The Environment Protection Regulations are changing
The SA Government has approved the remake of the Environment Protection Regulations to commence 1 April 2024, as part of the 10-year review and expiry of subordinate legislation.
The new regulations will incorporate minor corrections and updates such as changing the numbering to be consecutive and updating lists of prescribed bodies and Acts so that these are current.
To see the difference between the current 2009 and the remade 2023 check out the EP Regulation comparison table.
Copies of legislation are available from the South Australian Legislation website.
The EPA plays a key role in administrating the following legislation:
- Environment Protection Act 1993
- Plastic Shopping Bags (Waste Avoidance) Act 2008
- Radiation Protection and Control Act 2021
- Single-use and Other Plastic Products (Waste Avoidance) Act 2020
- National Environment Protection Measures
Other legislation that the EPA’s work involves includes:
- Aquaculture Act 2001
- Local Nuisance and Litter Control Act 2016
- Planning Development and Infrastructure Act 2016 previously Development Act 1993
- Mining Act 1971
- Wingfield Waste Depot Closure Act 1999
Environment Protection Act 1993
The Environment Protection Act 1993 or EP Act provides the regulatory framework to protect South Australia's (SA) environment, including land, air and water.
Environment Protection Policies (EPPs)
Established under section 28 of the EP Act with accompanying consultation requirements, an EPP:
- has the force of a standard imposed by Parliament,
- may impose mandatory provisions with penalties, and
- is developed for a specific area, eg waste, water, air, noise.
The Environment Protection Policies (EPP) under Environment Protection Act 1993 are:
- Environment Protection (Air Quality) Policy 2016
- Environment Protection (Movement of Controlled Waste) Policy 2014
- Environment Protection (National Pollutant Inventory) Policy 2008
- Environment Protection (Commercial & Industrial Noise) Policy 2023
- Environment Protection (Used Packaging Materials) Policy 2012
- Environment Protection (Waste to Resources) Policy 2010
- Environment Protection (Water Quality) Policy 2015
- Environment Protection Regulations 2023 (commencing 1 April 2024)
- Environment Protection Regulations 2009 (until 31 March 2024)
National Environment Protection Measures (NEPMs)
NEPMs are broad framework-setting statutory instruments defined in the National Environment Protection Council Act 1994 (NEPC Act). They outline agreed national objectives for protecting or managing particular aspects of the environment.
Section 14(1) of the NEPC Act prescribes that NEPMs may relate to any one or more of the following:
- ambient air quality,
- ambient marine, estuarine and fresh water quality,
- the protection of amenity in relation to noise (but only if differences in markets for goods & services),
- general guidelines for the assessment of site contamination,
- environmental impacts associated with hazardous wastes, and
- the reuse and recycling of used materials.
The implementation of NEPMs is the responsibility of each participating jurisdiction.
- National Environment Protection (Air Toxics) Measure
- National Environment Protection (Ambient Air Quality) Measure
- National Environment Protection (Assessment of Site Contamination) Measure
- National Environment Protection (Diesel Vehicle Emissions) Measure
- National Environment Protection (Movement of Controlled Waste Between States and Territories) Measure
- National Environment Protection (National Pollutant Inventory) Measure
- National Environment Protection (Used Packaging Materials) Measure
The above-listed NEPMs operate in South Australia under the National Environment Protection Council (South Australia) Act 1995.
Radiation Protection and Control Act 2021
The EPA protects the environment and health and safety of people from risks associated with ionising and non-ionising radiation through the Radiation Protection and Control Act 2021. We regulate the use of ionising radiation in medical, research, industrial and mining organisations, including use of X-rays, and the safe use, transport, storage and disposal of radioactive substances.
Plastic Shopping Bags (Waste Avoidance) Act 2008
South Australia leads the nation with the phasing out of lightweight, checkout-style plastic bags. The ban came into force on 4 May 2009 through Plastic Shopping Bags (Waste Avoidance) Act 2008.
It has effectively removed from circulation around 400 million single-use plastic bags each year in SA, while reducing related environmental impacts and stimulating reuse and alternative product development (such as multiple-use bags). Following SA, 7 of 8 Australian states or territories now have similar plastic bag bans in place.
Single-use and Other Plastic Products (Waste Avoidance) Act 2020
On September 9 2020, the South Australian Parliament passed the Single-use and Other Plastic Products (Waste Avoidance) Act 2020 to prohibit the sale, supply or distribution of single-use plastic straws, beverage stirrers and cutlery. Single-use plastic products are designed to be used once, or for a limited number of times, often away from home, and thrown away after a brief use, usually resulting in waste.
From 1 March 1 2021, single-use plastic straws, cutlery and stirrers are prohibited from the sale, supply or distribution in South Australia. These single-use items can be replaced with reusable and compostable alternatives. Exemptions will apply for single-use plastic straws.
From 1 March 2022, expanded polystyrene cups, bowls plates and clamshell containers are prohibited from sale, supply or distribution in South Australia. Oxo-degradable plastic products are also prohibited from sale, supply or distribution and manufacture and production in South Australia. Oxo-degradable plastic products have additives which enable the plastic to break down into tiny fragments (‘microplastics’) which do not completely decompose
From 1 September 2023, prohibitions include plastic pizza savers, plastic-stemmed cotton buds, single-use plastic bowl and single-use plastic plates with exemptions for medical, dental and care facilities.