All three levels of government in Australia are involved to varying degrees in making and enforcing environmental laws.
At the federal level, businesses that conduct environmentally harmful activities are required to obtain approval for those activities as well as comply with mandatory reporting requirements.
Legislation provides an assessment and approval process for actions that may have an impact on matters of national environmental significance or actions that may impact on the conservation of biodiversity and heritage. There is also a mandatory reporting scheme for corporate greenhouse gas emissions and energy production and consumption.
At the state and local level, development approval is required for the vast majority of businesses, however the type of approval will depend on the size and nature of the development.
Each state has its own contaminated land regime, which includes a contaminated land register and, in most cases, a duty of notification to the relevant authority where contamination is found. State legislation also makes pollution a strict liability offence, except as permitted under environmental licences. Owners and occupiers of relevant properties may have similar liability. These offences are prosecuted by state environmental authorities.