Monitoring and enforcement

Both governments and proponents have responsibility for monitoring the impacts of building and development on the environment and heritage. You can also monitor the impacts of building and development on the environment, such as water and air quality.

Before reporting suspected breaches of environmental laws you will require evidence. It is also important to remember that the law contains certain exceptions and defences to offences. The most common defence is that a person has a permit or licence to take the action which would otherwise be an offence, such as auch as an environment protection licence (a licence to pollute) or an Aboriginal heritage impact permit (AHIP). If you are unsure whether an action is an offence or not, call the Environment Line on 131 555.

You should report any suspected breaches of the offences that are set out below to the Australian Environment Department for offences relating to national laws, or the Department of Planning and Environment and the Office of Environment and Heritage in NSW.

National and State enforcement authorities can issue stop work notices in many cases where unauthorised activities are occurring that harm the environment and heritage.

    • Carrying out building or development work without the required approval.
    • Taking an action that is likely to have a significant impact on a nationally listed migratory species.
    • Taking an action that is likely to have a significant impact on a place that is listed on the WorldCommonwealth, or National heritage lists.
    • Taking an action that is likely to have a significant impact on the world heritage values of a World Heritage property without approval.
  • To report a suspected breach of NSW environmental law, contact the Environment Line on 131 555. Examples of illegal activity include:

Under certain environmental laws, any person has the right to bring proceedings in a Court to remedy or restrain a breach. In NSW, this is mainly to the Land and Environment Court. For breaches of the EPBC Act, it is the Federal Court. See How can I have my say? for more information. You should contact the EDO NSW Environmental Law Line to request some initial legal advice if you would like to take this step.