New South Wales Environment Protection Authority

The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) is an independent statutory authority that sits in the Environment portfolio as part of the Planning and Environment Cluster. The NSW EPA was established as an independent governing Board in February 2012 separate from the Office of Environment and Heritage.[2] The NSW EPA is the State’s primary environmental regulator, working with businesses, government, community and environment groups to manage and reduce pollution, waste and adverse impacts on the environment.

NSW Environment Protection Authority
Agency overview
FormedFebruary 2012
JurisdictionNew South Wales
Headquarters59 Goulburn Street, Sydney
Employeesapproximately 500
Annual budgetAUD158.1million[1]
Minister responsible

The EPA’s vision is a "Healthy Environment, Healthy Community and Healthy Business". The vision goes to the heart of the objectives under the Protection of the Environment Administration Act 1991 (POEA Act):

  • to protect, restore and enhance the quality of the environment in NSW, having regard to the need to maintain ecologically sustainable development;
  • to reduce the risks to human health and prevent the degradation of the environment.


The NSW EPA was established originally in 1991 as an independent agency under the POEA Act.[3]

Between 2003 and 2012, the EPA’s functions were part of a larger government agency with a much broader ambit of legislative responsibilities. Following a significant pollution incident at Kooragang Island in Newcastle in August 2011,[4] an independent review recommended that an EPA be re-formed as an independent agency.[5]

The agency was subsequently re-established in February 2012 as a statutory authority with an independent governing Board.

The EPA has offices in Albury, Armidale, Bathurst, Broken Hill, Coffs Harbour, Dubbo, Grafton, Griffith, Kempsey, Newcastle, Parramatta, Queanbeyan, Sydney and Wollongong.

Activities of the EPA

The EPA regulates activities that can impact the environment and human health, including:

  • Air, water and noise pollution[6]
  • Waste and resource recovery[7][8]
  • Contaminated land
  • Dangerous goods[9]
  • Chemicals and hazardous materials[10]
  • Pesticides[11]
  • Radiation and solaria (tanning units)[12]
  • Native forestry[13]
  • Coal seam gas projects.[14]

The EPA Strategic Plan 2017–21 lists the criteria against which the EPA must perform.

Legislation and Compliance

The Environment Protection Authority has responsibilities and powers under a range of NSW environmental legislation.

Acts administered by the NSW EPA

Act Date
Contaminated Land Management Act 1997
Dangerous Goods (Road and Rail Transport) Act 2008
Forestry Act 2012
National Environment Protection Council (New South Wales) Act 1995
Ozone Protection Act 1989
Pesticides Act 1999
Protection of the Environment Administration Act 1991
Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997
Radiation Control Act 1990
Recreation Vehicles Act 1983
Waste Avoidance and Resource Recovery Act 2001

The Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997 (POEO Act)
Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997 (POEO Act) is the key piece of environment protection legislation administered by the EPA.

The object of the Act is to achieve the protection, restoration and enhancement of the quality of the NSW environment. The Act repealed and consolidated a number of existing Acts to rationalise, simplify and strengthen the regulatory framework for environmental protection in NSW.

See also


  1. Needham, Kristy. "NSW Budget 2016: Winners and losers". Bunbury Mail. Bunbury Mail. Retrieved 11 July 2016.
  2. Clennel, Andrew (21 January 2016). "Minister creates climate of change". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 5 July 2016.
  3. "Protection of The Environment Operations Act 1997". Australasian Legal Information Institute. Retrieved 5 July 2016.
  4. O'Brien, Natalie (18 September 2011). "Big polluter goes unchecked". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 5 July 2016.
  5. O'Reilly, Brendan. "A review into the response to the serious pollution incident at Orica Australia Pty. Ltd. ammonium nitrate plant at Walsh Point, Kooragang Island on August 8, 2011" (PDF). Retrieved 5 July 2016.
  6. Cox, Dan; Cook, Carly (28 April 2016). "Study finds chemical giant contributing to Newcastle air pollution". ABC Online. Retrieved 5 July 2016.
  7. Cormack, Lucy (14 February 2016). "NSW waste still travelling across state borders prompting EPA investigations". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 5 July 2016.
  8. Tan, Monica (5 June 2015). "Coal miner's toxic wastes killing aquatic life in protected Blue Mountains river". The Guardian. Retrieved 5 July 2016.
  9. "EPA fines Inverell Freighters $14,000 for dangerous goods offences". Logistics & Materials Handling. 6 June 2016. Retrieved 5 July 2016.
  10. Carter, Lucy (22 February 2016). "NSW EPA to investigate 'historical legacy' or perflourinated compounds". ABC News. The World Today with Eleanor Hall. Retrieved 5 July 2016.
  11. "Man fined for pesticide misuse". The Land. 25 August 2015. Retrieved 5 July 2016.
  12. "Radiation Control Regulation 2013". Australasian Legal Information Institute. New South Wales Government. Retrieved 5 July 2016.
  13. O'Brien, Natalie (13 December 2015). "Six investigations underway into operations of state-owned corporation". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 5 July 2016.
  14. Smith, Kerry (16 June 2016). "Contamination concerns after CSG wells flood". Green Left Weekly. Retrieved 5 July 2016.
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