• EPA Tasmania
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EPA Tasmania's advice on COVID-19 and your environmental responsibilities

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​What EPA Tasmania is doing

In light of the current global situation with coronavirus disease (COVID-19), EPA Tasmania's priorities continue to be the health and wellbeing of our employees, as well as the mitigation of disruptions to the delivery of our assessment and regulatory activities.

EPA Tasmania has a business continuity plan. We have processes in place to continue to deliver our regulatory functions — including capability of our staff to work from home. We will continue to prioritise delivery of our approval, compliance, and pollution response activities to facilitate the continuity of businesses and to prevent harm from pollution and waste and to support delivery of essential services such as waste management.

What EPA Tasmania expects from duty holders

EPA Tasmania recognises that this is an unprecedented challenge and the critical recommendation for all duty holders is to create and adopt a business continuity plan that ensures key processes can be continued if staff numbers begin to diminish. Always follow the advice of state and federal governments and any specific health advice for your sector.

EPA Tasmania advises that duty holders remain responsible for environmental impacts from their activities and should plan business continuity with that in mind.  

In particular, duty holders should ensure that they are able to maintain and operate pollution control equipment. Solid and liquid waste must continue to be consigned and disposed of appropriately, and to approved facilities. 

If your activities are conducted under conditions imposed by EPA Tasmania in a permit, licence, notice or other approval, all conditions remain in force and must be complied with.  If you need to make any changes to your operations that may affect emissions to the environment, please contact the EPA prior to implementing those changes.

Section 34 of EMPCA enables EPA Tasmania to grant emergency authorisations for the protection of life, environment or property – for example, the discharge or storage of waste in certain circumstances. If you believe this will be required for your business, please contact EPA Tasmania as early as possible. Granting of such an approval will be assessed on a case-by-case basis and may be subject to conditions.

Approval for extende​​d hours of operation

Where:

(a)  operating hours are specified in any Permit, Environmental Licence or Environment Protection Notice; and
(b)  extended operating hours are necessary to allow business continuity during the COVID-19 pandemic; and
(c)  the relevant operating hours condition in the Permit, Environmental Licence or Environment Protection Notice stipulates that the Director, Environment Protection Authority may approve a change to the operating hours;

the Director, Environment Protection Authority hereby approves operations outside the specified operating hours provided that the person responsible for the environmentally relevant activity subject to the Permit, Environmental Licence or Environment Protection Notice takes all reasonable and practicable measures to avoid an environmental nuisance as defined under the Environmental Management and Pollution Control Act 1994.​

This approval continues until:

1.  the State of Emergency related to COVID-19 declared by the Premier of the State of Tasmania on 19 March 2020, as amended or extended, is revoked; or
2.  notice is otherwise given by the Director, Environment Protection Authority;

whichever occurs earlier.
​​

Where:

(a)  approval of extended hours of operation is not provided for under conditions of the permit as described above, and authorisation is not sought under section​​ 34; and
(b)  extended operating hours are necessary to allow business continuity during the COVID-19 pandemic​;

the Director, Environment Protection Authority will not progress compliance action, provided that the person responsible for the environmentally relevant activity subject to the Permit, Environmental Licence or Environment Protection Notice takes all reasonable and practicable measures to avoid an environmental nuisance as defined under the Environmental Management and Pollution Control Act 1994. ​​

This continues until:

1.  the State of Emergency related to COVID-19 declared by the Premier of the State of Tasmania on 19 March 2020, as amended or extended, is revoked; or
2.  notice is otherwise given by the Director, Environment Protection Authority;

whichever occurs earlier.​


How to stay up to date

It is important to follow the advice on the Tasmanian Governme​nt ​Coronavirus website​ and the websites of the​Tasmanian Department of Health and WorkSafe Tasmania.

Information for stakeholders about the COVID-19 Safe Workplaces Framework​ can be found on the WorkSafe Tasmania website. Industry-specific guidelines are available, including:

Follow COVID-19 updates at ​the Australian Government Department of Health website.

EPA Tasmania is a division of the Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment (DPIPWE). For DPIPWE updates see the COVID-19 Response at DPIPWE webpage. ​​





​EPA Tasmania
134 Macquarie Street
Hobart TAS 7000
Phone: 03 6165 4599
Email: Enquiries@epa.tas.gov.au

The Environment Protection Authority acknowledges the Tasmanian Aboriginal people as the traditional custodians of lutruwita (Tasmania) and pays respect to their Elders, past and present.