Queenslanders urged to have their say on stronger environmental laws

Published Thursday, 14 September, 2023 at 12:09 PM

Minister for the Environment and the Great Barrier Reef, Minister for Science and Minister for Multicultural Affairs
The Honourable Leanne Linard

  • Queenslanders are being urged to have their say on proposed changes to the state’s environmental protection laws
  • The Palaszczuk Government’s proposed amendments to the Environmental Protection Act seek to better manage environmental challenges, such as noise, odour and other pollution.
  • Consultation opens today for eight weeks, closing 10 November 2023

Queenslanders are being urged to have their say on proposed changes to the state’s environment laws which are designed to better protect communities while allowing industry and business across Queensland to operate.

Ongoing odour nuisance issues in the Swanbank industrial area initiated, in part, a review of the Environmental Protection Act 1994, which was undertaken by retired Judge Richard Jones and Barrister Susan Hedge. 

The review found that while the Act generally has the tools to prevent environmental harm from occurring and enabled compliance to be enforced, there were areas identified where the powers could be enhanced, including relating to nuisance concerns.

Judge Jones and Ms Hedge made 18 recommendations, all of which were supported or supported in-principle by the Palaszczuk Government.

In-line with the recommendations made, the government is proposing reforms to make it easier to proactively manage environmental risks while removing barriers that may delay a regulatory response in the event of environmental harm, particularly where residential and industrial areas are co-located.

This includes by placing greater emphasis on human health, wellbeing, and safety within the legislation, as well as clarifying what constitutes an environmental nuisance and serious environmental harm.

Additionally, the reforms introduce a new offence for anyone that fails to meet their general environmental duty, which requires people and industry carrying out activities that cause, or are likely to cause, harm (including nuisance) to others or to the environment to proactively manage the risks.

Quotes attributable to the Environment Minister, Leanne Linard:

“The Palaszczuk Government initiated a review of the Environmental Protection Act 1994 due to the significant odour nuisance issues in the Swanbank industrial area and surrounds, however the changes being proposed will have broad and positive impacts for all Queensland communities.

“We are committed to delivering on all the review’s recommendations, but it is important Queenslanders have their say on the proposed changes to make sure our environmental laws are as strong as possible.

“In recent years, environmental impacts from a number of industries have presented increasingly complex regulatory challenges.

“These issues are often linked to new housing on land in close proximity to existing industrial activities.

“The Palaszczuk Government’s response to the comprehensive review by Mr Jones and Ms Hedge will help ensure the state’s environmental laws are modernised and fit for purpose to meet the needs of the community.

“A strengthened Environmental Protection Act benefits everyone.”

Further information:

Detailed information on the independent review into the adequacy of powers and penalties available under the Environmental Protection Act 1994, including the review’s final report and the Queensland Government’s response, is available here.


Media contact: Scott Chandler – 0409 472 893