This week saw the formal handover of the regulatory responsibility of the NSW UPSS Regulation (https://www.legislation.nsw.gov.au/regulations/2019-411.pdf) from the NSW Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) to the 129 local government authorities that exist in NSW.

The transition, which was first flagged more than 6 years ago, involved significant consultation with the fuel industry and it is understood that the NSW EPA has recently provided comprehensive training for local council enforcement officers in respect of the operation of the Regulation.

“It was fair to say that we had significant concerns about the planned change when we heard it was back on the agenda mid last year”, said ACAPMA CEO Mark McKenzie

“Our principal concern was to ensure that the UPSS regulation, which are now to be administered by 129 separate local authorities, is administered consistently across the State”, added Mark

ACAPMA, together with other industry stakeholders, has been working co-operatively with the NSW EPA throughout the transition process and believes that all that could reasonably be done to ensure a smooth transition, has been done.

It is worth noting that the NSW EPA remains the UPSS Regulator for around 1000 fuel sites. These sites are either publicly owned, located in an unincorporated area of the State, or were the subject of an enforcement action prior to the handover on 1 September 2019.

The NSW EPA will continue to be the administrator of the regulations (as opposed to being the Regulator) and will continue to provide local councils with assistance on UPSS issues in the future.

Further information about the new arrangements can be found on the EPA’s Underground Petroleum Storage System webpage at https://www.epa.nsw.gov.au/your-environment/contaminated-land/upss

“ACAPMA intends to closely monitor the transition process and we will make formal representations to the EPA and relevant Ministers in the event that any significant and ongoing issues arise as a result of the new arrangements”, said Mark

“Our hope is that all council enforcement officers will have the appropriate skills necessary to ensure that these important regulations are enforced consistently and efficiently, particularly given the complexity of UPSS and the importance of proper management of same”, said Mark.

Any ACAPMA members that experience issues with UPSS enforcement actions in the future – issues that could not be reasonably resolved with the subject council – are strongly encouraged to contact the ACAPMA Secretariat on 1800 160 270 or send an email to communications@acapma.com.au