Protection of the Environment Operations (Waste) Amendment (Mixed Waste Organic Outputs) Regulation 2023
The Protection of the Environment Operations (Waste) Amendment (Mixed Waste Organic Outputs) Regulation 2023 (Amending Regulation) amended the Protection of the Environment Operations (Waste) Regulation 2014 (Waste Regulation) to extend the repeal date of clause 21A of the Waste Regulation from 1 November 2023 to 1 September 2024.
The Amending Regulation enables the EPA to extend, until 1 September 2024, exemptions from the waste levy contributions otherwise payable under section 88 of the Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997 for approved alternative waste disposal facilities (AWTs) processing specified amounts of mixed waste organic outputs.
The Amending Regulation commenced on 27 October 2023. By publication in the NSW Government Gazette No 509 of 1 November 2023, the EPA approved waste levy exemptions for four AWTs.
Radiation Control Amendment Act 2023 and the Radiation Control Amendment Regulation 2023
The Radiation Control Amendment Act 2023 (the amending Act) amends the Radiation Control Act 1990 (the Act) to implement the recommendations of a 2021 statutory review of the Act.
The amending Act introduces reforms to ensure that radiation is managed safely to protect human health and the environment, and that the people who deal with radiation are more accountable for its safe management. The amending Act:
- Amends the title of the Act to now be known as the Protection from Harmful Radiation Act 1990 and the Radiation Control Regulation 2013 (the Regulation) to the Protection from Harmful Radiation Regulation 2013.
- Improves life cycle management of radiation sources, including requiring licensing for transport and end-of-life management.
- Increases penalties for certain offences and EPA powers to recover costs.
- Introduces a specific commitment to the principles of ecologically sustainable development to the objects of the Act.
- Modernises the governance and membership of the Radiation Advisory Council.
Most of the amendments to the Act commenced on 24 October 2023, with new licensing requirements commencing 6 months from that date and new court powers, offences and EPA cost recovery provisions commencing on proclamation.
The Radiation Control Amendment Regulation 2023 amends the Regulation, making the following changes:
- Reinstates the offences relating to disposal of regulated material and transport of radioactive substances until the equivalent offences (sections 33C and 33D) commence under the Act via proclamation. Once sections 33C and 33D of the Act commence, the Regulation offences will be removed.
- Amends the table in the Regulation that sets out penalty notice offences (Schedule 7) to reflect the changes to the offences in the Act.
For further information, see changes to radiation protection laws.
Dangerous Goods (Road and Rail Transport) Amendment (Model Law) Regulation 2023
The Dangerous Goods (Road and Rail Transport) Amendment (Model Law) Regulation 2023 (Regulation) modifies the Dangerous Goods (Road and Rail Transport) Regulation 2022 (DG Regulation). This change aligns with the recent updates to the Model Subordinate Instrument on the Transport of Dangerous Goods by Road or Rail (MSI) by making amendments following the substitution of edition 7.7 with edition 7.8 of the Australian Code for the Transport of Dangerous Goods by Road and Rail (ADG Code).
The Regulation came into effect on 16 June 2023 and addresses minor drafting errors within the DG Regulation, with a transition period until 1 April 2024, to help industries adapt to the new compliance rules in the ADG Code.
The key updates in the Regulation include:
- adopting container and packaging definitions from ADG Code 7.8
- redefining the Infrastructure and Transport Minister’s Meeting as the 'Ministerial Council'
- adding a transitional provision to ensure industry complies with any changes to ADG Code requirements;
- allowing prime contractors to keep transport documents in paper or electronic form; and
- clarifying manufacturer's duties regarding compliance plates on portable tanks, including those made of fibre-reinforced plastic for transporting compressed gases, and penalties for non-compliance.
Additionally, the Regulation rectifies minor drafting errors related to penalty and fee amounts in Schedule 2 of the DG Regulation, such as adjusting penalty notice amounts to reflect higher penalties in the Act for more severe offences. It also specifies that licence application, renewal, and transfer fees in Schedule 1 are payable per vehicle used for transporting dangerous goods.
Protection of the Environment Operations (Waste) Amendment (Waste Contributions) Regulation 2023
The Protection of the Environment Operations (Waste) Amendment (Waste Contributions) Regulation 2023 amends the Protection of the Environment Operations (Waste) Regulation 2014 to clarify and improve the waste levy framework. The Regulation
- clarifies how to determine the amount of waste at a waste facility for the purpose of determining when the occupier of the facility must pay the waste levy, in line with the EPA’s current practices (this is specifically in relation to a breach of the authorised amount)
- provides that the EPA can require an occupier of a waste facility to engage an independent person approved by the EPA to conduct an audit, and prepare a report on, information provided, or required to be provided, in the facility’s waste contribution monthly reports
- clarifies that the EPA’s power to make estimations extends to estimations of waste received at a waste facility and expands the circumstances in which the EPA may estimate the amount of waste at, or received at, a waste facility
- clarifies the definition of ‘scheduled waste disposal facility’
- revises the wording of certain waste levy exemptions
- updates the table on operational purposes deductions from the waste levy to remove certain specifications, remove certain kinds of waste and add several new kinds of waste
- makes a minor amendment and includes savings and transitional provisions.
