• Significant Changes to New South Wales Environmental Pollution Laws
  • July 4, 2012 | Author: Tony Wassaf
  • Law Firm: Jones Day - Sydney, New South Wales Office
  • Changes to the pollution reporting obligations under the Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997 (NSW) came into effect in February 2012. The changes, contained in the Protection of the Environment Legislation Amendment Act 2011 (NSW):

    • Require that an increased number of statutory authorities be notified immediately after becoming aware of a pollution incident, including the local council where the incident occurred, the Ministry of Health, WorkCover, Fire and Rescue NSW and any other person as the Environment Protection Authority directs;
    • Double the maximum penalty for failing to notify pollution incidents to A$2 million, with A$240,000 for each day the offence continues for a corporation, and to A$500,000, with A$120,000 for each day the offence continues for individuals;
    • As further information becomes known, require polluters to continually notify the authorities about developments in relation to a pollution incident; and
    • Require the holder of an environment protection licence to prepare, test and maintain a pollution incident response management plan. Failure to do so will result in monetary penalties for noncompliance.

    The amendments also provide that if a corporation contravenes the new rules, each director and person involved in the management of the corporation is taken to have contravened the same rule, unless they can establish that they were not in a position to influence the conduct of the corporation in contravening the rule or they used all due diligence to prevent the contravention by the corporation.