Earlier this year, the South Australian Environment Protection Agency (SA EPA) announced that the State Government had decided to add petrol stations to the list of activities of ‘environmental significance’ that require authorisation (via a licence) by the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) under the Environment Protection Act 1993.
The net effect of these changes is that all South Australian Service station operators will be required to apply for a licence (and pay a fee) for the continued operation of each underground petroleum storage systems (i.e. UPSS). The funds collected under this arrangement will be utilised to support UPSS compliance activities across the State.
This new licensing requirement will take effect on 1 January 2020 and initially, the EPA will grant a licence to all petrol stations licensed under the Petroleum Products Regulation Act 1995 following receipt of a completed application and payment of the relevant fees.
Earlier this year, the SA EPA established a working group comprising industry representatives (i.e. Petrol Retailer’s Reference Group) and consulted with this group regarding the structure of the licence fee system and the setting licence conditions.
“In a desire to minimise the financial impact on smaller operators, the SA EPA has finalised a three-tiered fee system in consultation with the Petrol Retailer’s Reference Group, which included ACAPMA and the Motor Traders Association of South Australia”, said ACAPMA CEO Mark McKenzie.
“While our initial stance is always to seek alternatives to fee based licencing, we were pleased that the senior representatives of the South Australian EPA engaged in genuine consultation about the structure of the licence fees, with a view to minimising the impact on small fuel retail businesses”, added Mark
The South Australian EPA has advised that all application, assessment and resource efficiency fees will be waived for all petrol stations with a current licence under the Petroleum Products Regulation Act 1995 as at 31 December 2019.
For existing petrol stations with a current licence under the Petroleum Products Regulation Act 1995 the following annual licence fees will apply:
Applications for these licences can be made online by visiting the SA EPA licence and registration website at: https://www.elf.sa.gov.au/Public/Content/LaunchPage.aspx
Following completion of the application and payment of the fees, a licence will be issued. It is important to note that it will be illegal to operate a petrol station without an EPA licence from 1 January 2020.
Standard licence conditions will apply to all petrol stations, which have been reviewed by the petrol retailers’ reference group. An example licence outlining these conditions can be viewed HERE.
Further information can be obtained by contacting Ms Angela Paparella at the SA EPA via email at EPALicensing@sa.gov.au or by calling (08) 8204 2004 or 1800 623 445 (for country callers).