Victoria's Environment Legislation Amendment Bill Receives Royal Assent

Monday 17 October 2022 @ 2.34 p.m. | Legal Research

After being introduced to the Victorian Legislative Assembly on 7 June 2022 by the Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change Lily D'Ambrosio (“the Minister”), the Environment Legislation Amendment (Circular Economy and Other Matters) Bill 2022 (Vic) (“the Bill”) passed Parliament on 30 August 2022.

The Bill’s corresponding Act, the Environment Legislation Amendment (Circular Economy and Other Matters) Act 2022 (Vic) (“the Act”) received royal assent on 6 September 2022.

The Act is partially commenced.

Object of the Act

The Act builds on the Government’s overarching commitment to deliver its 10-year circular economy policy and action plan, Recycling Victoria: a new economy.

In the Second Reading Speech for the enacting Bill given on 8 June 2022, the Minister explained that the new legislation will help facilitate a more reliable waste and recycling system. The Minister stated that:

“This Bill represents the continuation of this Government’s major transformational reform of the waste and recycling sector, built on community and industry consultation over a number of years. These reforms deliver a further milestone in Victoria’s transition to a circular economy”.

The Act amends the following legislation:

  • Circular Economy (Waste Reduction and Recycling) Act 2021 (Vic) (“the Circular Economy Act”);
  • Environment Protection Act 2017 (Vic);
  • Sustainability Victoria Act 2005 (Vic);
  • Climate Change Act 2017 (Vic); and
  • Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 1998 (Vic).

Key Reforms

Notably, the Act amends the Circular Economy Act to establish a waste to energy scheme to reduce landfill waste. The waste to energy scheme allows facilities to use thermal technologies to convert permitted waste into energy, like heat, gas and electricity.

The Act defines ‘permitted waste’ to include waste that cannot reasonably be the subject of any further recycling. The new Part 5A of the Circular Economy Act also specifies licence requirements for waste to energy facilities and establishes civil penalty offences for processing prohibited waste or processing permitted waste without a proper licence.  

The Act also amends the Circular Economy Act, to:

  • specify additional powers and functions of Recycling Victoria, the business unit that is responsible for monitoring and enforcing state’s recycling systems;
  • support the work of Recycling Victoria by introducing a Risk, Consequence and Contingency Planning framework; and
  • introduce a streamlined and long-term Victorian Recycling Infrastructure Plan for waste and resource recovery infrastructure.

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Environment Legislation Amendment (Circular Economy and Other Matters) Act 2022 (Vic), Bill, and additional explanatory material available from TimeBase’s LawOne Service

Recycling Victoria: a new economy (State of Victoria Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning, February 2020)

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