Monitoring and enforcement
Both governments and proponents have responsibility for monitoring the impacts of activities that pollute the environment. You can also monitor the impacts of activities on the environment, such as water and air quality testing.
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 an environment protection licence (a licence to pollute). If you are unsure about whether an action is an offence or not, call the Environment Line on 131 555.
- Report pollution incidents and offences to the EPA. If you are concerned about a pollution incident, you should first contact the individual or company causing the pollution to request an explanation and ask them to fix the problem. You should also report the pollution incident to the Environment Line on 131 555. Offences include:
- Causing pollution without an environment protection licence.
- Polluting above the amount authorised by an environment protection licence.
- Report suspected contaminated land to the Environment Line on 131 555. You should also report it to the person or company you suspect has caused the contamination.
- Report illegal dumping to the Environment Line on 131 555.
- Report a suspected breach of national Environmental Law to the Australian Environment Department. 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 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.
- 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 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.