Home Business Business in Australia: Know Your Environmental Obligations

Business in Australia: Know Your Environmental Obligations

by Olufisayo
starting a business in Australia

If you’re starting a business in Australia, there are a couple of things you need to know. Of course, you want to follow all local laws, but do you know all of the different kinds of permits you need?

What about the environmental laws and regulations? If you’re not on the up and up, you could find yourself in legal hot water.

Licensing Requirements

While most businesses require a license to operate in Australia, you must take special precautions if your business engages in certain types of activities. Environmental licenses and permits are required if you’re involved in chemical manufacturing, waste treatment, coal mining, mineral mining or extraction, and petroleum and natural gas.

But, some companies and industries not typically associated with being an environmental hazard are also subject to special environmental licensing. For example, if you run a farm, you may be required to get special licensing or permits. A piggery, prawn farm, and cattle feedlots are subject to such licensing.

Other industries that will need licensing include collection authorities for collecting native biological resources from Queensland or other State lands for the purposes of research. If your company is involved in relocating, taking, or keeping native wildlife for commercial, recreational, or research purposes, then you will also need licensing. Finally, if you make use of protected native plants, for personal or commercial reasons, then you must have a special license.

These licenses are designed to protect the environment and monitor use of the natural resources of Australia.


Greenhouse Gas Reporting Requirements

Some businesses, like those in the oil and gas industry, are subject to special greenhouse gas reporting requirements. Many businesses believe it’s a pain to deal with environmental issues through regulatory requirements, but this is how Australia enforces its environmental laws and works to protect and preserve the environment.

Reporting requirements involve both record keeping and official reporting and filing with the government. Companies subject to reporting are required to report on greenhouse gas emissions, energy production and consumption, and other information in the National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting Act of 2007.

There are several types of reports that businesses need to know about. The first is Section 19 reporting. This deals with corporations that exceed a pre-established threshold for emissions and energy production and consumption.

Section 22A is for those corporations that must complete an emissions report under s22A of the NGER. A Section 22AA report concerns corporations within the first three years of the carbon pricing mechanism and may also require companies to file an interim emissions number.

Section 22E reports are “financial control liability, transfer, certificate, energy, and emissions” reports. These primarily deal with companies that hold a financial control liability transfer certificate.

The 22G reports are for people that hold a reporting transfer certificate. Finally, the Section 22X report is made for a group member that agrees with its controlling corporation to take on the company’s Section 19 reporting.

But, before you can submit any of these reports, you must apply for registration. Only companies that are controlling corporations that trigger the NGER section 13 thresholds, and any liable entities, are subject to reporting.

Environmental Issues Affecting Your Business

Aside from the regulatory requirements, there are practical considerations to consider. Environmental regulations are designed to protect your business from the long-term effects of climate change. These risks include more frequent extreme weather, decreased demand for goods and services, global impacts on overseas suppliers, and increased domestic production and energy costs.

Increased inclement weather may cause more damage to your property, for example, causing increased insurance costs, more damage to property (which ultimately costs you more money in overhead), and disruption of power and water supplies, and decreased access to your facilities and showroom by customers.

Consumers may, in the future, refuse to do business with you, or there may be an overall decrease in demand for your services or products, if you do not adopt certain environmentally-friendly practices.

Related Articles