The Department of Planning & Environment has an important role in monitoring and enforcing compliance with the Minister’s approvals.
To assist in its compliance functions, the department has specialist compliance teams based in its:
Additionally, the department’s alpine resorts team at Jindabyne also carries out compliance functions.
The department's compliance teams conduct inspections and audits of approved projects, respond to reports and complaints received from other State agencies, local councils and members of the public, investigate potential breaches and carry out enforcement action where breaches are confirmed. Enforcement action may range from negotiated outcomes, warning letters, penalty notices and in the most significant cases, criminal prosecutions.
The department's compliance teams also:
- Review compliance reports and independent audits where they are required to be provided by proponents of approved projects, and take follow-up action in response to potential breaches;
- Maintain effective working networks with all relevant stakeholders including other State regulatory agencies, local councils, communities in the vicinity of approved projects and proponents of approved projects; and
- Investigate broader policy responses to key emerging compliance issues.
Role of proponents
Proponents and other persons working on projects approved by the Minister for Planning have a legal obligation to ensure their projects are carried out in strict compliance with the Minister’s conditions of approval. Proponents need to monitor the environmental performance of their projects to ensure compliance is maintained. In many cases, conditions of approval require proponents to report on their level of compliance and in significant projects such as mines, major infrastructure projects and major industries, to commission independent environmental experts to audit their performance and report back to the department.
Compliance policy and guidelines
The department has published a compliance policy and associated guidelines for breach management, prosecutions and penalty notices to assist authorised officers in exercising their powers in a fair, consistent and equitable manner. The documents also help the community and other stakeholders understand how the department goes about its work.
Compliance activity reports
The department publishes monthly compliance activities reports to advise the community and other stakeholders of the latest compliance initiatives and outcomes. The first two of these, for October and November 2010, cover the work of the Singleton compliance team. From December 2010 onwards they cover the state-wide compliance activities of the department.
Archived compliance activity reports