Environmental laws protect human health and the natural environment. Environmental laws include legislation dealing with land use planning, pollution control, protection of nature, the reservation and protection of public land, the management of natural resources, climate change, and environmental impact assessment.
State governments are responsible for most of this legislation; however, there is also important Commonwealth Government legislation and local government plays an important part in administering some environmental laws.
This chapter covers the laws that provide for public involvement in decision-making and the enforcement of:
• land use planning laws;
• environmental impact assessment; and
• pollution control laws.
There are many other environmental laws about mining, forestry, heritage, coastal protection and waterways. For sources of information about these, see “More information”.
Protecting the environment often requires people to use other areas of the law, such as freedom of information, administrative law, or consumer laws. For more information about these, see Neighbours and noise, Appealing government and administrative decisions, and Freedom of information law.