliament. Act 2018 (Vic) and to reform the nature protection provisions in the Flora and Fauna A binding promise made as reassurance that another person will carry out their legal obligations (e.g. paying a debt). The person making the promise is called a guarantor. If the person being guaranteed fails to pay, the guarantor becomes responsible for the debt. Act 1988 (Vic) via the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Amendment Act 2019 (Vic). Reforms have also been made to the management of marine and coastal areas under the Marine and Coastal Act 2018 (Vic). Also, under the Water and Catchment Legislation Amendment Act 2019 (Vic), greater Something of value, such as money, given by one person to another person as part of a contract. must now be given to Aboriginal uses and values in water.
In addition to substantive changes to Victorian laws, the federal government has initiated an independent review of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Cth).
Protecting the environment often requires people to use other areas of the law, such as The right of any person to access documents held by government agencies, except documents excluded by legislation., Rules that govern the decisions of public officials, covering their powers and functions and the procedures they have to follow., corporations law, or Under the Australian Consumer Law, a person who buys goods or services for less than $40 000 or for personal or home use. laws. For more information about these, see Chapter 6.4: Neighbour disputes, Chapter 12.2: Appealing government and administrative decisions, and Chapter 12.5: Freedom of information law.