The amendments on operational purposes deductions commence on 1 June 2023. All other amendments in the Regulation commenced on 2 March 2023.
Protection of the Environment Operations Amendment (Waste Storage) Regulation 2023
The Protection of the Environment Operations Amendment (Waste Storage) Regulation 2023 commenced on 24 February 2023. The Regulation amends Schedule 1 to the Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997 to increase the thresholds for the scheduled activity of waste storage at some Community Recycling Centres and premises receiving waste from Household Chemical Cleanout events. Specifically, the Regulation amends cl 42(3)(a) of Schedule 1 to the Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997 to allow:
- Some Community Recycling Centres to store up to 12 tonnes of hazardous waste, restricted solid waste, liquid waste or special waste (other than waste tyres) at any time; and
- Household Chemical Cleanout events to store up to 80 tonnes of hazardous waste, restricted solid waste, liquid waste or special waste (other than waste tyres) collected during the event without the need for an environment protection licence for ‘waste storage’.
The Regulation also inserts cl 42(5) into Schedule 1 containing relevant definitions.
The changes to the threshold for Community Recycling Centres only currently applies to 12 high volume sites. These are identified in NSW Government Gazette No 63 of Friday 10 February 2023.
Protection of the Environment Operations Legislation Amendment (Miscellaneous) Regulation 2023
The Regulation makes minor miscellaneous amendments to correct, streamline, and remove redundancies from environment protection legislation. The Regulation
- makes the EPA the approver of treatment methods for clinical and sharps waste, rather than NSW Health, in Schedule 1 of the Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997;
- fixes cross-references in the Protection of the Environment Operations (General) Regulation 2022; and,
- removes duplicate noise labelling requirements for domestic air conditioners and unnecessary noise limits and labelling requirements for ride-on mowers in the Protection of the Environment Operations (Noise Control) Regulation 2017.
Waste Avoidance and Resource Recovery (Container Deposit Scheme) Amendment (Miscellaneous) Regulation 2023
The Waste Avoidance and Resource Recovery (Container Deposit Scheme) Amendment (Miscellaneous) Regulation 2023 commenced on 17 February 2023. The Regulation amends the Waste Avoidance and Resource Recovery (Container Deposit Scheme) Regulation 2017 to remove ambiguity and anomalies, reduce administrative burden and address compliance risks in the NSW container deposit scheme (Scheme) by
- clarifying that the EPA may impose conditions on a collection point arrangement approval (Approval) to protect human health and the environment and making it an offence to contravene a condition of an Approval
- clarifying that the ‘holder’ of an Approval includes both the network operator and the collection point operator for the Approval. The EPA may suspend or revoke an Approval if a holder of an Approval contravenes the Approval or Scheme legislation
- requiring the holder of an Approval to apply to the EPA to vary a condition of the Approval and clarifying the meaning of a ‘condition’
- excluding glass containers used, rather than designed, to contain only wine or spirituous liquor from the Scheme. This prevents suppliers from placing beverages that fall within the Scheme (such as beer) in glass containers designed to contain wine to circumvent Scheme requirements
- making it an offence for a collection point operator to fail to cause payment of a refund amount payable by electronic funds transfer within 3 days after a container is counted by a machine used by the collection point operator to count, verify and sort containers
- specifying that the EPA can refuse a container approval on the ground that the containers concerned will not comply with a condition of approval prescribed by the regulations
- specifying that the EPA may suspend or revoke a container approval on the ground that the EPA considers the material forming part of the container is not suitable for recycling or reuse or another appropriate method of disposal
- enabling an application for the transfer of a container approval to be made in the same way as an application for a container approval
- clarifying that fermented milk and milk with added cultures (such as drinking yoghurt or kefir) fall within scope of the Scheme. This aligns with the QLD and SA container deposit schemes
- specifying that an ‘alternative waste treatment plant operator’ includes a person who holds an environment protection licence authorising waste processing (non-thermal) treatment
- declaring the container deposit scheme legislation in the ACT, QLD, NT and WA as corresponding laws for the container deposit scheme. This ensures consumers can claim refunds in NSW for containers acquired in those jurisdictions without committing an offence.