An Environmental Audit Overlay (EAO) is a planning tool applied by local councils and other planning authorities to identify sites that have known, identified or reasonably suspected contamination or potential contamination.

The EAO indicates an environmental audit is required prior to that land being used for a ‘sensitive use’, such as developing housing, building a primary school or an early childhood centre.

This may be because, for example, it was once used for industry, or the storage of chemicals or wastes.

Where a landholder wants to redevelop or undertake building works on land subject to an EAO, extra planning steps may be required.

EAOs have been included in Victoria Unearthed because they can help Victorians (including those who work in the property and planning sectors, or people wanting to develop sites) to identify sites where an EPA Environmental Audit may be required.

EAO information is updated on an ongoing basis by the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) based on information provided by councils and planning scheme amendments.

The Environmental Audit Overlay layer is part of the planning scheme overlays data available for download at https://discover.data.vic.gov.au/dataset/planning-scheme-overlay-vicmap-planning.

Disclaimer

Find out more about environmental auditing

Planning schemes online

For questions about EAOs, contact Planning or your local council.

A local planning authority (such as local council) has applied an EAO via a planning scheme amendment because it has determined that this site is known, identified or reasonably suspected of some form of contamination or potential contamination.

Councils make this assessment based on a range of information, including past land use and council rates records. Find out more: Planning Practice Note, Potentially Contaminated Land.

If there is an EAO on your address, there are extra steps in place when applying for planning permits for future development and building works. Find out more: Ministerial Direction No. 1: Potentially Contaminated Land.

An EAO requires an environmental audit before any works commence on that site in relation to the land being used for any ‘sensitive uses’, such as creating housing, building a primary school or an early childhood centre.

Planning schemes online

You may wish to get further information via Victoria Unearthed, EPA, your local council and other sources (including from historical area photos, local historical societies, historic land titles, council rates records, Melbourne Metropolitan Board of Works plans and the Victorian Heritage Database).

If you want information about your soil, a starting point may be to get it tested through the VegeSafe soil metal testing program operated by Macquarie University. This will test up to five soil samples for a small fee of approximately $20. Please note, soil testing is not a comprehensive environmental investigation.

Alternatively, you may also wish to contact a qualified and experienced environmental consultant if you require a more comprehensive soil, land or groundwater assessment.

Testing for contamination

Planning authorities such as local councils are responsible for applying and removing EAOs by amending a planning scheme in accordance with the Planning and Environment Act 1987.

Amending a planning scheme

An Environmental Audit Overlay (EAO) is a planning tool applied by local councils and other planning authorities to identify sites that have known, identified or reasonably suspected contamination or potential contamination.

The EAO indicates an environmental audit is required prior to that land being used for a ‘sensitive use’, such as developing housing, building a primary school or an early childhood centre.

Planning authorities use a range of information when deciding to apply an EAO - including past land use and council rates records. Find out more: Planning Practice Note, Potentially Contaminated Land.

If there is an EAO on your address, there may be certain restrictions in place regarding application for planning permits for future development and building works.

An EAO requires an environmental audit before any works commence on that site; prior to the land being used for any ‘sensitive uses’ such as creating housing, building a primary school or an early childhood centre.

Q&A on the planning system and environmental audits

Please visit Planning schemes online for information about specific EAOs. You can also contact your local council for information.

Contact Planning

Know your council

Page last updated: 28/05/19