Environmental issues are important and often open for public consultation. This chapter focuses on planning laws, environmental impact assessments and pollution-control laws. Responsible authorities can impose conditions on a permit. The minister can intervene at various stages.


Dru Marsh

Manager – Internal Review, Environment Protection Authority Victoria

Glenn Osboldstone

Senior Permissioning Officer, Environment Protection Authority Victoria

Deborah Hollingworth

Manager, Aboriginal Strategy and Partnerships, Environment Protection Authority Victoria

Introduction to environment and planning law

Last updated

1 July 2022

Environmental laws aim to protect human health and the natural environment in the context of land-use planning and resource management.

Environmental laws include legislation dealing with:

  • land-use planning;
  • risk-management for pollution and waste;
  • protection of nature;
  • the reservation and protection of public land;
  • the management of natural resources;
  • climate change;
  • environmental impact assessment.

The Victorian Government is 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 that regulate:

  • mining;
  • forestry;
  • heritage;
  • coastal protection;
  • water and waterways.

Protecting the environment often requires people to use other areas of the law, such as freedom of information, administrative law, corporations law and consumer laws. For more information about these areas of law, see Chapter 6.4: Neighbour disputes, and Chapter 12.5: Freedom of information law.

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