Page 1892 - Week 06 - Thursday, 30 July 2020

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Environment Protection Authority—complaints policy
(Question No 3175)

Ms Le Couteur asked the Minister for the Environment and Heritage, upon notice, on 3 July 2020:

(1) In relation to investigation of complaints by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), does the EPA have any policy relating to a person who makes a complaint about an issue; if so, is this policy publicly available and where can it be found.

(2) If the policy referred to in part (1) exists, does it distinguish on the basis of (a) residential status, eg rental tenant versus homeowner and public housing tenant vs private housing tenant, (b) whether or not the complainant has either a Personal Protection Order or a Workplace Protection Order taken out against them that could be regarded as associated with the complaint and (c) vexatious complainants.

(3) If any classes of complainant do not have their complaints investigated by the EPA, what avenues exist for them to have their complaints investigated.

Mr Gentleman: The answer to the member’s question is as follows:

(1) Access Canberra has an Accountability Commitment and Compliance Frameworks which guide their regulatory approach. In addition, the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has in place the Environment Regulation & Protection Compliance & Enforcement Guideline 2016 (Guideline). The purpose of this Guideline is to set out principles that inform the regulators actions and decisions.

The Accountability Commitment, Compliance Frameworks and Guideline are publicly available on the Access Canberra website.


(a) No. However, the EPA has an arrangement with ACT Housing that where an allegation is made in relation to an ACT Housing tenant, the EPA will refer the matter to ACT Housing for consideration. The referral will include any evidence obtained by the EPA. The referral does not prevent regulatory action from being undertaken by the EPA.

(b) The Guideline does not refer to Personal Protection Orders or Workplace Protection Orders. Where EPA officers are made aware of on order being in place, officers will assess the matter to determine who the appropriate regulatory authority is.

(c) No.

(3) Depending on the nature of the complaint, complaints may be referred to more appropriate regulatory and enforcement authorities such as ACT Policing. Complainants may be referred to other resolution pathways, depending on the facts and circumstances associated with the complaint. This can include referring parties to the Conflict Resolution Service.

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