Monitoring and enforcement
Both governments and proponents have responsibility for monitoring the impacts of activities the environment and heritage. You can also monitor the impacts of activities 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 a property vegetation plan authorising clearing. If you are unsure whether an action is an offence or not, call the Environment Line on 131 555.
- Contact the NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) if you are concerned that someone may be lighting a fire unlawfully. A bush fire hazard reduction permit from the RFS or a fire permit may be required before a fire can be lit. In some local council areas approval to burn vegetation or other material may be required from the local council or the EPA. Generally, there is no need to obtain this approval to burn vegetation if the burning is conducted in the course of carrying on agricultural operations. However, approval may still be required if the burning meets the definition of clearing. There is also an exception for the destruction of an animal that has died, or is reasonably suspected of having died, as a result of a disease. Read more about fire management in The Rural Landholder’s Guide to Environmental Law in NSW.
- Contact Local Land Services (LLS) if you are concerned about weed control or pests on a property.
- If you observe animals being mistreated or neglected, you can make a confidential report to the RSPCA.
- To report a suspected breach of national environmental law, visit the Australian Government’s EPBC Act website. To read more about how the environment is protected under national environmental law, see our Fact Sheet on the EPBC Act. Examples of breaches include:
- Taking an action that is likely to have a significant impact on a nationally listed threatened species, population or ecological community.
- Taking an action that is likely to have a significant impact on a nationally listed migratory species.
- Report a suspected breach of NSW environmental law to the Environment Line on 131 555. Examples of illegal activity include:
- Damaging the habitat of threatened species, populations or ecological communities.
- Damaging a heritage item without approval.
- Report harm of a species protected in NSW to the Environment Line on 131 555. Examples of illegal activity include:
- Harming an animal that is a threatened species, population or an ecological community, or picking any plant that is a threatened species, population or ecological community. Click here for more information about how threatened species and ecological communities are protected in NSW.
- Report pollution incidents to the Environment Line on 131 555. If you are concerned about the use of chemicals or pesticides, or a pollution incident, you should first contact the individual or company to request an explanation and ask them to fix the problem.
- Report breaches of water management legislation to the Environment Line on 131 555, including water theft, harming a water source, and breaching the conditions of a water licence.
- Report pesticides offences to the Environment Line on 131 555. Offences include:
- Breaching a pesticide control order.
- Using pesticides in a way that injures or damages or is likely to injure or damage a person or their property, or any animal or plant that is not a target of the pesticide.
- Using pesticides in a way that harms any threatened animals or other animals protected under the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974 (NSW).
- Possessing and using unregistered pesticides without a permit. A permit will have conditions that must be complied with. There are two levels of pesticide regulation in Australia. The Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) is responsible for deciding which pesticides can be registered and the conditions under which they should be used and sold, and State and Territory governments are responsible for ensuring that pesticides are used according to label directions and permits.
- Using pesticides contrary to the label.
- Storing pesticides in a container without an approved label.
- Report chemicals offences to the Environment Line on 131 555. Offences include:
- Breaching a chemical control order.
- Breaching the conditions of an environmentally hazardous chemicals licence.
- Carrying out a prohibited activity such as manufacturing, processing, storing, or distributing a chemical without permission from the EPA.
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 national environmental law, 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.